It's been assumed for many months now that the first two picks of the 2023 NBA Draft will be French sensation Victor Wembanyama and G-League Ignite star Scoot Henderson. That remains true. So in many ways the questions about the next draft don't start until the third team is on the clock.
Who will go third?
Reasonable minds can answer that question differently -- although it should be noted that most seem to believe it'll likely be Overtime Elite guard Amen Thompson. But, at least for now, I'm slotting Alabama standout Brandon Miller third in my updated 2023 NBA Mock Draft because the 6-foot-9 wing just checks a lot of boxes as it pertains to what works in the NBA. He's a natural scorer who is averaging 19.0 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 44.4% from 3-point range on 7.1 attempts per contest. The fact that he's doing this for an Alabama team that's 11-0 in the SEC and winning its games by an average of 22.3 points underlines how these aren't empty stats as much as they're numbers being created by an awesome player on an awesome team.
I love him.
He should be the first college player selected — although Jarace Walker (Houston), Keyonte George (Baylor), Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas) and Cam Whitmore (Villanova) are also obvious candidates to be the first college player selected. It'll frankly be surprising if it's anybody other than Miller or one of the players just listed.
As always, I should remind you that team needs are not considered for this mock draft because while SportsLine projections are used to determine the order, the official draft order won't be set until after the lottery. So keep that in mind and dive into a list of what I believe are the 30 best prospects who could be eligible for the 2023 NBA Draft.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Wembanyama is unlike any prospect who has ever existed and will go No. 1 in this draft regardless of which team picks first. It's impossible to overstate the upside of a 7-foot-4 center who rim-protects like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and creates offense on the other end like a future MVP.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Henderson was sidelined for more than a month earlier this season after suffering a fractured nose and concussion. But the 6-2 lead guard has been mostly terrific since returning and looks like a wonderful consolation prize for whatever franchise finishes second in the lottery.
Round 1- Pick 3
Alabama • Fr • 6'9" / 200 lbs
Miller wasn't even a top-10 prospect in the Class of 2022, which seems ridiculous in hindsight. He's a 6-9 wing who is averaging nearly 20 points per game, and shooting above 44% from 3-point range on more than seven attempts per game for an Alabama team that's running through the SEC and a realistic contender to win the national championship.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Houston • Fr • 6'7" / 249 lbs
Walker is 6-8, 240-pound 19-year old who very much looks the part. He's the second-best college player on a legitimate national-title contender who is shooting above 40% from 3-point range and is versatile and strong enough to defend guards and centers.
Round 1 - Pick 5
This 6-7 guard is one of the two Thompson twins expected to go in the top 10 of this draft. His perimeter shot is an obvious concern — but he's a top-shelf athlete who can really pass it with undeniable upside and star-potential.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Baylor • Fr • 6'4" / 185 lbs
George has solidified himself as the best player on a team with two other high-level guards who helped Baylor win the 2021 NCAA Tournament. At 6-4, he has respectable size for his position and the ability to shot-create in late shot-clock situations and make jumpers from deep, which is obviously valuable in today's NBA.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Arkansas • Fr • 6'5" / 185 lbs
Smith has only played five games for the Razorbacks this season reportedly because of a knee issue. That's not ideal for Arkansas — but isn't the type of minor thing that has ever kept someone as talented as this 6-5 guard from being selected in the top 10 of an NBA Draft.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Cam Whitmore SF
Villanova • Fr • 6'6" / 235 lbs
Whitmore is similar to Walker in the sense that he just doesn't look like a typical teenager. He's an explosive athlete who shoots it well enough from 3-point range to make him a lock for the top-10 of this draft even if Villanova is having a disappointing season.
From Los Angeles Lakers
Round 1 - Pick 9
Imagine having twins and both of them developing into NBA Draft lottery picks. His brother is considered the slightly better prospect, but the Thompson twins are similar and potentially special at the next level.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Gradey Dick SF
Kansas • Fr • 6'6" / 204 lbs
Wing-shooting has never been more important in the NBA than it is right now. Dick is a wing with great size who is shooting above 40% from 3-point range for one of the great programs in the sport that has a chance to win back-to-back national titles.
From Chicago Bulls
Round 1 - Pick 11
Ohio State • Fr • 6'6" / 235 lbs
Sensabaugh was only ranked as the 65th-best prospect in the Class of 2022, which suggests he was never supposed to be a one-and-done first-round pick. But the 6-6 wing has been tremendous since enrolling at Ohio State, where's averaging more than 17 points and shooting better than 47% from the field.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Jett Howard SG
Michigan • Fr • 6'8" / 215 lbs
Multiple former NBA players told me Howard was the best NBA prospect at last year's Iverson Classic even though he was ranked outside of the top 40 of the Class of 2022. Everything that's happened since then suggests the former NBA players were closer to right than wrong.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Duke • Fr • 7'0" / 230 lbs
Filipowski is a 6-11 big who is an elite rebounder and comfortable 3-point shooter. At this point, he's the best NBA prospect in Duke's top-ranked recruiting class.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Connecticut • Soph • 6'4" / 186 lbs
Hawkins has developed into a dynamic scorer who could help UConn compete for a trip to the Final Four. He's a wing with size who is shooting above 40% from 3-point range on more than seven attempts per game.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Arkansas • Fr • 6'6" / 210 lbs
Black is only a reliable jumper away from being a lottery pick. The 6-7 guard is an interesting playmaker on the wing who has been the Razorbacks' best freshman in the absence of Smith making any notable impact.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Indiana • Fr • 6'4" / 217 lbs
Hood-Schifino is a combo guard with size who can shoot. He's been up and down for an up-and-down Indiana team for much of this season but still projects as a quality NBA player for many years to come.
From Dallas Mavericks
Round 1 - Pick 17
South Carolina • Fr • 6'8" / 214 lbs
Jackson reclassified and enrolled at South Carolina, ensuring he'd be the latest one-and-done lottery pick to play a mostly insignificant season of college hoops. Still, the 6-9 18-year-old is immensely talented and worthy of being picked in the lottery.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Kentucky • Fr • 6'3" / 195 lbs
Wallace's back issues this season have caused a concern, if only because they're unusual for a player his age. Still, his potential to be a two-way lead guard is intriguing, especially considering he's shooting above 40% from 3-point range for a big-brand SEC program.
From New York Knicks
Round 1 - Pick 19
Duke • Fr • 6'6" / 217 lbs
Whitehead suffered a lower-leg injury in January that reportedly looked scarier than it actually is. When he'll return is unclear but his athleticism and potential is easy to see and why he'll likely go in the first round regardless of the fact that he's had an underwhelming freshman season to date.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Pepperdine • Soph • 6'7" / 207 lbs
Lewis has developed into a big-time scorer and reliable 3-pointer shooter in his second season in the West Coast Conference. He projects as a nice 3-and-D prospect.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Kris Murray PF
Iowa • Jr • 6'8" / 213 lbs
Murray's twin brother (Keegan Murray) developed into a top-five pick at Iowa. This Murray won't quite do that but has still shown enough as a versatile two-way player to be selected in this draft.
Round 1 - Pick 22
There's not a franchise in the NBA that isn't in the market for a wing with size who can guard multiple positions and make 3-pointers. Rupert appears capable of doing those things.
From Phoenix Suns
Round 1 - Pick 23
Houston • Sr • 6'2" / 195 lbs
Any lead guard who can create scoring opportunities off the bounce, guard his position and make perimeter jumpers is an obvious NBA prospect. He might be a high-floor/low-ceiling prospect, but at this point in any draft teams should be thrilled to simply find a player who will stick.
Round 1 - Pick 24
NC State • Soph • 6'3" / 163 lbs
If Smith were a pure point guard he'd go 10 spots higher than this. As it is, he's a lesser prospect but still worthy of a first-round prick because he's an instant-offense scorer and ever-improving passer who projects as a rotation player as long as he shows he's not too much of a defensive liability.
From Philadelphia 76ers
Round 1 - Pick 25
UCLA • Sr • 6'6" / 226 lbs
Jaquez is a little older and a tad less-athletic than most first-round picks — but he just knows how to play basketball. Franchises that focus on that will be glad they did and likely get a steal near the bottom of the first round.
From Cleveland Cavaliers
Round 1 - Pick 26
Dayton • Soph • 6'9" / 221 lbs
Holmes is a great example of how a top-100 high school prospect can enroll at a non-power-conference school and still remain on NBA franchises' radars. He's a 6-10 big with a jumper that has improved in two years at Dayton.
Round 1 - Pick 27
UCF • Fr • 6'8" / 214 lbs
Hendricks is arguably the most out-of-nowhere prospect in college considering he was only ranked 67th in the Class of 2022, according to 247Sports. His ability to shoot from both the free throw line and 3-point line is an indicator that he'll be a shooter in the NBA.
From Milwaukee Bucks
Round 1 - Pick 28
Duke • Fr • 7'1" / 230 lbs
Lively's likely only season at Duke hasn't been great — but he's been better lately. The 7-foot center isn't a modern big but his ability to alter shots and catch lobs at the rim is still valuable.
From Denver Nuggets
Round 1 - Pick 29
Miller is a wing with tremendous size who has shown he can play on or off the ball. His shot is the swing-skill that'll determine whether he was a good or bad pick at this point in the draft.
From Boston Celtics
Round 1 - Pick 30
Virginia • Jr • 6'2" / 190 lbs
Beekman can play either backcourt spot and also guard his position. His 3-point percentage being above 40% suggests he'll be a reliable shooter at the next level.