Welcome to the third mock draft simulation for the 2023 NBA Draft, where we mock the first 14 picks based on a simulation of the lottery results. We’ve already seen the Trail Blazers and Rockets land the No. 1 pick in our previous simulations. Here’s how our third mock draft looks, with simulation results courtesy of Tankathon.com.
2023 NBA Draft lottery results and picks
1. Charlotte Hornets - Victor Wembanyama, France
There are reports Michael Jordan is exploring a sale of the Hornets, and this would certainly bump up the price tag. Charlotte has plenty of fun players offensively, but none would rival Wembanyama. He’d fit with LaMelo Ball in a fast-paced offense, while anchoring things defensively with Mark Williams. Charlotte’s rebuild would immediately take a quantum leap forward.
2. Houston Rockets - Brandon Miller, Alabama
The Rockets already have some guards they believe in, so Henderson is probably not the preferred choice. Houston already showed it has no problem with controversial figures after hiring Ime Udoka to be the team’s head coach, so grabbing Miller is no problem. He’s a better basketball fit for the Rockets at this point, who believe they can take a bigger jump than many expect in 2023-24.
3. San Antonio Spurs - Scoot Henderson, G-League Ignite
The Spurs happily grab Henderson at No. 3. He’ll be the leader for them on both sides of them on both sides of the ball eventually, but the Spurs do have some talent on the roster with Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson. Henderson will take pressure of them as San Antonio starts to move into the second part of the rebuilding phase.
4. Detroit Pistons - Jarace Walker, Houston
This is more bad luck for the Pistons, who had the worst record in the league but didn’t win the lottery in any of our simulations. They stick with Walker, who adds to their frontcourt logjam a bit but might be the best fit of the players remaining. The Pistons need to see how all their young guys work together, and Walker can cover a lot of their presumed defensive deficiencies immediately.
5. Portland Trail Blazers - Taylor Hendricks, UCF
This might be a bit of a reach, but the Blazers probably move Jusuf Nurkic at some point. Hendricks doesn’t exactly replace him in the middle, but he provides more versatility for Portland at that position. The fit with Jerami Grant will be smoother, especially if Hendricks can develop some type of consistent midrange shot.
6. Orlando Magic - Ausar Thompson, Overtime Elite
The Magic don’t really have a pressing need, so they could trade out of this pick for a veteran. Thompson makes sense as a switchable option defensively who can start off on the second unit and potentially close games. Orlando’s plan is starting to come together, and next season could have the team in play-in contention.
7. Indiana Pacers - Cam Whitmore, Villanova
There are a lot of good options for the Pacers here, but Whitmore likely gives them the best positional fit. He can be the backup for Buddy Hield at the swing spot and grow into his role with the likes of Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte on the second unit.
8. Washington Wizards - Gradey Dick, Kansas
The Wizards could easily go with Amen Thompson or Anthony Black here, but Dick provides them with more shooting on the perimeter immediately. Washington has plans to contend, and Dick provides the most immediate impact while carrying some upside as a creator overall.
9. Utah Jazz- Amen Thompson, Overtime Elite
The Jazz happily grab the other Thompson here after a slight fall for him due to positional needs. Utah is in a rebuild and can simply acquire talent before figuring out fit later, which is good news for this versatile wing.
10. Dallas Mavericks - Jordan Hawkins, UConn
We’ll see what the Mavericks end up doing with Kyrie Irving, but they could use another perimeter presence with defensive upside. Hawkins has experience playing on the biggest stages, which is something the Mavericks would like given their expectations.
11. Orlando Magic (via Bulls) - Jalen Hood-Schifino, Indiana
This is another spot where the Magic have several options. Hood-Schifino would be an excess piece on their current roster, but they could absolutely move things around after the fact. He would improve their second unit immediately as a lead guard and has some upside as a shooter Orlando could use.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder - Anthony Black, Arkansas
The Thunder are in a fluid situation and could use help in their backcourt on the second unit. Black is a raw prospect in that regard and has a lot to work on, but this is probably the best spot for him to grow into a bigger role later on.
13. Toronto Raptors - Keyonte George, Baylor
The Raptors might lose Gary Trent Jr. in free agency, and George would be a near like-for-like replacement in the short term. The Baylor guard doesn’t quite have the marksmanship the Raptors would want from him yet, but he’ll be in a good situation to learn with veteran players who have championship experience.
14. New Orleans Pelicans - Cason Wallace, Kentucky
The Pelicans could use an attacking point guard who will create for others. Wallace still needs to work on being a strong facilitator, but he’s an aggressive guard who will fit well in New Orleans’ offense. Everything with this franchise hinges on Zion Williamson’s return, but Wallace does provide some upside for the Pelicans at 14.