NBA | Jun 28, 2023

NBA Draft 2023: Recap & Analysis

By Harry Bazley

USATSI 20933089

The 2023 NBA Draft has come to a close, with the next generation of talent set to take the league by storm. Plenty of the top predictions came through, but some surprise picks turned the draft board on its head.

Today, we're going to run through the No.1 overall selection, along with the best and worst picks from draft night and provide a full recap of both rounds.

No.1 Overall Pick: Victor Wembanyama - Spurs

It was no shock to see the 7-foot-4 center go as the No.1 overall pick. The French superstar center has been at the top prospect of every mock draft since declaring his eligibility earlier this year. With an incredible 8-foot wingspan, and praise comparable to LeBron James, he's set to make a huge impact for the Spurs next season.

But he's not just physically gifted... Wembanyama displays remarkable defensive and offensive skills. His performance in France has been nothing short of astounding, but he's shown that he can convert his talent to the American courts. The hype around him peaked in October last year when he put up a pair of performances against the Ignite in the NBA G-League - posting a ridiculous 73 points in 70 minutes.

Wembanyama also hasn't missed a beat since returning to France, but it's clear he'll be playing a different style of basketball in the NBA. His coach, Vincent Collet, said this was already expected due to the shorter 3-point line and higher physicality in Europe.

Defense is different [in the United States]. He has more room in the G League game. And probably the referees are protecting more. Sometimes they grab him in France, so that's something special that didn't happen [in Las Vegas]. I don't think he has to play to make seven threes each game.


If he can stay healthy, Wembanyama is highly likely to become a true NBA star.

Best Pick: Scoot Henderson - Trail Blazers

It may seem boring to choose our favourite pick in the top three, but Portland absolutely nailed this one.

Picking up another top-tier building block alongside Shaedon Sharpe, allows the Blazers to start their rebuilding phase without having to trade away Damian Lillard. Henderson will bring a dynamic athleticism and explosive playmaking ability to the team. He's honed his skills over the last two years in the G League, which should make for a smooth transition into the NBA.

Henderson may only be 6-foot-2 in height, but he plays like a giant on the court. He's a dynamic point guard whose presence is reminiscent of Russell Westbrook. Although Henderson is a strong scorer, he's not the best at shooting, especially from beyond the arc. He needs to work on that, but that'll likely be his go-to in preseason development.

Our bold prediction is that Henderson takes home Rookie of the Year next season. I know all eyes will be on Wembanyama but the role he'll play might not put him in a great spot to bag the award. At 7-foot-4, the Spurs are likely to limit his game and minutes load, while Henderson should start every game of the year and as a point-guard, should contribute to almost every point on the court, if not lead all rookies in scoring. Wins may come further down the road, but for now Portland fans will get the chance to admire his individual talents.

Worst Pick: Jett Howard - Magic

This pick was perhaps the biggest head scratcher of the night...

Sure, Howard is one of the best tough-shot makers on the board, but he is a serious liability on defense. At the 11th overall pick, there were plenty of other shooting guards available that weren't an issue at the other end of the court - like Jordan Hawkins and Gradey Dick. Howard was predicted to go towards the end of round 1 or even fall into round 2, certainly not just outside the top 10.

Full Draft:

Pick Player Team
1 Victor Wembanyama San Antonio Spurs
2 Brandon Miller Charlotte Hornets
3 Scoot Henderson Portland Trail Blazers
4 Amen Thompson Houston Nuggets
5 Ausar Thompson Detroit Pistons
6 Anthony Black Orlando Magic
7 Bilal Coulibaly Washington DC Wizards
8 Jarace Walker Indiana Pacers
9 Taylor Hendricks Utah Jazz
10 Cason Wallace Oklahoma City Thunder
11 Jett Howard Orlando Magic
12 Dereck Lively II Dallas Mavericks
13 Gradey Dick Toronto Raptors
14 Jordan Hawkins New Orleans Pelicans
15 Kobe Bufkin Atlanta Hawks
16 Keyonte George Utah Jazz
17 Jalen Hood-Schifino Los Angeles Lakers
18 Jaime Jaquez Jr Miami Heat
19 Brandin Podziemski Golden State Warriors
20 Cam Whitmore Houston Nuggets
21 Noah Clowney Brooklyn Nets
22 Dariq Whitehead Brooklyn Nets
23 Kris Murray Portland Trail Blazers
24 Olivier-Maxence Prosper Dallas Mavericks
25 Marcus Sasser Detroit Pistons
26 Ben Sheppard Indiana Pacers
27 Nick Smith Charlotte Hornets
28 Brice Sensabaugh Utah Jazz
29 Julian Strawther Denver Nuggets
30 Kobe Brown Los Angeles Clippers
31 James Nnaji Boston Celtics
32 Jalen Pickett Denver Nuggets
33 Leonard Miller Minnesota Timberwolves
34 Colby Jones Sacramento Kings
35 Julian Phillips Chicago Bulls
36 Andre Jackson Milwaukee Bucks
37 Hunter Tyson Denver Nuggets
38 Jordan Walsh Boston Celtics
39 Mouhamed Gueye Charlotte Hornets
40 Maxwell Lewis Los Angeles Lakers
41 Amari Bailey Charlotte Hornets
42 Tristan Vukcevic Washington DC Wizards
43 Rayan Rupert Portland Trail Blazers
44 Sidy Cissoko San Antonio Spurs
45 GG Jackson Memphis Grizzlies
46 Seth Lundy Atlanta Hawks
47 Mojave King Indiana Pacers
48 Jordan Miller Los Angeles Clippers
49 Emoni Bates Cleveland Cavaliers
50 Keyontae Johnson Oklahoma City Thunder
51 Jalen Wilson Brooklyn Nets
52 Toumani Camara Phoenix Suns
53 Jaylen Clark Minnesota Timberwolves
54 Jalen Slawson Sacramento Kings
55 Isaiah Wong Indiana Pacers
56 Tarik Biberovic Memphis Grizzlies
57 Pick Forfeited Chicago Bulls
58 Pick Forfeited Philadelphia 76ers
59 Trayce Jackson-Davis Golden State Warriors
60 Chris Livingston Milwaukee Bucks

(Header Image Credit: Wendell Cruz - USA TODAY Sports)