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NBA mock draft 2023 1.0: Blazers win lottery, pair Victor Wembanyama with Damian Lillard

Here’s our first mock for the 2023 NBA Draft.

Levallois Met 92 v Strasbourg - LNB Pro A
Victor Wembanyama of Metropolitans 92 looks on during the Betclic Elite match between Metropolitans 92 and Strasbourg on April 08, 2023 in Levallois-Perret, France.
Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Fourteen of the 30 NBA franchises are not involved in the postseason, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a few interesting months ahead. The first big step for these teams will be the NBA lottery, which will set up the order for the 2023 NBA Draft. Here’s our first mock of the how the 2023 lottery and draft will go. The lottery simulation is courtesy of Tankathon.

2023 NBA Draft lottery results and picks

1. Portland Trail Blazers - Victor Wembanyama, France

Talk about patience paying off for Damian Lillard. The Blazers winning the lottery would change the entire trajectory of this franchise. The short-term outlook improves significantly, as Lillard would get a true secondary scoring threat to work with while Wembanyama has a potentially strong long-term fit with Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe.

2. Detroit Pistons - Brandon Miller, Alabama

The Pistons miss out on Wembanyama but do get a strong wing scorer in Miller. After dealing Saddiq Bey at the deadline, this is a need for Detroit and the Pistons already have two solid guards in Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham. Miller has all the skills to be an excellent NBA player, but the Pistons will need some explanation on his off-court actions and how he has learned from them.

3. San Antonio Spurs - Scoot Henderson, G-League Ignite

The Spurs took two guards in the first round of last year’s draft, but they’re going to be adding one here they believe can be the franchise player. Henderson gets to learn under arguably the best player development staff in the league, while San Antonio lands another big piece in its rebuild.

4. Indiana Pacers - Gradey Dick, Kansas

This is an interesting spot for the Pacers, who don’t really have pressing needs at point guard or center. The swing spots aren’t exactly sore thumbs either, so Indiana could actually trade this pick. Assuming the Pacers stay in this spot, Dick makes a lot of sense as an all-around player who can lead a bench unit immediately.

5. Houston Rockets - Jarace Walker, Houston

The Rockets really get hosed in this simulation. Walker isn’t really the type of player Houston is trying to integrate into this system, but the Rockets are undergoing a coaching change and will need to add some players who can make an impact anywhere. Being a hometown guy doesn’t hurt either. Look for Walker to get picked here.

6. Charlotte Hornets - Ausar Thompson, Overtime Elite

The Hornets do need another playmaker alongside LaMelo Ball, which makes Thompson a good candidate here. He’s a solid all-around contributor, and his defensive upside will make him a strong fit next to Ball. The Hornets are eventually going to need these young players to deliver meaningful minutes, and Thompson will be another one of those pieces.

7. Orlando Magic - Jordan Hawkins, UConn

This is a spot where the Magic can go in several directions. With Paolo Banchero and Markelle Fultz already set as creators, it makes sense for Orlando to add another perimeter scoring. Enter Hawkins, who is coming off a tremendous season for the national champions.

8. Washington Wizards - Anthony Black, Arkansas

The Wizards could go with Amen Thompson here as well, although Black offers more upside as a scorer. The Arkansas guard has also gone up against more formidable competition to this point, though the results have been mixed.

9. Utah Jazz - Amen Thompson, Overtime Elite

Thompson really took a big step as a creator in the postseason, dropping 9.2 assists per game. The Jazz, who need another backcourt piece, will jump at the chance to add the combo guard.

10. Dallas Mavericks - Cam Whitmore, Villanova

The Mavericks have had success with Villanova players before, so they’ll go to that spot again and select Whitmore. He’s got upside as a wing scorer, something Dallas desperately needs with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving seemingly set to the be the backcourt pairing.

11. Oklahoma City Thunder - Gregory Jackson, South Carolina

The Thunder should really think about trading this pick for immediate help, but Jackson makes sense if Oklahoma City doesn’t move out of this spot. The young forward is a strong scorer and should fit well next to Chet Holmgren.

12. Orlando Magic (via Bulls) - Keyonte George, Baylor

Adding Hawkins wasn’t enough for the Magic, who take George as well to stock up on perimeter threats. The Baylor guard had a rough ending to his season with two NCAA tournament stinkers, but closed the regular season strong in the Big 12 and has a lot of scoring upside.

13. Toronto Raptors - Jalen Hood-Schifino, Indiana

With Toronto’s backcourt in a flux, the Raptors should go for some stability with Hood-Schifino. He’s a great backup for Fred VanVleet in the immediate term while potentially starting with him as the season progresses.

14. New Orleans Pelicans - Cason Wallace, Kentucky

The Pelicans can use point guard depth, and Wallace showed enough in his time with Kentucky to merit being taken here. New Orleans has plenty of scoring, so pushing Wallace to be more of a playmaker will be the key to him fitting in this system.