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NBA 2023 Mock Draft: Do the Hornets Mess It Up At Two?

We are just a week away from the NBA Draft starting. The draft is the focal point for every single team hoping to land the next star and rebuild their franchise. It's also the obsession for every single fan of a team who didn't make the playoffs. So without further ado, let's get into it. But first, a few rules,

-No Trades

-This is currently being written June 14th, 2023, before any trades may occur

Pick 1: The San Antonio Spurs Select...Victor Wembanyama, PF/C, France

The French sensation has no business not being the first overall selection. The 7'5 19-year-old probably has already bought his house out in San Antonio. This man can do anything you remotely need on a court. He should be thankful that he went to a team with a top-five coach of all time in Gregg Popovich, and an intellectual history. It could be the biggest blunder ever if the Spurs don't do this.

Pick 2: The Charlotte Hornets Select...Scoot Henderson, PG/SG, G League Ignite

There have been rumors about the Hornets messing up this pick, but I don't think they do. Henderson is the clear number two guy in this draft, and if you want to prosper, it has to be him. Especially with Brandon Miller's semi-concerning history, it'll be enough to have a scary backcourt pairing of Scoot and LaMelo in Charlotte.

Pick 3: The Portland Trailblazers Select...Brandon Miller, SF, Alabama

The Trailblazers will likely trade this pick, but if not, it is still very predictable, and the best player available is Brandon Miller. Miller is lengthy and young at only 19 years old. He is an excellent shooter with the potential to be a consistent 40% shooter from three-point range. He'd also fit in well with Lillard and Simons running that guard already.

Pick 4: The Houston Rockets Select...Amen Thompson, PG, Overtime Elite

Both the Thompson twins are available here. However, the better choice is Amen for the Rockets. Amen is much more of a true point guard, which is the only position the Rockets truly lack in their young core.

At an insane 6'7, Thompson matches the height needed for the evolving point guard, mixed with the elite on-ball defense, making him the best selection for the Rockets.

Pick 5: The Detroit Pistons Select...Jarace Walker, PF, Houston

Walker is an exceptionally athletic big man the Pistons grab here to pair with their backcourt duo of Ivey and Cunningham. Despite his smaller size, Walker is an incredible defender, allowing him to guard all five positions if needed.

The one struggle may be his diminutive stature, but given his athleticism and defensive prowess, I see them as something other than valid reasons for him to be passed on here.

Pick 6: The Orlando Magic Select...Cam Whitmore, SF, Villanova

Whitmore possesses every trait the Magic could want out of their first pick this draft. With remarkable athleticism and catch-and-shoot abilities, Whitmore has an excellent chance to mesh well with their young core and keep growing with them.

Not to mention the selection of Banchero gives you a perfect opportunity to pair him up with a future running mate who excels at what he lacks.

Pick 7: The Indiana Pacers Select...Taylor Hendricks, PF, UCF

Hendricks has all the trademarks of the modern big. He can shoot, defend, and switch well and is incredible in transition. With Mathurin running the show and Turner next to him, you'd pair a lethal rim-protecting duo that can both shoot and guard the 1-5. This pick gives Indiana another flexible, fluid defender who can shoot the ball well.

Pick 8: The Washington Wizards Select...Ausar Thompson, SG, Overtime Elite

Falling a bit further than his brother, Ausar still maintains many desirable traits. But for the Wizards, it was about the best player available. This draft for the Wizards is crucial for helping to determine their path as a franchise, a very undefined course. After last year's draft pick, Johnny Davis, has not worked out well; you don't want to take risks.

Pick 9: The Utah Jazz Select...Anthony Black, PG/SG, Arkansas

The general public believed that the Jazz would be picking far higher initially, but after a solid campaign, they ended up with what some will call the steal of the draft. Black is an excellent rim attacker who excels at also kicking the ball out. With Sexton playing more of a shooting guard role, Black can run the point and flourish in Utah.

Pick 10: The Dallas Mavericks Select...Derek Lively II, C, Duke

This class is incredibly guard heavy, and unfortunately for the Mavericks, that is the last position they need. However, in the NBA, height is king. So when you get a chance to pair up a solid 7'2 center with your generational point guard, you do. He is a bit of a gamble but has all the tools for the modern day. This would be a great pick for Dallas.

Pick 11: The Orlando Magic Select...Gradey Dick, PG/SG, Kansas

Dick burst onto the scene as a true freshman and wants to replicate that in the NBA. Despite Orlando having a decent amount of guards, Dick fits in well with the future aspirations of the team and provides some much-needed shooting. Especially with the possibility of Fultz demanding more money and not wanting to mayhem, Dick could fill the hole caused by Fultz.

Pick 12: The Oklahoma City Thunder Select...Jalen Hood Schifino, PG/SG, Indiana

Unfortunately for the Thunder, this year's draft class is loaded with guards. This means it's about the best player available. Schifino is a 6'5 guard who is incredibly crafty in playmaking. His shooting leaves a bit to be desired, but if this pick isn't moved, he is the best player still on the board.

Pick 13: The Toronto Raptors Select...Nick Smith Jr, PG, Arkansas

The Raptors are in a very odd position, and with the likelihood that Fred VanVleet will be leaving, they need to find a new point guard for the future. Smith fits the NBA mold for an athletic point guard, with a 6'9 wing span and the ability to jump out of the stadium. Smith also plays much bigger than he is, allowing him to match up against those bigger guards.

Pick 14: The New Orleans Pelicans Select...Cason Wallace, PG, Kentucky

The Pelicans could use a true point guard to run their ranks, and who is better than Wallace at this point? Wallace acts as a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. He excels in almost every aspect of the game but has no true strength in a particular element. There are a few concerns regarding his shooting translating to the NBA game, but that shouldn't be an issue with talented scorers around him.

Pick 15: The Atlanta Hawks Select...Jordan Hawkins, SG, Uconn

The face of the NCAA champions finally goes off the board at fifteen. While there are a few worries regarding his wingspan, the NBA should be scared if he is used more in a shooting guard role next to Trae Young.

A prolific shooter who would mesh well with the rest of the Hawks lineup is a frightening thought. Use him out on the wings, and the Hawks got themselves a steal.

Pick 16: The Utah Jazz Select...Brice Sensabaugh, SF, Ohio State

To go along with the earlier selection of Anthony Black, you now get a talented catch and shooter in Sensabaugh. In the modern age, where shooters are worth so much, grabbing a guy who could potentially shoot above forty percent from three is worth the risk. His defense can be splotchy, but his shooting will compensate for that.

Pick 17: The Los Angeles Lakers Select...Keyonte George, SG, Baylor

This man is a scorer. That is all that is needed. When you surround Lebron James with talent, you need guys who can help draw attention and help make plays for LeBron. George does precisely that.

Scoring is like breathing to the man; he does it effortlessly. In an effort to prevent LeBron from retiring and making the whole NBA sad, this is the right pick. Take some pressure off him.

Pick 18: The Miami Heat Select...Noah Clowney, PF, Alabama

With a 7'2 wingspan, he is exactly what the Heat need. Jokic exposed the Heat's defense when it wasn't Bam Adebayo guarding him, forcing him to overplay for the Heat to have a chance.

Clowney moves really well, is patient, and blocks shots incredibly well. This would give Miami another excellent paint defender to help take the pressure off Bam Adebayo.

Pick 19: The Golden State Warriors Select...Bilal Coulibaly, SF, France

Fun fact, he plays on the same team as Victor Wembanyama. But in the NBA, the mystery men attract, and that is precisely Coulibaly. While raw, Coulibaly possesses immense talent, the talent that if any team can capitalize on, it is the Warriors. Another jack of all trades, the NBA better watch out in case the Warriors can work their Magic again.

Pick 20: The Houston Rockets Select...James Nnaji, C, Nigeria

Nnaji is a specimen. He is long and tall and bullies his opponent to score while on defense. He contributed significantly to a solid Barcelona team in a way that you don't typically see from prospects at only 18. This gives the Rockets another high-ceiling prospect who could end up developing into a monster for them.

Pick 21: The Brooklyn Nets Select...Rayan Rupert, SG/SF, France

Rupert's strength is defense. With a 7'3 wingspan, it allows Rupert to be dominant on the defensive side of the ball. With Bridges also running a massive portion of the forward minutes, they could turn into a top-tier NBA defensive duo. Rupert's length also allows solid driving to the basket and forces the opposition to always keep an eye on him.

Pick 22: The Brooklyn Nets Select...Leonard Miller, SF/PF, Canada

Miller's upside is incredible. At 6'10, his size allows him to be all over the court. He has struggled to put it together truly, so he is a bit of work. But, if he is unlocked, his potential is limitless. With strong defensive capabilities and often the skillset to score at will, the NBA should be scared if he irons out the wrinkles.

Pick 23: The Portland Trailblazers Select...Kris Murray, PF, Iowa

Despite his brother being the fourth overall pick just a year ago, Kris Murray falls all the way to 23. However, this is one of the far safer picks in this range. Murray comes to the NBA with a solid sense of the game and understands how it runs.

Murray also similarly shoots like his brother, working at the catch and shooting tirelessly. This adds a high-floor prospect for the Trailblazers.

Pick 24: The Sacramento Kings Select...Dariq Whitehead, SG, Duke

This was a prospect expected to be a top-five pick a year ago. However, after dealing with an injury that nagged him all year, he never looked like himself. Whitehead has a lot of athleticism and is an excellent ball-handler. However, this pick is primarily based on the potential. Whitehead can be great if he can stay healthy.

Pick 25: The Memphis Grizzlies Select...Jett Howard, SG, Michigan

While most are higher on Jett than I am, it's for a good reason. In a draft so guard-heavy, the ceilings come into play. Other players are more worth the risk. That said, Howard is an exceptional off-ball player who can create with or without the ball for his team. With the departure of Dillon Brooks, Howard could fill that spot for the Grizzlies immediately.

Pick 26: The Indiana Pacers Select...Kobe Bufkin, PG, Michigan

The Michigan teammates go off the board back-to-back. A very solid defender; there are more exciting things about Bufkin. Early in the season, the point guard shot the dreamt 50/40/90 from the field. Bufkin can potentially be an exceptionally great scorer and, at worst, an exceptional shooter. No reason not to take him here.

Pick 27: The Charlotte Hornets...Oliver-Maxence Prosper, PF, Marquette

A very solid defender who can create some flashy highlights on offense and defense. With a pesky defensive presence in the paint and exceptional athleticism, Prosper can be an excellent rotational guy to give you minutes and fill out your team with good role players.

Pick 28: The Utah Jazz Select...Brandin Podziemski

A gamble identified in a single player. Playing at Santa Clara, we didn't get to see Podziemski play against the fiercest competition, but we got to see his exceptional physical attributes. An NBA-type vertical and shot allow him to be a substantial bet for any team with a later pick. The NBA should keep an eye on him.

Pick 29: The Indiana Pacers Select...Colby Jones, SG, Xavier

Jones is the kind of player who can fit into any NBA team's lineup. Very versatile, able to move around quickly, and is a very smart defender knowing when to switch and play up. Nothing specific pops off the page about Jones, but his overall stability and chameleon-like ability to blend in wherever should allow for a smooth transition to the NBA.

Pick 30: The Los Angeles Clippers Select...Tristan Vukcevic, PF/C, Serbia

The final pick in the first round has been a trend in recent years. With the domination of Nikola Jokic over the NBA, every team wants to take advantage of him. While Vukcevic isn't Jokic, he is a solid big who can shoot and has a high floor. Vukcevic could quickly become the big man the Clippers need, but I doubt it.



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