As March Madness fades into the rearview, it's now time to shift gears and look ahead to the next event on the hoops calendar this summer with the NBA Draft fast approaching. So today, for the first time since the season ended, we're back with a fresh new set of prospect rankings.
The latest Top 50 Big Board has a familiar look at the top -- Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller remain No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, and the top six for that matter stayed the same -- but there's significant shifting throughout the draft landscape and potential for more as the draft cycle begins in earnest.
Coming off a stellar showing in the NCAA Tournament for title-winning UConn, flamethrower Jordan Hawkins was among the biggest risers in the refresh, rising from just outside the first-round to into the lottery projections. Hawkins has solidified himself as a clear first-round talent with his sharpshooting ability after a sophomore season in which he rated in the 97th percentile, according to Synergy data, as a spot-up shooter while finishing just shy of a 40% hit rate from 3-point range. In the modern NBA where size and shooting is at a premium, Hawkins brings both to the table as a wing who can play well off the ball and impact winning on both ends.
Indiana star Jalen Hood-Schifino is another big riser who lifted himself from just outside the top 30 to the lottery in our latest rankings, as both he and teammate Trayce Jackson-Davis late in the season played their way up boards. Hood-Schifino had some ups and downs as a freshman with the Hoosiers, but his 6-foot-6 frame and microwave scoring ability was on full display in bursts, including a 35-point outing vs. No. 1 Purdue on Feb. 25, that helped separate him from what looks to be a deep wing class. A team betting on pedigree and an athletic profile may be taken by him earlier than you expect.
Some of the latest notable risers and fallers are below along with our updated rankings.
NBA Draft Prospect Rankings
|2||Scoot Henderson||G League Ignite||-||PG||6-2|
|5||Amen Thompson||Overtime Elite||-||SF||6-6|
|8||Ausar Thompson||Overtime Elite||-||SF||6-6|
|9||Nick Smith Jr.||Arkansas||Fr||SG||6-5|
Check out the Top 50 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings
- Current rank: 27 | Previous rank: NR
Bufkin's second-year breakout was tucked away behind a Wolverines team that missed the NCAA Tournament and underwhelmed for much of the season, but he was one of the few bright spots for Michigan, blossoming into a legitimate first-round prospect as a sophomore. He made significant improvements as a shooter and flashed some real potential as a playmaker with the ball in his hands to boot. His assist rate more than tripled this season than from 2021-22 and he showed the skill and craft to be a strong finisher around the rim.
Firmly believe Kobe Bufkin will be an effective NBA defender. When he gets into the basketball, he has some of the quickest hands you'll find— The Box and One (@TheBoxAndOne_) April 6, 2023
Read more about the fast-rising 2023 draft prospect in our full scouting report: https://t.co/IqmWvSjMRV pic.twitter.com/UgJqDBD3ir
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
- Current rank: 31 | Previous rank: 43
From March 1 through the end of the college basketball season, no player in the sport -- not CBS Sports Player of the Year Zach Edey, not First Team All-Americans Brandon Miller or Drew Timme -- had a higher "box plus/minus" than did Jackson-Davis. According to BartTorvik.com data, which you can sort by date, which is really neat, Jackson-Davis had a 19.8 box plus/minus. He finished the season with the third-highest Player Efficiency Rating among all power program players behind only Edey and Vanderbilt's Liam Robbins, dominating inside the arc as a scorer and facilitator. He doesn't profile neatly as a modern-day NBA power forward which may complicate his projections -- he took three 3-point attempts in four seasons at Indiana -- but he's a killer creator for his position who has the craft and production to warrant consideration late in the first round of this draft.
- Current rank: 16 | Previous rank: 11
Plagued by injuries throughout his freshman season at Duke, Whitehead, even when healthy, failed to fully live up to lofty expectations as a five-star, top-five prospect in his class. The talent is glaringly obvious and a huge reason why I won't be selling off all my stock in him -- 6-7 wings who can make plays and slash with elite burst and athleticism are difficult to come by -- but he remains more of a project at this stage than expected and did not take advantage of the opportunity to solidify himself as a top-10 player in the class. If he can improve on his finishing skills around the hoop to go with his outside game I like his chances of outperforming whatever draft capital he gets if he slips out of the top 10. I'm not so sure he makes it out of the lottery.
Dariq Whitehead is an impressive shooter both spotting up & off the dribble. Shot 43% from 3 overall and 79% from the line, both strong indicators. He shot 45% from 3 spotting up, and 40.5% on guarded spot-up 3s.— Mavs/Magic Draft (@MavsDraft) March 27, 2023
Dariq should rise towards the lotto by June pic.twitter.com/bkwvhQCx2c
- Current rank: 30 | Previous rank: 12
Early in the season for Texas, then-head coach Chris Beard tabbed Mitchell, a five-star signee, as a "game-changer" defensively for the Longhorns. But on a veteran-heavy Texas roster, Mitchell carved out only 17.5 minutes per game and showed himself as mostly a liability on the offensive end even as he flashed immense defensive promise. The tools he has as a 6-8 jumbo wing/hybrid big remain very interesting, but he is still a developmental prospect whose upside at this point is a little more unclear given how raw he is as an offensive weapon.
- Current rank: 35 | Previous rank: 20
A groin injury suffered in the AAC Tournament seemed to bother Sasser off and on during the postseason as No. 1 seed Houston fell in the Sweet 16, but just to be clear: I'm not docking him for the ailment. This is more of a size-ist move than anything; guards who are 6-2 and effective, reliable starters in the NBA as lead guards are unicorns. He has the combination of shooting and playmaking to potentially catch on as an off-the-bench scorer and secondary creator, but his profile as a movement shooter leaves less wiggle room for him to flourish in the league. Late first round or early second round feels like a nice range to grab him in, but I can see teams being a little less sold on him and his prospects at the next level.