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With another key pre-draft deadline having passed earlier this week, with that being the NBA's withdrawal deadline, now is a good time to unveil another mock draft. One of the notable names on that withdrawal list was Canadian forward Leonard Miller, who picked up a notable amount of buzz during the pre-draft process. Rather than go through the draft process this summer, the former Fort Erie International standout has instead decided to join the G League Ignite program in hopes of becoming a first-round lock in 2023. Given the impact that G League Ignite has had on draft prospects in its brief history, this is a move that could work out in a big way for Miller come next year.
As for the players who are in this year's draft, Orlando continues to do its due diligence ahead of June 23, working out a host of prospects who are expected to be lottery picks. However, even with this being the case, this still feels like a two-man race to be the first player selected on draft night. Auburn's Jabari Smith and Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren are viewed by many as the top two candidates to go first overall, with Duke's Paolo Banchero pegged to go third. Beyond those three, however, there stands to be a lot of shifting between now and next Thursday night.
1. Orlando: PF Jabari Smith (Auburn)
The 6-foot-10 Smith is viewed as a tantalizing prospect due to his proficiency as a perimeter shooter, and defensively he isn't an awkward player when put in ball-screen situations. The concern is the scoring inside of the arc, as he made less than 45% of his 2-point attempts this past season. Yes, there is work to be done with regard to the ability to create his own shot, but whichever team lands Smith can help him out by pairing him with solid distributors of the basketball. In time, Jalen Suggs could be that player for Smith and the Magic. And with Orlando's rebuild looking like one that will take some time, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have those two develop together.
2. Oklahoma City: PF/C Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)
Like the Magic, the Thunder have gone through the process of working out multiple players who are expected to be off the board by the midway point of the lottery. And Holmgren is one of those talents, with the 7-footer out of Gonzaga having the look of a potential foundation piece for this rebuilding franchise. Will Holmgren need to get stronger? Yes, but that can be said for about 90% of draft prospects, regardless of year. But he can stretch defenses out beyond the 3-point line, a welcome quality when considering the fact that Oklahoma City was dead last in 3-point percentage this season (but 7th in attempts). Add in the defensive ability, and Holmgren stands to be a very good fit in Oklahoma City.
3. Houston: PF Paolo Banchero (Duke)
The fantasy prospects for whoever Houston selects with this pick changed in a big way Wednesday night, as it was reported that Christian Wood will be traded to the Mavericks (the deal will be finalized on draft night). Not only does Wood's exit clear up playing time for Alperen Şengün, but the same can be said for whichever forward is available when the Rockets are on the clock. Banchero is that guy here, and his ability to serve as a playmaker will be big for a team that currently doesn't start a "traditional" lead guard. Banchero will need to get a bit quicker laterally, but he isn't a liability defensively, and the offensive skill set is too much to pass up.
4. Sacramento: SF/PF Keegan Murray (Iowa)
As noted in the prior mock draft, this spot is where things could get really interesting come draft night. If the Kings believe there's a player on the board who can help end their lengthy playoff drought next season, then he'll be selected. If not, this pick could very well be included in a trade that would net Sacramento a veteran who can do so. Murray would be a good option here due to his positional versatility, and it's been reported that both head coach Mike Brown and team governor Vivek Ranadive are fans of his.
5. Detroit: PG/SG Jaden Ivey (Purdue)
The Pistons have some solid young talent to build around, including Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, and Isaiah Stewart. But there is room for another perimeter player who can score on all three levels while also creating opportunities for his teammates, even with Killian Hayes still on the roster. Enter Ivey, an athletic guard who's more than capable of filling that role alongside Cunningham. The former Purdue standout does have to get better defensively, but it isn't as if he was unwilling to do the work on that end of the floor while in college. The aforementioned Murray and Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin could also be options for the Pistons here.
6. Indiana: SG Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)
Mathurin has the combination of size and athleticism needed to fill in at either wing position, and he was a much-improved scorer on all three levels during his sophomore season. Depending upon what happens with Malcolm Brogdon this offseason, as it has been reported that the Pacers would entertain offers for the veteran guard, there could be a spot for Mathurin to step into immediately as a starter. Pairing Mathurin with Tyrese Haliburton would give the Pacers a young and exciting perimeter tandem to build around, and we can't overlook Chris Duarte, either.
7. Portland: SG/PG Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky)
It's been made clear that the Trail Blazers are building around Damian Lillard, as one would expect given his skill set and accomplishments to date. But how much time does the franchise have to rebuild? And would Portland consider trading this pick in exchange for a veteran who can help Lillard right away? Sharpe, who did not play at all after joining the Kentucky program in January, may not fit into a "quick" rebuild. But he is an enticing talent with a great deal of upside. But at this point in the draft, it feels like the guards who are considered to be "wild cards" to a certain extent will be coming off of the board.
8. New Orleans (from LA Lakers): PG/SG Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite)
Daniels is the other "wild card" in this scenario, as he's considered to be further along as a defender at this stage in his career. With the addition of C.J. McCollum at the trade deadline, adding guards who can play without the ball in their hands would not be the worst idea given New Orleans' high-usage offensive options (Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and Jonas Valanciunas will also need their touches). And given the Pelicans' depth, the team can afford to be patient with a player like Daniels.
9. San Antonio: C Jalen Duren (Memphis)
At first glance, the Spurs aren't lacking depth at the center position. Jakob Poeltl is in the starting role, while Zach Collins and Jock Landale have partially guaranteed deals for next season. But Poeltl is heading into the final season of his deal, so adding a young big man could be something that the Spurs consider since they have three first-round picks. Enter Duren, an athletic center who does the majority of his damage on both ends of the floor in the paint. He runs the floor well and is also a good rim protector, but the inconsistent effort has been an issue at times. San Antonio would be a good spot for him to land, between the presence of Gregg Popovich and the way in which the team makes use of its G League affiliate.
10. Washington: SG Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)
With Bradley Beal's pending free agency (he's opting out of the final season of his current contract, of course) being the biggest storyline for the Wizards this summer, it would not come as a surprise if the team decided that it needs to make a big move on draft night. If Washington stays put, adding a perimeter scorer who can play off of Beal would be a good idea. Davis would fit that mold, but he does need to become a more consistent perimeter shooter. The Wizards do need to address the point guard position this summer, regardless of what happens with Beal, but the best options in this draft class may already be gone by the time Washington is on the clock.
11. New York: SF Ousmane Dieng (New Zealand Breakers)
The Knicks are in need of a point guard, something that's been said about the franchise for quite some time now. With that being the case, would the team entertain the possibility of trading this pick in an attempt to shore up that position? If New York holds onto this pick Dieng wouldn't fit that mold, but the improvement that he showed as a scorer during the latter portion of this past season was encouraging. He will need to be a more consistent player on that end of the floor but, in New York, he would not be in a position where he'd be asked to do too much on the wing right away.
12. Oklahoma City (from LA Clippers): PF Jeremy Sochan (Baylor)
Sochan's defensive versatility is his biggest selling point at this stage in his development, but there is a lot of work to be done offensively. Landing with the Thunder would put the former Baylor forward in a place where he wouldn't lack opportunities to make mistakes in game situations, as Oklahoma city's rebuild is going to take some time. It's likely that Oklahoma City will select a frontcourt player with the second overall pick, and Darius Bazley, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl are already on the roster. But that should not be a concern here given the defensive tools that Sochan brings to the table.
13. Charlotte: PG/SG Malaki Branham (Ohio State)
Charlotte does have LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, which affords new head coach Kenny Atkinson the ability to stagger their minutes to ensure that one of them is on the court at all times. But there is still a need for another perimeter contributor, especially one capable of playing on or off the ball. Branham still has some strides to make as a creator for others, but he's capable of scoring on all three levels right now. Add in the fact that he measured out at 6-foot-5, 180 pounds, and the former Ohio State guard has the size needed to fill that combo role.
14. Cleveland: SF A.J. Griffin (Duke)
Griffin slips a bit in comparison to the second mock draft, but he remains a likely lottery pick. He's got good size for an NBA wing, but the true selling point here is Griffin's ability to knock down shots. He shot nearly 45% from three on 4.1 attempts per game this past season, and the free-throw percentage (79.2%) is another sign that Griffin's perimeter shooting ability will translate to the pro level. While Cleveland doesn't lack for bodies on the wing, those options didn't offer much in the way of consistent 3-point shooting. And when you play a lineup as big as the Cavaliers did for much of this season, that is an area that must be addressed.
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15. Charlotte (from New Orleans): C Mark Williams (Duke)
With Mason Plumlee's contract for next season not fully guaranteed, Montrezl Harrell set to be a free agent this summer, and Nick Richards not doing much in his first two seasons, Charlotte doesn't boast the most impressive group of centers heading into the draft. And in this spot, it's possible that the Hornets will be able to add an impressive talent who also fills a need. Williams, the ACC's best defender this season, averaged 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game for the Blue Devils. Having two picks this high in the draft could also make Charlotte a team to watch with regard to possible trades.
16. Atlanta: SF Ochai Agbaji (Kansas)
The Hawks have been one of the teams mentioned in trade rumors, with there being a clear desire to strengthen the options around point guard Trae Young. As a result, there's no guarantee that this pick will belong to Atlanta on draft night. However, if no trade is made, then Atlanta could do a lot worse in this spot than Agbaji. The national champion made strides offensively throughout his Kansas career, and he was able to take on a variety of defensive assignments from the day that he arrived on campus. The Hawks did have a logjam of sorts on the wing before the Cam Reddish trade, but De'Andre Hunter's injury history may be a factor in the team's decision to select a player like Agbaji on draft night.
17. Houston (from Brooklyn): PG/SG TyTy Washington (Kentucky)
Washington was used both on and off the ball during his lone season at Kentucky, with his late-season struggles occurring in large part as a result of his not being healthy. Houston, which handed the keys to Kevin Porter Jr. for much of this season, may be willing to go with a "project" here, especially if that player can offer more as a lead guard. And even if Houston is "all in" on Porter as its point guard of the future, there is still the need to improve the options behind him.
18. Chicago: SF/PF Tari Eason (LSU)
While Eason has strides to make as a perimeter shooter, he scored well inside of the arc and was also one of the SEC's best defensive players. Some may wonder why Chicago would do this when they still have a former lottery pick, Patrick Williams, on the roster. For one, you can never have too many versatile forwards that are capable of defending either position. Also of note here was the fact that Williams missed a large chunk of this season due to a wrist injury, which left Chicago very light at that position. If Eason can make strides as a perimeter shooter, this will turn out to be a solid value pick for the Bulls.
19. Minnesota: PG/SG Blake Wesley (Notre Dame)
The Timberwolves don't lack point guards at present time, but the contract situations of those players may influence Tim Connelly's thinking in this draft. D'Angelo Russell and Patrick Beverley will both be unrestricted free agents next summer, and Jordan McLaughlin's contract for 2023-24 is only partially guaranteed. At 6-foot-5, 185 pounds, Wesley has good size for a point guard, and he's capable of playing off the ball as well. He will need to improve the perimeter shooting and decision-making, and being able to learn from the veteran guards on Minnesota's roster should help with the latter.
20. San Antonio (from Toronto): SG/SF Jalen Williams (Santa Clara)
Williams improved throughout his three seasons at Santa Clara, developing into a versatile scoring option who can also be used at multiple positions defensively. Boasting a 7-foot-2 wingspan, the combination of length and athleticism makes Williams a player who's likely to be a top-20 pick next week. San Antonio doesn't lack for wings on its roster, but it would be incredibly difficult to pass on Williams if he's still on the board.
21. Denver: SF/PF Nikola Jovic (Mega Mozzart)
Denver traded one of its veteran forwards this week, sending JaMychal Green to Oklahoma City as part of a deal that netted the Nuggets the 30th overall pick (this will be finalized on draft night). Having a healthy Michael Porter Jr. would help more than anything as Denver looks to work its way back into contention in the West, but there would still be a need to improve the second unit. Jovic does have some strides to make defensively, but he is comfortable playing on the perimeter offensively. This all being said, with Denver now having two first-round picks, there could be the flexibility to make another move on draft night.
22. Memphis (from Utah): PG Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee)
Backup point guard Tyus Jones likely earned himself some money in free agency this summer, be it in Memphis or elsewhere. Selecting Chandler, who was excellent in his lone season at Tennessee, would offer the Grizzlies some cover just in case Jones' asking price gets a little too steep. He isn't the biggest point guard, but Chandler's ability to create shots for himself and his teammates should not be overlooked. Also, he shot better than 38% from three on nearly four attempts per game. Five of Memphis' top eight players in 3-point attempts per game this season shot 34.4% or worse from beyond the arc, so this is an area where Chandler could potentially help one of the NBA's rising teams.
23. Philadelphia: PF E.J. Liddell (Ohio State)
It's been reported that the 76ers have been gauging trade interest in multiple players, including Tobias Harris, and this pick. If Philadelphia does not trade this pick, then Liddell would certainly be worthy of consideration. He shot 37.4% from three on nearly four attempts per game this season, and the free-throw percentage (76.5%) is another indication that Liddell can be an effective perimeter shooter at the NBA level. Something else that shouldn't be overlooked is his defensive ability, as Liddell blocked 2.6 shots per game. Liddell may be considered to be small by conventional power forward standards, but he has the length and defensive instincts required to make up for that.
24. Milwaukee: C Walker Kessler (Auburn)
Kessler was an elite rim protector during his lone season at Auburn, and he was also able to do more offensively than he did as a freshman at North Carolina. While the Bucks will have Brook Lopez back in the fold after he missed much of this season due to a back injury, there's a need for more depth in the post. Serge Ibaka, who was a midseason addition, will be a free agent, and Bobby Portis has a player option. Even if Portis does opt in to the final season of his contract, he's more of a power forward/center than a true pivot. Adding Kessler to the mix would give the Bucks another quality rim protector, which would help the team's perimeter defenders as well.
25. San Antonio (from Boston): PG/SG Dalen Terry (Arizona)
With Terry spending much of his two seasons at Arizona playing off the ball, it does not feel like we got to see all that he can do offensively. He had the ball in his hands a lot as a high school standout, so the potential is certainly there for him to be that kind of player as a pro. The combination of length and athleticism served Terry well defensively, making it possible for him to defend all three perimeter positions. As noted above, San Antonio has a host of young players capable of playing multiple positions on the perimeter, but Terry may be too good to pass up at this point.
26. Houston (from Dallas): SF MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite)
Consistency is the key for Beauchamp, who has shown flashes as both a scorer and defender. The 21-year-old wing can get to his spots off the dribble, and the effort that he puts in has never been an issue, and his length will help on the defensive end of the floor. With Houston in the midst of a rebuild, landing with the Rockets would give Beauchamp the opportunity to sharper his skills at a "comfortable" pace. What would also help here is the Rockets' successful G League affiliate, which affords young players the opportunity to get more game reps if the playing time in the NBA is lacking.
27. Miami: SF Caleb Houstan (Michigan)
It was reported before the NBA Draft Combine in May that Houstan had a first-round promise, hence his decision to not participate. Is this the case? And if so, which team made the promise? That is anyone's guess at this point. Houstan is a better shooter than he showed during his lone season at Michigan, and he's a solid defender as well. Given how the Heat were searching for answers during the Eastern Conference Finals, with Tyler Herro being a defensive liability when healthy and Duncan Robinson essentially being deemed unplayable due to his own defensive issues, Houstan could be a fit here.
28. Golden State: SF/PF Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest)
The Warriors are in an interesting spot, due to the amount of money that the team is already spending on current contracts. Will they want to hold onto this pick, especially with rotation players Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II set to hit free agency (the team does hold Looney's Bird rights)? If Golden State is willing to take on a guaranteed salary in this spot, LaRavia could be the guy. His versatility on both ends of the floor was a big reason why Wake Forest was one of the ACC's most improved teams, as he can score on multiple levels and defend multiple positions.
29. Memphis: SG Jaden Hardy (G League Ignite)
Similar to G League Ignite teammate Beauchamp, consistency is the key for Hardy with regard to his chances of being a successful NBA player. While he can be a player who scores in bunches, Hardy was a bit streaky as far as the accuracy is concerned. And as one would expect of many players his age, decision-making was also an area in which Hardy showed that there was room for growth. While Memphis did rank fifth in the NBA in offensive rating this season, the team ranked 17th in 3-point percentage. Even with Hardy's struggles in the G League he can knock down shots, and adding another shooter would only help star point guard Ja Morant moving forward.
30. Denver (from Oklahoma City via Phoenix): PG Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga)
In the aftermath of the Nuggets acquiring this pick from the Thunder, it was reported that Denver could be targeting a point guard, and the team was also entertaining trade conversations involving Monte Morris. Nembhard would certainly fit the point guard mold, as he had the best season of his college career in 2021-22. Starting all 32 games that he appeared in, the former Gonzaga guard averaged 11.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 3-pointers in 32.2 minutes per game. Nembhard shot better than 38% from three and 87.3% from the foul line, and the ability to knock down perimeter shots is key due to the attention that opposing defenses pay two-time MVP Nikola Jokić.
31. Indiana (from Houston via Cleveland): SG/SF Christian Braun (Kansas)
32. Orlando: PG/SG Trevor Keels (Duke)
33. Toronto (from Detroit via San Antonio, Washington, and Chicago): SF Peyton Watson (UCLA)
34. Oklahoma City: PF/C David Roddy (Colorado State)
35. Orlando (from Indiana via Milwaukee): SG/SF Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke)
36. Portland: SF Kendall Brown (Baylor)
37. Sacramento: SF Bryce McGowens (Nebraska)
38. San Antonio (from Los Angeles Lakers via Chicago and Washington): C Christian Koloko (Arizona)
39. Cleveland (from San Antonio via Utah): SF/PF Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee)
40. Minnesota (from Washington via Cleveland): SG Ryan Rollins (Toledo)
41. New Orleans: SG Max Christie (Michigan State)
42. New York: PG/SG Hugo Besson (New Zealand Breakers)
43. LA Clippers: SF/PF Justin Lewis (Marquette)
44. Atlanta: C Khalifa Diop (Gran Canaria)
45. Charlotte: C Jaylin Williams (Arkansas)
46. Detroit (from Brooklyn): PG JD Davison (Alabama)
47. Memphis (from Cleveland via New Orleans and Atlanta): PG/SG Jean Montero (Overtime Elite)
48. Minnesota: PF/C Dominick Barlow (Overtime Elite)
49. Sacramento (from Chicago via Memphis and Detroit): PF Josh Minott (Memphis)
50. Minnesota (from Denver via Philadelphia): C Trevion Williams (Purdue)
51. Golden State (from Toronto via Philadelphia): C Ismael Kamagate (Paris)
52. New Orleans (from Utah): SG Dereon Seabron (NC State)
53. Boston: PF Michael Foster Jr. (G League Ignite)
54. Milwaukee (forfeited)
55. Miami (from Philadelphia via Denver; forfeited by Miami)
56. Washington (from Dallas): SG Gabriele Procida (Fortitudo Bologna)
57. Golden State: PF Moussa Diabate (Michigan)
58. Cleveland (from Miami via Indiana): C Yannick Nzosa (Unicaja Malaga)
59. Portland (from Memphis via Utah): SF Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers)
60. Indiana (from Phoenix): PG/SG Alondes Williams (Wake Forest)