2023 NBA mock draft: Houston Rockets land the NBA’s next phenom in latest projections

It’s never too early to dive into our 2023 NBA mock draft. With the 2022-’23 season now ongoing and the college basketball campaign fully underway, there’s a lot to look at involving the next batch of NBA players.

It’s going to be an incredibly loaded class with one player by the name of Victor Wembanyama from France leading the conversation. However, there are many other top-end players who likely would have been in the conversation for the top-three selections in 2022.

Without further ado, here’s our 2023 NBA mock draft with the order similar to Sportsnaut’s most recent NBA power rankings and the worst to best teams by win percentage.

2023 NBA mock draft: The elite 3

1. Houston Rockets: Victor Wembanyama, center, France

Wembanyama, 19, is a 7-foot-2 France native who would’ve been eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft if the league had changed its rules. That never came to fruition. Now, the talented center is considered the early No. 1 prospect for next June and that is understandable.

The young center boasts an absurd 7-foot-8 wingspan and displays flashes of brilliance playing for Metropolitans 92 in the LNB Pro A. Wembanyama is averaging 22.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 3.1 blocks this season. Amazingly, he has the ability to stretch the court from three-point range and already displays an elite jump shot. That was magnified during exhibition performances in Las Vegas with some around the NBA indicating that Wembanyama is the best prospect since LeBron James.

Our updated 2023 NBA mock draft lands Houston a big man to team up with the likes of Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr.

2. Detroit Pistons: Scoot Henderson, guard, G-League Ignite

NBA Mock Draft 2023
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The 6-foot-3 Henderson actually skipped his senior season in high school and decided to play in the NBA G-League. At just 18 years old, he looks like he belongs in said league with ambitions to torch the NBA. Henderson is currently averaging 21.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.1 steals while shooting 49.5% from beyond the arc.

Experts believe that Henderson has an opportunity to be the No. 1 pick in the draft next June, primarily due to his explosion off the dribble and already advanced size for someone his age. Henderson translates better to the point guard spot at the next level too. However, Wembanyana will likely get the nod with Henderson being the consensus No. 2 pick.

With this selection, Detroit pairs Henderson with guard Cade Cunnigham.

3. Charlotte Hornets: Amen Thompson, guard, Overtime Elite

One of two twins in the 2023 NBA draft class, Amen Thompson is going to be a hot commodity as the league is knocking. Thompson plays with his brother, Ausar Thompson, at Overtime Elite. He is currently averaging 17.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists while shooting 56.8% from the field.

Standing at 6-foot-7, he is an amazing playmaker who loves to play above the rim. Thompson possesses an elite athletic ability that makes him a rare find for young players. Many might knock him due to his limited shooting but his finishing, passing, and defense help his case tremendously. Charlotte adds Thompson in our latest NBA mock draft to pair with LaMelo Ball.

2023 NBA mock draft: Others trying to climb the boards

4. San Antonio Spurs: Ausar Thompson, guard, Overtime Elite

Ausar Thompson is just as explosive as his twin Amen, who is going off the board the No. 3 to Orlando. Thompson is a better defender than his brother and excels at turning it into offense. The 6-foot-7 guard is averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 2.8 steals.

The NBA Draft will likely feature the top four players in the top-4 spots with Wembanyana, Henderson, and the Thompson brothers. San Antonio will pair Thompson at No. 4 overall with Jeremy Sochan in our latest NBA mock draft.

5. Orlando Magic: Brandon Miller, forward, Alabama

NCAA Basketball: Phil Knight Invitational-Alabama at Michigan State
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Miller has burst onto the scene and it is for good reason as the 6-foot-9 freshman forward has been on a tear to start the season. The Alabama product is averaging 19.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 43.5% from the three-point line. Miller’s shot-making and athleticism are very intriguing to scouts in the league.

The young forward has been electric as of late which includes a 36-point performance against Gonzaga this season. Miller’s size and skill set as a forward will likely make him a high pick in the 2023 NBA draft and the Magic will make that happen as they pair him with Franz Wagner, Bol Bol, Markelle Fultz, and more.

6. Washington Wizards: Nick Smith Jr., guard, Arkansas

The 6-foot-4 Smith opted to stay home and landed with Arkansas as one of the top recruits in his class, However, Smith is out indefinitely to right knee management and currently averages 12.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 38.9% from the field in four games. Here, we have the Wizards picking up Smith to pair with Bradley Beal.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Whitmore, forward, Villanova

Already boasting an NBA-ready 6-foot-7, 220-pound frame, it’s going to be all about how Whitmore performs from out on the perimeter under first-year Wildcats head coach Kyle Neptune. Whitmore made his debut a while ago after his recovery and currently averages 13.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 10 games. Here, we have Oklahoma City pairing him with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

8. Toronto Raptors: Keyonte George, guard, Baylor

NCAA Basketball: Northern Colorado at Baylor
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Experts look at George as someone who can already score at all three levels with an ability to use his 6-foot-5 frame to dominate smaller defenders. This should continue at the college level in the Big 12 with Baylor. Thus far, George is averaging 16.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while being linked to Toronto in our 2023 NBA mock draft.

9. Orlando Magic (from Bulls): Cason Wallace, guard, Kentucky

NCAA Basketball: North Florida at Kentucky
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Cason Wallace’s defensive gifts have him landing with the Thunder as the No. 9 overall pick. While his scoring is not as dangerous, it has not been too bad as he is averaging 11.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting 47.0% from the field. The 6-foot-4 guard appears to be a good fit anywhere in the NBA and he might rise on draft boards even more.

10. New Orleans Pelicans (from Lakers): Jett Howard, guard, Michigan

NCAA Basketball: Jumpman Invitational-Michigan at North Carolina
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Howard has been skyrocketing on draft boards since the start of the 2022-’23 season and it’s understandable as he stands at 6-foot-8. The guard has been potent to start the year while averaging 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while shooting 36.7% from beyond the arc. The Pelicans take Howard at No. 10 overall and pair him with Zion Williamson.

11. Portland Trail Blazers: Jarace Walker, forward, Houston

NCAA Basketball: Norfolk State at Houston
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Walker stands at 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds with an ability to grow into that frame as a freshman for Houston. A top-10 recruit from IMG Academy, he’s also displayed a solid mid-range game. Walker is averaging 10.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 48.6% as Portland adds him to a potent core of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons.

12. Atlanta Hawks: Gradey Dick, guard, Kansas

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Kansas
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Dick has been one of the fastest-rising stars in the country for a Kansas squad that is among the best teams. The 6-foot-8 guard is averaging 14.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals while shooting an absurd 47.2% from beyond the three-point line. The Hawks add Dick to pair him with Dejounte Murray as Trae Young’s future with the franchise is in question.

13. Utah Jazz: Anthony Black, guard, Arkansas

NCAA Basketball: Troy at Arkansas
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Black has been climbing draft boards with injuries affecting Arkansas. The 6-foot-7 guard is averaging 12.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while shooting 48.8% from the field. With his teammate, Smith Jr., out, he has been adapting to a new role after a great start. Utah picks the freshman guard at No. 13 overall in our latest NBA mock draft.

14. Utah Jazz (from Timberwolves): Kel’el Ware, center, Oregon

A surprising top-eight recruit that actually landed with Oregon, Ware seems to have all the skills to be seen as a top-end big prospect. He already boasts a solid 7-foot, 215-pound frame and is seen as someone who can actually hit the outside shot and protect the rim in the low post. Ware goes to Utah in our 2023 NBA mock draft to pair with Anthony Black.

2023 NBA mock draft: Non-lottery picks

15. Golden State Warriors: Dillon Mitchell, forward, Texas

16. Phoenix Suns: Terquavion Smith, guard, North Carolina State

17. Los Angeles Clippers: GG Jackson, guard, South Carolina

18. Miami Heat: Dariq Whitehead, forward, Duke

19. New York Knicks: Kyle Filipowski, center, Duke

20. Sacramento Kings: Brice Sensabaugh, guard, Ohio State

21. New York Knicks (from Mavericks): Maxwell Lewis, forward, Pepperdine

22. Indiana Pacers: Taylor Hendricks, forward, UCF

23. Los Angeles Lakers (from Pelicans): Rayan Rupert, forward, New Zealand

24. Indiana Pacers (form Cavaliers): Dereck Lively II, center, Duke

25. Brooklyn Nets (from 76ers): James Nnaji, center, Barcelona

26. Houston Rockets (from Bucks): Leonard Miller, forward, G-League Ignite

27. Utah Jazz (from Brooklyn Nets): Kris Murray, forward, Iowa

28. Charlotte Hornets (from Nuggets): Jaime Jaquez Jr., guard, UCLA

29. Memphis Grizzlies: Marcus Sasser, guard, Houston

30. Indiana Pacers (from Celtics): Colby Jones, guard, Xavier

Let us know what you think about our 2023 NBA mock draft in the comment section below.

This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.

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