2023 NBA Mock Draft: Upcoming Showcase Features Top Two Prospects

Jonathan WassermanOctober 3, 2022

2023 NBA Mock Draft: Upcoming Showcase Features Top Two Prospects

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    CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 20: Scoot Henderson #0 of the G League Ignite drives to the basket against the Cleveland Charge during the NBA G League Next Gem Game as part of 2022 NBA All Star Weekend on February 20, 2022 at Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Emilee Chinn/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Emilee Chinn/NBAE via Getty Images

    The 2023 NBA draft cycle kicks off in Las Vegas this week with a two-game series between our top two projected picks: France's Victor Wembanyama and the G League Ignite's Scoot Henderson. But there's also plenty of excitement about the next few prospects tiers, which are mostly made up of collegiate freshmen.

    Meanwhile, scouts have started digging into 2021-22 film to identify potential breakout prospects for the upcoming season.

    Using FanDuel's projected win totals, we created a mock draft order that includes previously made trades.

1. San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92, PF/C, 2004)

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    MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 17: Victor Wembanyama of LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne in action during the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague match between Real Madrid and LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne at Wizink Center on March 17, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images)
    Victor Wembanyama, Metropolitans 92 Sonia Canada/Getty Images

    Height: 7'4"

    Weight: N/A

    Wingspan: 8'0"

    Archetype: Anthony Davis, Chet Holmgren, Evan Mobley

    Trading Dejounte Murray initiated a San Antonio Spurs' rebuild from scratch, with the top of the 2023 draft board a likely motivator behind the front office's timing.

    Victor Wembanyama hype has been building for years, and he's already delivering on it after a pair of 34-point games in preseason and a 23-point double-double on opening day.

    He's produced an eye-opening highlight reel since joining Boulogne-Levallois, wowing with fluid creation, shot-making and movement.

    Aside from his unprecedented skill level and scoring versatility for a 7'4" big, he offers game-changing shot-blocking potential. The Spurs should be salivating at the idea of a Wembanyama-Jeremy Sochan defensive pairing.

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

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    STOCKTON, CA - MARCH 6: Scoot Henderson #0 of the G League Ignite dribbles the ball during the game against the Stockton Kings on March 6, 2022 at Stockton Arena in Stockton, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Scoot Henderson, G League Ignite Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 195 lbs

    Wingspan: 6'9"

    Archetype: Ja Morant, De'Aaron Fox, John Wall

    While the Houston Rockets spend another season focused on prospect development, they could wind up with their third consecutive top-three pick.

    The front office has likely already spent significant time scouting and coveting Scoot Henderson, an obvious target or fit for a roster that's building around a scoring wing in Jalen Green and a shot-making forward in Jabari Smith.

    Henderson and Green would immediately form the NBA's most athletic backcourt. Aside from standout speed, explosion and strength for a ball-handler, the Ignite star showcased convincing playmaking skills, self-creation flashes, a signature mid-range pull-up and adjustment finishing.

    A shaky three-ball holds him back from No. 1 in a draft with Victor Wembanyama. But signs of improved shooting for Henderson, plus any red flags concerning the French big man's durability, could cause some debate at the top of draft boards.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Amen Thompson (Overtime Elite, PG/SG, 2003)

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 202 lbs

    Wingspan: 6'11"

    Archetype: Scottie Barnes, Scottie Pippen

    While some teams may view Amen Thompson as their next primary ball-handler, he'd work as a playmaking wing for an Oklahoma City Thunder lineup featuring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey.

    Special athleticism and the ability to create for teammates set Thompson apart from others in the 6'7" range. Elite explosiveness for a ball-handler always hints at upside.

    There will be debate over his poor shooting, its impact on his value and ceiling and how improvable it is. But with Thompson's creation potential, blow-by jets, bounce for finishing and defensive quickness—all of which seem extremely translatable—he offers the level of athleticism and particular skill set to create a star's impact without a reliable jumper.

4. Indiana Pacers: Nick Smith (Arkansas, PG, Freshman)

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    PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 08: Nick Smith Jr. #6 of USA Team dribbles against World Team in the first quarter during the Nike Hoop Summit at Moda Center on April 08, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
    Nick Smith, Arkansas Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 185 lbs

    Wingspan: 6'9"

    Archetype: CJ McCollum, Jamal Murray, D'Angelo Russell

    With Tyrese Haliburton providing the Indiana Pacers with quality decision-making, passing and shooting, Nick Smith could add more creation and scoring off his three-level shot-making skill.

    Shifty off the dribble, dangerous for his shooting and float game and capable of playmaking in a setup role, he's looking like the early favorite to come off the board first among college prospects.

    Smith's upside in creation indicates lead-guard potential, though his 6'5" size and skill versatility suggest he'll be easily interchangeable and compatible with another ball-handler like Haliburton.

5. Utah Jazz: Cam Whitmore (Villanova, SF, Freshman)

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    PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 8: Cam Whitmore #13 of Team USA dunks the ball against Team World during the 2022 Nike Hoop Summit on April 8, 2022 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Cam Whitmore, Villanova Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 232 lbs

    Wingspan: N/A

    Archetype: Keldon Johnson

    Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson likely created extra motivation behind the timing of the Utah Jazz's rebuild. Although, CEO Danny Ainge presumably valued the top two tiers of the 2023 draft. Cam Whitmore has emerged as a star-caliber prospect after a standout spring and MVP performance for Team USA at the U18s Americas Championship.

    Explosive, physical and energetic, Whitmore has developed a knack for earning easy baskets by tapping into his strength, leaping and motor. But it's still his budding skill level as a shot-maker and passer that has changed his perceived trajectory.

    Between his 6'7", 232-pound frame and athletic abilities, and improved shooting and ball skills, Whitmore comes off as a high-floor, high-ceiling fit for every roster.

6. Orlando Magic: Dariq Whitehead (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)

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    SPRINGFIELD, MA - JANUARY 15: Dariq Whitehead of Montverde Academy (0) drives to the basket during the second half of the Spalding Hoophall Classic high school basketball game between Montverde Academy and DeMatha Catholic on January 15, 2020 at Blake Arena in Springfield, MA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Dariq Whitehead, Duke John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 190 lbs

    Wingspan: 6'9"

    Archetype: Jaylen Brown, Cam Reddish

    Dariq Whitehead should emerge as Duke's top option, and he'd likely peak as the Orlando Magic's No. 2 scorer next to Paolo Banchero.

    A gradual improvement as a self-creator and shooter has changed Whitehead's projected archetype and raised his ceiling. He still possesses some admirable role-player traits with unselfish passing, point-of-attack defense and transition offense.

    But at 6'6" with confident three-point range, a dangerous pull-up and step-back package and athletic driving ability, Whitehead has translatable tools and skills for on and off-ball scoring at a high, NBA level.

7. Detroit Pistons: Brandon Miller (Alabama, SF, Freshman)

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    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 15: Brandon Miller #24 of Team Flight handles the ball during the men's Jordan Brand Classic against Team Air at Hope Academy on April 15, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 200 lbs

    Wingspan: N/A

    Archetype: Jaden McDaniels, Ziaire Williams, Rudy Gay

    After solidifying the backcourt by pairing Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, the Detroit Pistons should have a chance to add more frontcourt scoring with Brandon Miller.

    He's already made noise over the summer while averaging 22.0 points overseas against three international opponents. The idea of Miller—an athletic, 6'9" shot-maker with guard skills—has always been enticing. But seeing the freshman immediately execute in an Alabama uniform makes his development more convincing.

    While it wouldn't be surprising to see some inconsistent shooting and decision-making, his positional size, dribble-jumper flashes, defensive highlights and enough production should earn Miller wiggle room with scouts.

8. Sacramento Kings: Cason Wallace (Kentucky, PG/SG, Freshman)

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 15: Cason Wallace of Richardson, TX eyes the basket during the Jordan Brand Classic boys game at Hope Student Athletic Center on April 15, 2022 in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Chris Kohley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Cason Wallace, Kentucky Chris Kohley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 193 lbs

    Wingspan: N/A

    Archetype: Jrue Holiday

    Cason Wallace's name should already be starred on the Sacramento Kings' preseason scouting list after the team ranked bottom five in defense in consecutive years.

    He's poised to build a reputation around impacting games by pressuring ball-handlers and guarding bigger wings. Still, Wallace is well-rounded offensively with a projectable three-point stroke, excellent floater game and a creation-IQ combination for playmaking in a combo role.

    If the Sacramento Kings liked Keegan Murray's versatility or positional interchangeability, they also figure to value Wallace's.

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

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    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 215 lbs

    Wingspan: 6'10"

    Archetype: Pascal Siakam

    The Charlotte Hornets will prioritize stockpiling talent over plugging holes. Still, GG Jackson can check both boxes with his NBA physical profile and budding skill level, plus Charlotte's upgradeable frontcourt.

    A 6'9", 215-pound frame, athleticism and motor will catch eyes first, but Jackson will really pop with flashes of ball-handling and shooting we saw in AAU.

    Scouts should wind up envisioning more than just a finisher and rebounder by March. How close or far away he looks from self-creating or making jumpers at the pro level will determine whether he's a high lottery pick or more of a first-round project.

10. Washington Wizards: Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite, SG/SF, 2003)

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 207 lbs

    Wingspan: 6'11"

    Archetype: Andrew Wiggins

    Even if NBA teams have questions about the competition in Overtime, they won't fog the scouting lens when evaluating Ausar Thompson. He's an easy standout with wild bounce, elite defensive quickness and creation flashes that point to obvious NBA upside.

    Wired more as a scorer than a playmaker, Thompson should be focused on improving his three-point shooting and decision-making in season No. 2 with Overtime.

    In the meantime, he could add immediate value to an NBA rotation as an easy-basket weapon and impact defender.

11. New York Knicks: Keyonte George (Baylor, SG, Freshman)

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    PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 08: Keyonte George #4 of USA Team reacts against World Team in the fourth quarter during the Nike Hoop Summit at Moda Center on April 08, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
    Keyonte George, Baylor Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 185 lbs

    Wingspan: N/A

    Archetype: Eric Gordon, Gary Trent Jr.

    The New York Knicks will continue to use their draft capital and young players to try to move up in drafts or acquire a star via trade.

    At No. 11, however, scouts should see a surefire NBA scorer in Keyonte George, an advanced shot-maker with a translatable combination of handles and strength for attacking the basket.

    Despite joining Baylor's crowded backcourt and veteran starting lineup, he's not the type to defer or fade into the background. The freshman possesses coveted takeover ability with his aggression and confidence, while his ball-screen offense and shooting versatility should allow him to remain comfortable playing on and off the ball.

12. Portland Trail Blazers: Jarace Walker (Houston, PF, Freshman)

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    PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 08: Jarace Walker #14 of USA Team reacts during the third quarter against World Team during the Nike Hoop Summit at Moda Center on April 08, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
    Jarace Walker, Houston Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 235 lbs

    Wingspan: 7'2"

    Archetype: Patrick Williams

    While a 6'8", 235-pound frame remains Jarace Walker's signature trait, his budding mid-range scoring and passing skills could help scouts see a lottery prospect.

    Walker has the rare ability to double as a team's most physical presence and a pick-and-roll ball-handler.

    Looking capable and willing when left open from three will really strengthen his draft case. Even without a reliable jump shot, NBA scouts should be drawn to a mix of power, creation and two-point touch for a power forward, plus encouraging defensive tools and motor.

13. Orlando Magic (via Bulls): Chris Livingston (Kentucky, SF/PF, Freshman)

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    Oak Hill's Chris Livingston #20 in action against La Lumiere during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic, Saturday, January 15, 2022, in Springfield, MA. Oak Hill won the game. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
    AP Photo/Gregory Payan

    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 220 lbs

    Wingspan: 6'10"

    Archetype: Stephen Jackson, Harrison Barnes

    Strength, athleticism and shooting range create a three-and-D baseline and floor projection for Chris Livingston.

    He'll quickly stand out as an NBA prospect with a 6'6", 220-pound frame, athletic finishes and a persuasive three-ball for a teenager.

    How much off-the-dribble offense he's able to show in a loaded rotation should help dictate how high he's able to climb boards.

    With a pair of ball-handlers in Cason Wallace and Sahvir Wheeler, National Player of the Year candidate Oscar Tshiebwe, Jacob Toppin ready to break out and 20.1-point-per-game transfer Antonio Reeves, Kentucky's talent and Livingston's role could mask some of the freshman's creation potential.

    On the other hand, he'll have a chance to play to his strengths spotting up.

14. New Orleans Pelicans: Terquavion Smith (North Carolina State, SG, Sophomore)

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    RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 09: North Carolina State Wolfpack guard Terquavion Smith (0) shoots a three over Wake Forest Demon Deacons guard Daivien Williamson (4) during the game between the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the NC State Wolfpack on February 09, 2022 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Terquavion Smith, NC State William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 165 lbs

    Wingspan: 6'7"

    Archetype: Bones Hyland, Jordan Poole, Anfernee Simons

    Back after generating 2022 first-round interest, Terquavion Smith should again have suitors interested in adding instant offense fueled by dangerous shot-making.

    He buried 96 threes in 32 freshman games with convincing confidence before lighting up his first NBA combine scrimmage with more perimeter scoring. The Hyland, Poole, Simons archetype has become more accepted and coveted, and Smith's self-creation, off-the-dribble shooting and fearlessness suggest he could be next in line.

    He'll improve his stock most by finishing more efficiently and building on the playmaking flashes.

Nos. 15-30

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    PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 08: Dillon Mitchell #15 celebrates after a three-point basket by Kel'el Ware #11 of USA Team during the fourth quarter against World Team during the Nike Hoop Summit at Moda Center on April 08, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
    Dillon Mitchell, Texas and Kel'el Ware, Oregon Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    15. Los Angeles Lakers: Dereck Lively (Duke, C, Freshman)

    Translatable finishing and rim protection should lead to top-20 interest in Lively, though more flashes of post scoring and shooting touch could push him closer into the top-10 range.

    16. Atlanta Hawks: Dillon Mitchell (Texas, PF, Freshman)

    Mitchell taps into special quickness and bounce for finishing, putbacks, transition and defensive playmaking. Improving his handle and shot will be long-term priorities, but over the next few years, he'll be valued for his off-ball production and low-usage impact.

    17. Toronto Raptors: Kel'el Ware (Oregon, C, Freshman)

    Ware's activity, finishing and shot-blocking will make the most noise, while flashes of ball skill and shooting will hint at more scoring versatility to unlock long term.

    18. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): Anthony Black (Arkansas, SG, Freshman)

    NBA teams will look at Black as an interchangeable 6'7" point guard or wing, given his unique playmaking IQ and defensive quickness and anticipation. Looking competent enough as a shooter should earn him an invitation to the 2023 green room.

    19. Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves): Baba Miller (Florida State, SF, Freshman)

    Scouts will show patience with Miller, a 6'11" 18-year-old wing who'll deliver self-creation and shooting flashes. Inconsistent production should be expected, given Florida State's history of ball-sharing, its deep rotation and the freshman's raw offensive game. But positional size, perimeter skills and age create enticing potential.

    20. New York Knicks (via Mavericks): Maxwell Lewis (Pepperdine, SG, Sophomore)

    A breakout season from Lewis should grab NBA scouts' attention with his 6'7" wing size, self-creation flashes, clear shot-making skill and athleticism for play-finishing and defensive playmaking. Aside from two matchups against Gonzaga, November 23 versus UCLA represents a key opportunity for Lewis to validate last year's flashes.

    21. Memphis Grizzlies: Nikola Djurisic (Mega, SG/SF, 2004)

    Scouts got an interesting look in September at Djurisic going for 24 points and six assists against Overtime Elite's Thompson twins. Playing as a featured weapon for Mega, the 6'8" Serban wing should remain in the first-round discussion all season while he showcases a valued mix of shooting and passing IQ.

    22. Miami Heat: Julian Phillips (Tennessee, SF, Freshman)

    Phillips should capture scouts' attention with shooting versatility and a believable stroke for a 6'8" wing. He'll look more like a fit for his off-ball scoring than a player NBA teams see creating or playmaking.

    23. Charlotte Hornets (via Nuggets): Leonard Miller (G League Ignite, SF/PF, 2003)

    With a full 50-game schedule in the G League, Miller should have enough opportunities and freedom to continue building on the guard skills that make the 6'11" combo forward a first-round candidate.

    24. Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers): Gradey Dick (Kansas, SG/SF, Freshman)

    Positional 6'8" size, convincing shooting and two-way IQ should lead to draft buzz for Dick. He won't flash much creation at Kansas, but for the NBA, he checks a fitting combination of boxes with translatable strengths like shot-making and decision-making.

    25. Utah Jazz (via Nets): JJ Starling (Notre Dame, SG, Freshman)

    Starling will have a featured role to showcase his scoring potential, which is powered by a combination of athleticism for attacking and shot-making off self-creation.

    26. Los Angeles Clippers: Jalen Hood-Schifino (Indiana, PG/SG, Freshman)

    The NIBC's assist leader, Hood-Schifino could build an NBA case around playmaking IQ and a 6'6", 215-pound frame built to drive through contact. His three-point shooting may take longer, though he'll flash more scoring potential by separating into mid-range jumpers and using floaters.

    27. Golden State Warriors: Julian Strawther (Gonzaga, SF, Junior)

    At 6'7", Strawther flashed the right tools, skill set and efficiency for an NBA off-ball wing, especially with his off-screen shooting and cutting. But he'll also see a big jump in usage and creation reps, which should allow him to expand his game and raise his on-ball value and draft stock.

    28. Phoenix Suns: Arthur Kaluma (Creighton, SF/PF, Sophomore)

    Shooting improvement and more points off self-creation should lead to NBA buzz for Kaluma. A believable three-point stroke and confidence (4.9 attempts per 40) suggest he's poised to take a step forward toward building his three-and-D image for the pros.

    29. Houston Rockets (via Bucks): Kyle Filipowski (Duke, PF, Freshman)

    Filipowski's ball-handling and shot-making skill level at 6'11" could help scouts look past his athletic and defensive limitations. He'll play the stretch-big role next to Dereck Lively at Duke, which will give scouts a good chance to evaluate his offense and foot speed against forwards.

    30. Indiana Pacers (via Celtics): Yohan Traore (Auburn, PF/C, Freshman)

    Traore's physical tools for translatable finishing and rebounding, plus real shooting touch, should lead to both freshman production and NBA interest.

Nos. 31-45

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    HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 22:  Houston Cougars guard Marcus Sasser (0) drives the ball past Texas State Bobcats guard Shelby Adams (4) in the first half during the college basketball game between the Texas State Bobcats and Houston Cougars on December 22 at Fertitta Center in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Marcus Sasser, Houston Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    31. San Antonio Spurs: Sidy Cissoko (G League Ignite, SG/SF, 2004)

    Certain NBA teams should see value in Cissoko's Swiss Army knife archetype and potential to impact games with athleticism, passing and defensive versatility.

    32. Houston Rockets: Daimion Collins (Kentucky, PF, Sophomore)

    More minutes and confidence could lead to a Collins breakout that showcases his wild leaping ability and shooting potential.

    33. Oklahoma City Thunder: Rayan Rupert (New Zealand Breakers, SG, 2004)

    Wing defense may be Rupert's No. 1 strength at the moment, but he's already flashed the shot-making potential that could turn him into an appealing three-and-D prospect.

    34. Sacramento Kings (via Pacers): Trevon Brazile (Arkansas, PF/C, Sophomore)

    After transferring and wowing during Arkansas' exhibition tour overseas, Brazile feels poised for a breakout that highlights athletic finishing, paint touch and some shooting potential.

    35. Charlotte Hornets (via Jazz): Amari Bailey (UCLA, SG/SF, Freshman)

    Bailey should impress with combo skills and vocal leadership, though he'll have to either shoot or pass at a high enough level to avoid questions about what translatable strength he can bank on.

    36. Orlando Magic: Marcus Sasser (Houston, PG/SG, Senior)

    Sasser should emerge as one of college basketball's top guards and an attractive second-round pick for teams drawn to his pick-and-roll play and high-level shot-making.

    37. Detroit Pistons: RJ Melendez (Illinois, SF, Sophomore)

    An analytics standout in limited minutes last season, Melendez could turn NBA heads if he continues to make threes, deliver high-IQ passes and convert tough drives in a much bigger role.

    38. Sacramento Kings: Adem Bona (UCLA, C, Freshman)

    Bona could crack the one-and-done radar with consistent production off translatable strength, athleticism and energy for easy baskets and offensive rebounds.

    39. Philadelphia 76ers (via Hornets): Jacob Toppin (Kentucky, PF, Senior)

    Based on Kentucky's exhibition tour in the Bahamas, Toppin looks like he's evolved from an energizer off athletic plays and motor to a forward who can also elevate for mid-range jumpers and hit catch-and-shoot threes.

    40. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Wizards): Harrison Ingram (Stanford, SF, Sophomore)

    The appeal to Ingram—a 6'8" positionless player with a shoot-dribble-pass skill set—stems more from his projected NBA fit than his upside.

    41. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Knicks): DaRon Holmes II (Dayton, PF/C, Sophomore)

    Holmes is missing a bankable modern skill, but his athleticism and motor for transition offense, finishing, rebounding and shot-blocking could interest teams looking to liven up their bench or frontcourt.

    42. Boston Celtics (via Blazers): Kris Murray (Iowa, PF, Junior)

    With scouts locked into Keegan Murray last season, Kris made some watch lists for his 6'8" size, shooting efficiency, defensive activity and flashes of attacking closeouts.

    43. Los Angeles Lakers (via Bulls): Caleb Love (North Carolina, PG/SG, Junior)

    Love's struggles around the basket continued last year, but his leap as a pull-up and spot-up shooter suggests he could provide on- and off-ball scoring at the next level.

    44. New Orleans Pelicans: Nolan Hickman (Gonzaga, PG, Sophomore)

    Despite lacking a plus physical or athletic trait, Hickman has a chance to earn NBA fans running Gonzaga's offense with his passing IQ, craftiness and shooting accuracy.

    45. Los Angeles Lakers: Emoni Bates (Eastern Michigan, SF, Sophomore)

    As Eastern Michigan's new top option, Bates will have a chance to restore confidence in his scoring potential, which is powered by his 6'9" wing size and high-level shot-making skills. He'll also have serious questions to answer from now until the draft, with the on-court ones focused on his limited athleticism, brutal finishing and decision-making.

Nos. 46-60

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    Kansas forward Jalen Wilson celebrates after their win against North Carolina in a college basketball game in the finals of the Men's Final Four NCAA tournament, Monday, April 4, 2022, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    Jalen Wilson, Kansas AP Photo/David J. Phillip

    46. Atlanta Hawks: Jayden Nunn (VCU, SG, Sophomore)

    Sleeper conversations should include Nunn, a 6'4" scorer with persuasive shiftiness for creation and shot-making skills.

    47. Toronto Raptors: Ousmane Ndiaye (Dragons Rhoendorf, PF, 2004)

    Ndiaye recently hit 17 threes in six U18 Africas Championship games to create more intrigue around his 6'11" size and perimeter skill.

    48. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jalen Wilson (Kansas, SF, Junior)

    Wilson is a good bet to bounce back and prove last year's three-point shooting struggles were fluky. It would be a notable development for a 6'8" wing who excels at finishing drives, transition takes and putbacks.

    49. Memphis Grizzlies (via Wolves): Alex Fudge (Florida, SF/PF, Sophomore)

    Fudge's explosiveness and defensive tools and IQ are impressive enough for NBA teams to look past his limitations as a scorer and shooter.

    50. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Mavericks): Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana, PF/C, Senior)

    Showcasing some shooting touch could finally help Jackson-Davis earn NBA interest, though he's still a worthy second-round candidate for his outstanding post skills and finishing.

    51. Memphis Grizzlies: Matthew Cleveland (Florida State, SF, Sophomore)

    Signs of shooting improvement from Cleveland could help scouts better picture an off-ball scoring forward who eats off transition, spot-ups, cuts and putbacks.

    52. Houston Rockets (via Heat): Jordan Hawkins (Connecticut, SG, Sophomore)

    NBA 2-guard size, a projectable shooting stroke and room to improve off the dribble have helped Hawkins earn a spot on watch lists entering the season.

    53. Chicago Bulls (via Nuggets): Forfeited

    54. Philadelphia 76ers: Jaime Jaquez (UCLA, SF, Senior)

    Assuming Jaquez brings the same scoring versatility and defensive toughness back to UCLA, a more reliable three-ball could be enough to land him on second-round boards.

    55. Brooklyn Nets: Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky, PF/C, Senior)

    A team may acknowledge Tshiebwe's flaws as a scorer and still use a second-round pick in hopes of adding an energizer and rebounding specialist.

    56. Los Angeles Clippers: Matthew Murrell (Mississippi, SG, Junior)

    Murrell's spot-up and off-screen shooting, plus a soft floater game, could be deemed translatable, useful skills for an off-ball scoring role at the next level.

    57. Milwaukee Bucks (via Warriors): Kevin McCullar (Kansas, SG, Senior)

    A surprise burst for driving, passing IQ and defensive instincts could buy McCullar extra time with scouts when it comes to his three-point shooting development. His impact will ultimately be magnified at Kansas after transferring from Texas Tech.

    58. Phoenix Suns: Ricky Council IV (Arkansas, SF, Junior)

    After transferring from Wichita State, Council's 6'6" frame, athleticism and pull-up shooting for iso scoring could look more believable against SEC opponents.

    59. Milwaukee Bucks: Eric Gaines (UAB, PG, Junior)

    Gaines' explosiveness for a ball-handler may be tempting and make teams willing to gamble on future shooting development.

    60. Washington Wizards (via Celtics): Colby Jones (Xavier, SG/SF, Junior)

    Shooting could unlock enough versatility for NBA teams to picture a positionless 6'6" pick-and-roll ball playmaker, off-ball weapon and defender.


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