Who NBA Teams Should Target this Draft

With the NBA Draft right around the corner, basketball fans all around the world are buzzing with excitement about the next wave of young talent entering the league.

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By Carmen Gomez-Villalva

The NBA Draft Lottery ended one of the most anticipated mysteries of 2023: where Victor Wembanyama would end up. The San Antonio Spurs seem to have won the lottery of all lotteries with the first pick in the draft, but there remains an abundance of skill past the generational prospect. With the draft right around the corner, basketball fans all around the world are buzzing with excitement about the next wave of young talent entering the league. Every year, the draft serves as a platform for teams to rebuild and reshape their rosters. With so many great options to choose from, we present to you the potential top picks of the 2023 NBA draft.

1. San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama

“With the first pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs select Victor Wembanyama from Nanterre, France” are words we will almost certainly hear from Adam Silver on June 22. Standing at a towering seven-foot-three with an eight-foot wingspan, Metropolitans 92’s Victor Wembanyama is widely regarded by fans as one of the greatest prospects the NBA has ever seen. ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski even said Wembanyama might just be “the greatest prospect in the history of team sports.” Wembanyama is essentially a guard in a center’s body: He can knock down the three-ball from a few feet beyond the arc but also boasts elite ball handling and glimpses of good passing ability. With his freakishly long frame and athleticism, he has the potential to become the NBA’s best defender. With all this said, Wembanyama’s ridiculously high draft stock also comes with a lot of pressure. But based on how he has handled the media attention these past years, the pressure seems to be where he thrives. The Spurs will definitely look forward to drafting another center with their first pick following the legacies that David Robinson and Tim Duncan left behind.

2. Charlotte Hornets: Scoot Henderson

In 95 percent of draft classes, G-League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson would be the consensus first overall draft pick. Unfortunately, sharing the same class as Wembayana puts Henderson into that five percent. The six-foot-two guard with a six-foot-nine wingspan has been a monster for the G-League Ignite, averaging 16.5 points and nearly seven assists per game. Being a generational athlete, Henderson is an adequate defender who has a quick first step, allowing him to blow by defenders with ease. Additionally, he looks to get the rest of his team involved, being a great playmaker and allowing the offensive game to flow swiftly. Henderson is regarded as one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the draft, as he spent two years in the G-League, and any team that would pass on him would be injudicious. While Henderson is an amazing all-around player, he has a few flaws in his offensive game, “When his shot isn’t falling from outside, defenses give him space to shoot and clog driving lanes as a result” NBA analyst Steve Dewald said. With the NBA becoming a three-point shooting league, Henderson shooting sub-30 percent from behind the arc for two consecutive seasons could be a major issue. Additionally, Henderson is averaging 3.4 turnovers a game, which ranks sixth in the G-League. If he can fix these two major flaws, Henderson would be a perfect fit for the Charlotte Hornets.

3. Portland Trail Blazers: Brandon Miller

The six-foot-nine Alabama forward Brandon Miller was a scoring threat from all three levels in his freshman season. He was the nation’s leading freshman scorer at 18.8 points a game while leading the Crimson Tide to a one-seed in the NCAA tournament. Since 2014, the Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard have consistently made the playoffs but have not been able to make it to the finals. With the addition of Miller, the Trail Blazers could either begin a rebuild or try to make something out of Lillard’s last few years. NBA analyst Kyle Irving suggests that the Trail Blazers keep this pick and make something out of Miller’s potential, perhaps allowing him to provide Lillard with some much-needed help. “If the Hornets elect to take Henderson, that would put Miller on a silver platter for a team that desperately needs a wing. Miller would be a seamless fit alongside Lillard, giving the Trail Blazers an immediate contributor who could also become a franchise cornerstone once the seven-time All-Star’s time has passed” Irving said. Even if drafting Miller doesn’t lead to something great while Lillard is around, Miller is capable of feeling the colossal shoes left behind by Lillard and may even surpass his success with Portland. 

All potential lottery picks have the ability to win Rookie of the Year this upcoming season, perhaps giving the 2023 NBA draft class the greatest depth we have seen in years. Guards like Arkansas freshman Anthony Black and Kentucky freshman Cason Wallace boast elite defensive and playmaking ability, and strong cases can be made for them to be picked in the top ten. Bigs such as Houston freshman Jarace Walker and UCF freshman Taylor Hendricks will continue to redefine what it means to be a big man in the NBA. With the draft nearing, teams will look forward to adding tremendous talent to their rosters. This year’s draft features players with incredible upside, each with their strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of who each team decides to pick come draft night, every player will prove themself capable of impacting their team at the next level.