Strengths, Weaknesses for Victor Wembanyama and Top Projected 2023 NBA Draft Picks

Jonathan WassermanAugust 25, 2022

Strengths, Weaknesses for Victor Wembanyama and Top Projected 2023 NBA Draft Picks

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    Victor Wembanyama. (Sonia Canada/Getty Images)

    Between France's Victor Wembanyama, G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson, Overtime Elite's Thompson twins and the incoming NCAA freshmen class, the 2023 NBA draft already feels loaded.

    Scouts have also had plenty of opportunities to evaluate these teenagers in various settings, so the reports are out.

    We broke down the signature, translatable strengths for each of our preseason top-15 prospects, as well as the areas they'll need to improve to maximize their pro potential.

15. Dillon Mitchell (Texas, F/C, Freshman)

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    Dillon Mitchell. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    Strengths

    Athleticism: Quickness and bounce fuel most of Dillion Mitchell's scoring production and defensive playmaking. He's consistently around and above the rim, and he remains active/energetic to maximize his opportunities for finishing. Mitchell finished second in the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference in offensive rebounds per game.

    Finishing/interior scoring: Around the baseline, he's quick and explosive going up after the catch. Aside from being ultra athletic, Mitchell has good body control and a nose for the rim. He finishes at tough angles and gets impressive extension to drop lay-ins over defenders.

    It also feels like Mitchell is good for a put-back dunk per game. His second jump and hand-eye coordination earn second-chance points.

    Outside of catch-and-finishes, he has a comfort level with his one-handed push shots and hooks around the key.

    Defensive versatility/playmaking: At 6'8", Mitchell can be used to guard both forward spots, and some creative lineups could even use him as a small-ball 5 rim protector. He moves more like a wing than a big, but he's also going to block plenty of shots just off of his court coverage, leaping and coordination.

    Weaknesses

    Creation: Another reason to experiment with Mitchell at the 5 is because of his lack of ball-handling and creation. When he does put the ball down in the half court, he often winds up having to play back to the basket to shield his man.

    Shooting: He's mostly a non-threat to make threes or shoot off the dribble. It obviously limits his scoring upside, particularly for a non-creator.

    Off-ball defense: Mitchell can recover quickly to make up for lapses off the ball, but he can be prone to ball-watching or taking a few seconds off while his man loses him with a screen.

14. Dereck Lively (Duke, C, Freshman)

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    Dereck Lively. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    Strengths

    Physical tools: Dereck Lively impacts games almost exclusively with his physical tools around the basket. At 7'1" with an estimated unofficial wingspan around 7'5", his body, role and effectiveness mirror Tyson Chandler's. Lively operates mostly as a finisher, put-back machine and rim protector.

    Offensively, he also taps into his motor to run the floor hard and earn extra, easy scoring chances in transition.

    Finishing/interior scoring: Lively's tools make finishing relatively easy, but he also shows good timing, awareness and footwork off cuts or from the dunker's spot.

    More than just a dunk or lob threat, Lively has some one-handed touch as well, both from the low block and over the shoulder near the free-throw line.

    Defensive upside—rim protection, switchability: Lively will earn his paychecks by protecting the rim and blocking shots with his size, length and mobility. He has defensive anchor potential, as well as the ability to slide his feet away from the basket. He should serve as a major asset in pick-and-roll coverage with his ability to drop or switch out and contain in space.

    Shooting potential: Even at his size with limited off-the-dribble skills, Lively has played the 4 before. He's demonstrated confidence and encouraging fluidity shooting threes off the catch from the top of the arc and corners. He'll go back to playing more of a traditional center role at Duke next to stretch-big Kyle Filipowski, but Lively clearly has an interest in becoming a three-point threat that scouts will likely buy long-term.

    Weaknesses

    Creation/one-on-one scoring: A non-threat to put the ball down, Lively is heavily reliant on being set up by teammates to score. Poor guard play can lead to quiet games for the big man. He has a few back-to-the-basket moves, but they aren't expected to be a major part of a team's offense.

    Lively also tends to take extra time when operating in the post. His slower delivery can lead to teammates standing around and allow defenses to fully set or catch their breath.

    Strength: He can be vulnerable to being pushed backward defending in the paint. It's worth watching to see how well he can wall up or finish after contact against older college bigs.

13. Kel'el Ware (Oregon, C, Freshman)

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    Kel'el Ware. (Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Physical tools: Listed at 7'0", 210 pounds, Kel'el Ware serves as a high-percentage finishing target off dump downs, cuts and rolls. His length naturally translates to finishes over defenders, as well as put-backs. He shot 67.2 percent at the FIBA U18s, mostly by running the floor, tipping in misses, waiting in the dunker's spot, diving to the rim or tossing in paint push shots from a high release point.

    Inside scoring: Ware does a nice job timing his duck-ins to get post position and catches in space. He mostly keeps the ball high and manages to make some awkward finishes, even if his body isn't squared up. The over-the-shoulder hook is Ware's signature self-creation shot.

    Shooting potential: Ware has shown early confidence in his three-ball, even if the results have been mixed. Despite somewhat of a set shot, he has enough range and touch to currently threaten defenses as a spot-up or pick-and-pop shooter.

    Rim protection: A shot-blocking machine in high school, Ware should continue to have success in rim protection.

    Weaknesses

    Strength/explosion: Lacking physicality, power and explosion, Ware doesn't always go up strong to finish.

    Creation/one-on-one scoring: Ware's post game is basic and limited to right-handed hooks. He won't be a threat to put the ball down or make plays on the move.

    Switchability questions: Though mobile, Ware can be vulnerable in space. It often looks like he's willing to let guards get by so he can surprise them with a block from behind, though he doesn't always get there to make the play in time.

12. Jarace Walker (Houston, PF, Freshman)

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    Jarace Walker. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Physical tools: Jarace Walker's physical profile has long stood out among his peers. Now listed at 6'8", 235 pounds, he already possesses an NBA power forward's measurements with a chiseled, powerful frame.

    Fifth in scoring in the NIBC, Walker also finished second in field-goal percentage (66.0) and sixth in offensive rebounds. He's a handful for defenders with a head full of steam, while his strength below the rim helps create put-back opportunities.

    Improved half-court scoring: Walker looked sharper this season with his creation and speciality shot-making. He's a threat to attack from the wings, euro-step through traffic, create finishing angles off the dribble or use floaters on drives. In the mid-range, his bag includes pull-ups and fallaways out of the post. The combination of power and finesse makes him a tough matchup for all types of defenders.

    Passing: Playmaking 4 is an archetype that Walker should develop into. IMG often used him as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, as he averaged 3.5 assists in the NIBC, demonstrating both passing IQ and unselfishness. Walker actively looks for cutters and reads them well behind the defense. He doesn't predetermine shots after making moves, showing both a willingness and vision to improvise either for himself or to find teammates after drawing multiple defenders.

    Defensive playmaking: Walker plays an aggressive style of defense, whether he's blitzing ball screens or cheating over in help-side rim protection to get a block. Even if he isn't the most disciplined, he'll remain a threat to force turnovers and make highlight plays on the ball.

    Weaknesses

    Three-point shooting: Walker looks stiff shooting with distance, and he didn't attempt any threes at the Nike Hoop Summit or McDonald's All-American Game. It may take time before he's able to extend his range, so it's possible his shot selection is more likely to mirror a player like Julius Randle's early in his career.

    Ball-handling, finishing polish: He can still be too loose with the ball when handling in traffic. And while he looked like a wing at times getting to the basket, he didn't finish self-creation plays you'd think he should.

11. Brandon Miller (Alabama, SF/PF, Freshman)

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    Brandon Miller. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Positional tools/athleticism: Explosive leaping and 6'9" size create an advantageous physical foundation for a scoring forward. Brandon Miller should be bigger than most wings with bounce, which will lead to some incredible highlights above the rim, particularly in transition.

    Three-level sporing potential: Scouts will presumably look past some expected inefficiency toward Miller's long-term potential, which is fueled by guard skills for a forward with big-man height. With promising shot-making skill, he possesses one-on-one upside given his positional size and ability to self-create into mid-range jumpers and rhythm threes.

    Defensive versatility/playmaking: Miller's tools and athleticism translate to defensive playmaking at the rim. His size and mobility should also allow him to guard multiple positions and cause problems for smaller wings.

    Weaknesses

    Attacking the rim: Miller creates easier east and west than north-south. It leads to him settling more around the perimeter. Scouts will want to see more of him using his handle and burst to beat defenders and earn finishes and free throws. He doesn't always go up strong off drives in traffic.

    Efficiency/consistency: His shot selection can be jump-shot heavy, and at this stage, he's not a consistent-enough shooter to rely so much on pull-ups and threes.

    Age: Miller turns 20 in November, so he'll be a year older than most freshmen.

10. Keyonte George (Baylor, SG, Freshman)

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    Keyonte George. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

    Strengths

    Shot-making: The NIBC's second-leading scorer, Keyonte George looks ready to unload on defenses with on- and off-ball shot-making. He appears more comfortable shooting off the catch, and he shows outstanding balance rising up off screens. Once his confidence gets going, he becomes a bigger pull-up threat.

    Last month, George averaged 22.8 points for Baylor at Global Jam, with 16 of his 36 field goals coming off threes. George also shot 81.2 percent from the foul line and 77.1 percent during NIBC play.

    Attacking: Though not the most explosive athlete, George uses quick-dribble moves and changing speeds to beat defenders and get to the paint. He isn't afraid of contact and often uses it to create finishing angles.

    On-ball defense: The combination of quick feet, competitiveness and anticipation makes George a tough on-ball defender. He can be difficult to shake from the point of attack, as he does a good job of keeping ball-handlers in front of him by guessing their first move and beating them to the spot.

    Weaknesses

    Mid-range scoring: After getting through the perimeter defense, George can force drives into traffic. He'd benefit from adding more of a mid-range pull-up or floater, as he winds up attempting too many contested finishes.

    Limited playmaker: For a 6'4" guard and top option, George doesn't pick up many assists, and he tends to have more turnovers. He doesn't offer too much value as a playmaker, which just reduces his margin for error as a scorer.

9. GG Jackson (South Carolina, PF/C, Freshman)

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    G.G. Jackson (not pictured) plays for the South Carolina Gamecocks. (David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Physical tools/athleticism: At 6'9", 210 pounds, GG Jackson packs size, strength, leaping ability, coordination and high energy. He rolls out of bed with a double-double, earning himself easy baskets and boards (led EYBL) using his tools and effort. Jackson can get his elbows at rim level on finishes, and he runs the floor hard to beat defenses in transition.

    Inside-out scoring skills: While his physical tools generated most of his production at the U18 Americas Championship, we saw more flashes of ball-handling, footwork and three-point shooting in high school and EYBL. Mechanically, his jump shot looks fluid for a young big his size, and he's shown surprising command facing up with the ball making moves or using euro-steps.

    He's still likely to offer more consistent scoring from the block, where he can play through contact or shake free with shoulder shimmying.

    Defensive potential: Though not labeled a rim protector, Jackson still possesses an exciting mix of shot-blocking potential and perimeter movement. He seems poised to be a switchable big and asset in pick-and-roll coverage, and you don't see too many bad fouls or selfish gambles.

    Age: Assuming Jackson is one-and-done, there is a chance he's the NBA's youngest player as a rookie. With a December 17 birthday, he could be playing NBA games at 18 years old to start his career.

    Weaknesses

    Raw: Young, even for a freshman, Jackson figures to need time until he can consistently rely on skill execution. Physically, he had it too easy against high schoolers. And though it's encouraging just to see the flashes of face-up moves and threes this early, don't count on him being a regular threat to attack from 23 feet, pull up off the dribble or shoot a high percentage from deep.

8. Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite, SG/SF)

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    Ausar Thompson plays for Overtime Elite. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Positional size/athleticism: Ausar Thompson possesses effortless springs for easy finishes, defensive playmaking and offensive rebounding. He covers ground quickly with long strides and demonstrates high-level coordination for mid-air adjustments.

    Self-creation: Thompson can get his own shot from different spots in various ways. Ball-handling moves and stop-start acceleration make Thompson difficult to contain in space. He possesses plenty of wiggle and shiftiness off the dribble, and he uses them to get into scoops, floaters and pull-ups. He can also add some secondary playmaking.

    Shot-making potential: Though not consistent yet, Thompson does have three-level shot-making skills with his pull-up, runner and triple. He's better right now taking touch shots off one foot or using hang time on leaners in the lane.

    Defensive versatility: Positional size, length, quick feet and hops create exciting defensive potential. Aside from the stats (3.0 STL, 4.4 BLK), he can easily guard positions 1-3.

    Weaknesses

    Decision-making: Maybe it was Overtime's setting, which had Thomson playing the same two teams over and over, but he was prone to casually dancing one-on-one into low-percentage shots. Some of his layups and jumpers also looked unnecessarily fancy.

    Shooting: Thompson shot 23.6 percent from deep with just 17 made threes in 31 games. Some of his misses were way off, and his form will likely need some tweaks, particularly with his release and tendency to kick his legs way out.

7. Cason Wallace (Kentucky, G, Freshman)

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    Cason Wallace. (Chris Kohley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Defensive instincts/pressure: Cason Wallace will quickly earn a reputation for being a defensive pest with his pressure and quick feet. He can make ball-handlers uncomfortable and force turnovers, and at 6'4", 193 pounds, he's built to guard either backcourt position. Wallace also figures to rack up defensive stats, including blocks, as he's developed a knack for meeting opponents at the rim and denying them with his effort, timing and coordination.

    Creativity: Though Wallace will operate as Kentucky's secondary playmaker (next to Sahvir Wheeler), he's creative enough to be an offense's primary ball-handler for stretches. Crafty and skilled off the dribble, he keeps defenders spending energy and guessing. The creativity shows on paint finishes as well, with Wallace adept at improvising and making mid-play adjustments.

    Three-level scoring: A well-rounded scorer, Wallace has an impressive shot-making skill level. His floater game is highly advanced, as he's shown the footwork, body control to slow down and touch in the lane. For a freshman, he's an above-average shooter off mid-range pull-ups and set threes, and his free-throw percentages have been excellent in most settings.

    Combo versatility: With high IQ, a catch-and-shoot game, rebounding instincts and defensive versatility, Wallace can be used in a variety of ways. He should be able to adapt to any role or roster.

    Weaknesses

    Mid-range forces: Wallace can develop tunnel vision after breaking down the defense and getting inside the arc. He's prone to forcing tough runners or contested pull-ups when simple kick-outs may be the better play.

    Star upside questions: Though viewed as a complete, two-way player, Wallace may lack an elite physical trait or core skill.

6. Dariq Whitehead (Duke, SG, Freshman)

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    Dariq Whitehead. (Chris Kohley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Perimeter self-creation/shot-making: Dariq Whitehead's perimeter-skill development has raised his Alpha potential and scoring upside. He oozes confidence in his pull-up and step-back games, as he's improved both his footwork and balance getting into dribble jumpers. To create separation into pull-ups and step-backs, Whitehead uses an array of jab steps, crossovers, side-steps and behind-the-back dribbles.

    His perimeter self-creation and off-the-dribble shooting hint at high isolation/takeover scoring potential. Though Whitehead can be streaky from outside, the hot streaks can lead to huge outputs. He went for 17 points on five threes in 20 minutes at the Nike Hoop Summit. In 10 NIBC games, he averaged 16.8 points (tied for third) and 2.2 threes. He's a threat to hit tough shots from three levels.

    Line-drive attacking: Whitehead has a quick first step out of triple threat, and with an open lane to the basket, he's capable of activating an extra gear of athleticism/leaping off one foot.

    Secondary playmaking/passing: He adds value as a secondary playmaker with heads-up passing ability off transition and penetration. He's shown a willingness to move the ball and find the open man .

    On-ball defense: When 6'6" Whitehead sits in a stance and extends his wingspan, he can overwhelm ball-handlers at the point of attack.

    Weaknesses

    Decision-making: Since evolving from a supporting role player into Montverde's top option, Whitehead fell into hero-jumper mode too often. He's developed a tendency to settle for low-percentage, contested pull-ups or other off-balance speciality shots. And he didn't show the best awareness or vision in the lane after predetermining drives.

    Half-court finishing: White's at-rim efficiency in the half court won't align with his transition numbers. With a congested lane, he tends to mistime his takeoff or leap from too far away, making it difficult to use maximum touch.

    Shooting questions: Some scouts are still hesitant to buy Whitehead's shooting improvement given his underwhelming percentages from behind the arc and free-throw line. He was a limited threat as a high school sophomore and junior.

5. Cam Whitmore (Villanova, Wing, Freshman)

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    Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

    Strengths

    Physical tools/athleticism: At 6'7", 232 pounds, Cam Whitmore blends positional size and strength with speed and explosiveness. He's an obvious transition weapon, but he doesn't need momentum or an open runway to load up and launch above the rim. This leads to dunks through rim protection.

    In the half court, he loves to cut and use his bounce for inside scoring chances. With the ball, he's a threat to initiate breaks, while his first step in the half court can embarrass defenders.

    Shooting/shot-making improvement: Between the U18 Americas Championship, Nike Hoop Summit, McDonald's All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic, Whitmore shot 12-of-31 from three. Defenders seem happy to give him space to shoot from outside given how tough he is to stop when going downhill. He'll even use a few dribbles to get in rhythm before releasing. Developing into an above-average shooting threat would be a significant development for Whitmore's scoring potential.

    Defensive potential: Villanova seems like an ideal place for Whitmore to strengthen his defensive IQ and effort, which could be huge for a forward with his special tools and movement. In terms of physical ability, he possesses enough size/toughness to guard bigs and the lateral foot speed to stay in front of guards/wings.

    Rebounding into offense: Whitmore sees rebounding opportunities as scoring opportunities, as he often goes after defensive boards so he can start fast breaks. Offensively, he'll always be a threat to soar in for a put-back or get a tip-in by using his strength and springs.

    Weaknesses

    Scoring versatility: From an analytical standpoint, Whitmore doing almost all of his damage at the rim or behind the arc can be seen as an efficient scoring method. But evolving into a primary option will require him to add more creation outside of line-driving or soft-dribble pull-ups when given space.

    Room to improve playmaking: Whitmore's playmaking results have been mixed, though it's clear he could stand to improve his decision-making as a passer on the move.

    Shooting/free-throw touch: Whitmore is improving his shot, but the sample size of improvement is still small. He's mostly struggled from the free-throw line (45.7 percent 2001 EYBL, 62.5 percent U18s). He also hasn't needed a floater at the high school level.

4. Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas, G, Freshman)

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    Nick Smith Jr. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Positional size/quickness: With 6'5" size for a projected lead guard, Nick Smith Jr. has advantageous positional tools. Quick-twitch movement shows on fast dribbles, footwork for separating and defensive strips. His rhythm and pacing off the dribble stand out. He doesn't play too fast, as he picks the right times to hit turbo off soft dribbles and hesitations.

    Creation: Offensively, he gets to his spots despite not possessing much explosiveness. Using his handle to change direction and constantly change speeds, Smith finds ways to create separation into drives and dribble jumpers.

    Mid-range scoring: Smith should have one of the best float games in the draft. Using touch and control, he frequently makes touch and push shots off one foot inside the arc. A runner and pull-up make Smith a dangerous pick-and-roll scorer.

    Shooting: Ahead of the curve as a shooter, Smith should be an immediate three-point weapon at Arkansas. He checks boxes with both shot-making versatility and range, looking comfortable pulling up, shooting off the catch and catching defenses sleeping with deep threes.

    Playmaking potential: Though Smith will be labeled a scoring point guard, he's shown enough facilitating feel for NBA teams to picture a lead ball-handler. His handles and elusiveness create playmaking opportunities, and he's fully capable of making the right ball-screen and kick-out reads while also flashing some exciting flair with his passing.

    Weaknesses

    Frame/explosion: It's worth questioning how well Smith's slender frame will develop and handle contact. Though highly skilled, his lack of strength and explosion will make half-court finishing more challenging against NCAA and NBA defenders.

    Shot selection: Smith plays with a lot of confidence, which can also lead to low-percentage or rushed shots.

3. Amen Thompson (Overtime Elite, Point-Wing)

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    Amen Thompson plays for Overtime Elite. (Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Position tools/athleticism: The NBA's 100th percentile tier of elite athletes will one day include Amen Thompson. Athleticism itself is broad, but Thompson is special in terms of leaping, explosion, quickness, flexibility and coordination. He can elevate effortlessly toward the top of the glass' box, contort his body to slip through tiny windows, spin with fluidity and speed, blow by or use body control to adjust mid-air.

    Finishing: Not all great athletes are efficient finishers, but Thompson is. Aside from having advantageous bounce, hang time and explosion, he also has an effective left hand and touch around the rim. He shot 60.2 percent inside the arc at Overtime.

    Teammate creation/playmaking: Whoever drafts Thompson will have the urge to experiment using him as a lead guard. He creates advantages with his quickness off the dribble, though it's his vision, court awareness and passing that separate him. Between the attention he draws and his playmaking feel, Thompson will continue to be a playmaking threat off transition, ball screens and penetration.

    He also likes to pressure on one side of a defense with his dribble while seeing and hitting a teammate on the other. Assuming he can tighten up his handle, Thompson, who registered a 20.6 assist percentage this past season, should be a highly effective setup man for finishers and shooters.

    Self-creation potential: Thompson's quick-twitch movement and shiftiness highlight a path to scoring potential. At this stage, he's not a reliable shot-maker, yet he's still able to win one-on-one battles by shaking defenders and getting into the lane, where he has the advantage over most rim protection. He'll be able to get clean looks with ease from out to 25 feet away.

    Defensive versatility/quickness: Thompson's wild quickness for playmaking resulted in a 3.7 steal percentage. He's a defensive highlight-machine with enough foot speed to defend point guards full time, a scary thought for opponents, given his 6'7" size.

    Weaknesses

    Shot-making/shooting touch: Thompson has one glaring weakness, and it will be a major talking point in the 2023 draft discussion. He shot 22.0 percent from three and 56.2 percent from the free-throw line in 2021-22. It's not a deal-breaking swing skill, given how he can impact games with his world-class athletic ability, playmaking, creation and defense. Just being an average shooter could be enough for Thompson to reach NBA stardom, though he will need to make adjustments and improvements over the next few years.

2. Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite, PG, 2004)

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    Scoot Henderson. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Tools/athleticism: Strength and explosiveness separate Scoot Henderson from other lead ball-handlers. Ja Morant led all NBA point guards last year in dunks (58), and Henderson figures to be the position's next, biggest competitor for that title.

    His combination of ball-handling, speed and leaping regularly lead to easy baskets past backpedaling defenses in transition. His burst also creates advantages in the half court, where he blows by and turns corners off first steps and hesitation dribbles.

    Off-the-dribble: More than just a straight-line driver, Henderson demonstrates advanced handles and footwork to get through gaps or sidestep defenders.

    Mid-range scoring: The mid-range pull-up is Henderson's signature skill shot. He manages to stop and rise with balance after full-speed dribbles. He's a threat to shoot over ball screens when defenses drop or go under.

    Pick-and-roll play: Henderson figures to join Trae Young, Luka Doncic, Ja Morant and Donovan Mitchell as the only players who'll earn at least 12 pick-and-roll ball-handling possessions per game. He's a problem for opponents in ball-screen situations because of his changing speeds, spacial awareness for decision-making, off-the-dribble shooting and playmaking. He had double the amount of assists (88) to turnovers (44) for Ignite, showing plenty of passing/setup feel for a player whose jets frequently create playmaking opportunities.

    Weaknesses

    Three-point shooting: Henderson missed 40-of-51 attempts from behind the arc with Ignite, appearing out of his comfort zone from NBA range. It will likely take a few seasons until he's consistently threatening from deep, though his mid-range and free-throw touch remain encouraging for his shooting development.

    Defense: Slower reads and some casualness led to 3.3 fouls in 27.9 minutes, a very high rate for a guard.

1. Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92, PF/C, 2004)

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    Victor Wembanyama. (Sonia Canada/Getty Images)

    Strengths

    Defensive tools/upside: At 7'3" with a 7'9" wingspan, Victor Wembanyama's measurements mirror Rudy Gobert's. Outstanding instincts, timing and mobility help Wembanyama maximize the effectiveness of his absurd tools in rim protection or guarding in space. They help with recovery defense and create margin for error, as he can still make plays on the ball if he's beat or initially away from the action. He swats shots from the weak side or on the ball in the post, some without him having to even jump. He registered an 11.0 block percentage between France's top league and Euroleague at 18 years old. In the 2021 World Cup, he blocked eight shots against a United States team that featured older, eventual first-round picks in Chet Holmgren, Jaden Ivey, Johnny Davis, Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Peyton Watson.

    Tools/coordination for offense: Between Wembanyama's standing reach and coordination, he's an easy-basket target off transition, dump downs, lobs and cuts. The quick, single motion from catch to finish is most notable when he received passes below the rim. He also has an eye-opening second jump for a player his size, leading to second-chance points.

    Interior skill: Unlike Gobert, Wembanyama offers more skill, wiggle and touch offensively in the post. He has counter footwork to shake free operating back to the basket. He doesn't need many steps to get close to the rim, and he can make over-the-shoulder or awkward tough-angled shots with either hand if he can't get above the cylinder.

    Perimeter skill: In 99 games dating back to 2019, Wembanyama has hit 67 three-pointers and 71.3 percent of his free throws. Percentages this early aren't really relevant. The makes, eye test on his mechanics/comfort and touch show a player who's clearly on track to have a jumper in his prime and regularly threaten defenses as a shooter, something highly unusual for a 7'3" defensive star.

    Where the All-NBA potential lights up is on the flashes of self-creation and speciality shot-making. The world has never seen a player his size execute drives into finishes, shots off the dribble or fallaways from the post with such fluidity.

    Passing: Wembanyama shows his IQ and feel on well-placed, finesse entry passes into the post. His skill and vision pop on kick-out assists, and his quick processing is evident on tap passes where he doesn't need to catch and think before getting it to an open teammate.

    Weaknesses

    Strength/durability: Whoever lands the No. 1 pick will surely consult with numerous doctors about his body and biomechanics. While the injuries he's already dealt with have been isolated or unrelated to the fear over his 220-pound frame, Wembanyama's long, skinny arms and legs could get caught in some compromising positions throughout games.

    Though one of Euroleague's youngest rotation players, he also shot just 34.8 percent from the floor. Creating separation and dealing with contact will be challenges early in his professional career.

    Decision-making: He can occasionally be too casual or ambitious with his passes. He'll also force plays and get caught without a plan or counter after making a move, leading to a turnover.

    Shooting reliability: The shooting praise has always been more an eye test that predicts improvement over Wembanyama's actual results. He still shot a combined 27.5 percent from deep in 2021-22—a number that's fine for now given his age, height and other strengths.

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