It seems like the 2022-23 NBA season just came to a close, and already the 2023 NBA Draft is set for Thursday. While many basketball fans have had a pretty clear idea about who the top pick will be for a few years, plenty of others are sure to make a difference in their first NBA seasons in 2023-24. The 2022 NBA Draft was full of surprises. While I only nailed the exact locations of five players, eight of the players I projected to go inside the top 10 did just that.
I've taken a long look at this year's crop of players. While it's clear that Victor Wenbanyama is bound to hear his name called first, picks two through five are up in the air. I'll give away some brief player analysis and a projected landing spot for the prospects I expect to crack the top five below. Each has plenty of upside, but their environments could play a large role in how productive they are as rookies.
The highest picks don't always end up being the most successful in Year One, so I've also given my take on picks six through 14 to round out the rest of the lottery selections. There's no shortage of talent in this top-heavy class, so take a look at who you should keep an eye on ahead of next season.
1. San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama, France
Wembanyama has long been considered the top prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft class. The lanky French teen hasn't dropped from the top spot since being widely recognized as a generational talent years ago. He has the potential to lead all rookies in points, rebounds, and blocks in his first NBA season. His impact on both ends at the pro level overseas makes it easy to see why all other prospects pale in comparison on paper. Unlike the second and third picks, Wenbanyama won't have any All-Star teammates to compete with. His ceiling is head and shoulders above the rest of his peers.
2. Charlotte Hornets: Scoot Henderson, G League Ignite
Henderson is the latest in a growing line of blue chip prospects that have forgone college to compete with the G League Ignite in recent years. The program has produced a trio of lottery picks through three seasons, but only Jalen Green has thrived as a consistent starter at the next level so far. Henderson showcased plenty of versatility with 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game. However, he'll likely start as a reserve behind LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier should Charlotte draft him. Henderson is easily one of the three most capable fantasy assets in this draft, but Charlotte is far from the best spot for him to showcase that.
3. Portland Trail Blazers: Amen Thompson, Overtime Elite
Casual fans might not be too familiar with Amen or his twin brother Ausar, but both are likely to be lottery picks in this draft. The 6'7" wing has sharpened his all-around game by facing off against the best prep talent in the country over the last two years. His explosive athleticism, motor, length, and playmaking chops give him elite upside. Thompson is a Swiss army knife who can do a little bit of everything. Whether he becomes more of a scorer or playmaker remains to be seen. The level of competition he's played against is cause for concern, but he's fresh off a season in which he averaged 16.4 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game.
4. Houston Rockets: Brandon Miller, Alabama
There was some speculation that Miller could go as high as second in this draft shortly after his lone season at Alabama came to an end, and that's still a possibility. The 2023 SEC Player of the Year struggled with his jumper in the NCAA tournament but has a better shooting stroke than all the aforementioned players. Big wings that can make tough shots are highly sought after, but Miller is forced to take plenty of tough shots because he lacks burst. He can make a difference as a rebounder and defender, but he'll have to figure out how he fits in offensively alongside a shot-hungry backcourt that already boasts Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green.
5. Detroit Pistons: Ausar Thompson, Overtime Elite
Ausar is less of an on-ball player than his brother but is considered a better defensive prospect by many. While he is viewed as more of a wing than his brother, the duo's scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers were almost identical last season. Detroit has plenty of creation with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey in the fold. Thompson's potential as a two-way slasher who disrupts the passing lanes, protects the rim, and gets out in transition could make him a nice fit with Detroit. Fantasy standout status might be difficult to attain, though.
How will the rest of the lottery shake out? And what players outside of the top 10 could finish among the top performers? ... Join SportsLine right now to see Ameer Tyree's 2023 NBA Mock Draft, all from the expert who has provided top-tier fantasy analysis in recent years outperformed the top-tier of NFL Draft analysts in recent years!
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