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2023 NBA Draft tracker, with pick-by-pick analysis of selections, trades

The night began, as expected, with the coronation of Victor Wembanyama as the No. 1 pick amid unreasonable expectations for his success. Which he may well surpass.

Then things got interesting.

Throughout the first round we have seen some trades trades — just like we saw a few before the draft even started — and a lot of teams making unexpected selections. It been a franchise changing night.

This 2023 NBA Draft Tracker will have it all: breakdowns of every pick, every trade — complete with an analysis of how that player fits (or doesn’t) with his new surroundings.


1. San Antonio Spurs Victor Wembanyama, 7'3" center, France. The most hyped and scrutinized player to enter the NBA since LeBron James, Wembanyama has done nothing to tarnish his reputation as a franchise cornerstone while leading his French squad to the league finals. He has shown the ability to be a pick-and-roll ball handler who can hit 3s consistently, plus he can drive the rim and finish with authority (check out the video below of a putback dunk on his own missed 3). Beyond that, most scouts believe his incredible defense will be his calling card with the Spurs — he is an incredible shot blocker and rim protector who can step out on a switch and not get torched by the guard. Wembanyama could be the next Tim Duncan in San Antonio. It’s a high bar but he has that potential.

2. Charlotte Hornets Brandon Miller, 6’9 wing, Alabama. He’s everything NBA teams are looking for in a versatile two-way wing — athletic, long, mobile, can create his own shot or catch-and-shoot efficiently (even if he struggled from 3 at the end of the college season, and went 3-of-19 when San Diego State upset Alabama in the tournament). He’s got a good handle and scouts see incredible offensive upside with solid defense. Michael Jordan himself watched Miller work out and made the call, believing the Hornets can develop Miller into a future All-Star and maybe more. Bottom line, the Hornets get a high quality player at a position of need across the league.

3. Portland Trail Blazers Scoot Henderson, 6’2” point guard, G-League Ignite. The real question is will Portland keep Henderson or trade him for players to help Damian Lillard win now. It’s hard to blame the Blazers for wanting to keep him if they do. Henderson has the athleticism of a player who could be a No. 1 pick most seasons and that is where his immense promise lies. Henderson is an explosive, athletic guard with a lightning first step, a guy scouts have compared to Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook in ability to get to the rim and finish — he can score in a variety of ways. He is a force in transition and a good decision maker at speed. Why he slipped to third was scouts were worried about his shot — 27.5% shooting from 3 this season in the G-League — but if that can improve he has the potential to be an elite talent.

4. Houston Rockets Amen Thompson, 6’6” guard, Overtime Elite. Arguably the best, most explosive athlete in this draft (which is saying something with this class). He has an unreal first step coupled with ability to get to the rim and finish. As one might expect, he’s also a force of nature in transition. He makes good decisions with the ball and his future in the league should be as a lead ball handler. However, he’s got no jumper and struggles to score outside about 8 feet, and his defense is aggressive but undisciplined. He has the raw talent to be an All-NBA player if he can develop his skill set, but there is work for Ime Udoka and the Rockets’ staff to do.

5. Detroit Pistons Ausar Thompson, 6’6” wing, Overtime Elite. Ausar had better numbers for Overtime Elite than his twin brother who went one spot ahead of him, and that’s because Ausar has more polish to his game at this point. He’s also got a jump shot, although it is a work in progress. Ausar is not the off-the-chart athlete his brother is, but he’ll be a top 10% athlete in the NBA and with that he thrives in transition. Scouts found it hard to evaluate Overtime prospects because of the competition and style of play, and the question with Ausar is will his jumper improve and will he make good decisions when he comes off a pick and drives the lane. If Monty Williams and the new staff in Detroit can develop him, this will be a great pick.

6. Orlando Magic Anthony Black, 6’6” guard, Arkansas. Black has a lot of fans in NBA front offices because he is competitive without the need to be flashy, and he’s a true point guard with great height and a high basketball IQ (he makes good decisions, particularly in using screens). He’s also a switchable defender. The real question about him is his shot (30.1% from 3 last season) but if the Magic can develop that then they have a solid piece to their rotation for a decade, someone who can play next to and create with Paolo Banchero.

We have a trade:

The Indiana Pacers will make the pick at No. 7 — taking Bilal Coulibaly, Wembanyama’s teammate in France — and trading him to the Washington Wizards for the No. 8 pick in the draft plus two second rounders. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news. It remains the stupidest thing in the NBA that we all know about the trade but the players have to go through the charade of wearing the wrong hat on stage because the trade has yet to become official.

7. Washington Wizards Bilal Coulibaly, 6’7”wing, France. Scouts flocked to watch the Metropolitans 92 to see Wembanyama and left liking Coulibaly a lot, too. Nobody has shot up draft boards as fast in the past few months. He is a two-way wing who plays a high IQ game, has a fluid but explosive athleticism, and he has great potential as a defender. He needs a lot of polish and experience, and the risk is that he never really develops that and makes the impact he is capable of. However, the upside is so high for him this is a good gamble by a rebuilding Wizards team.

8. Indiana Pacers Jarace Walker, 6’8” forward, Houston. Officially selected by the Wizards, but see the trade note above. He comes with an NBA body and is one of the better defenders in this draft, which is why he is going in the lottery. He can be a rim-protecting four, the concern is his jump shot — he hit 34.7% from 3 for the Cougars, but his shot mechanics gives scouts pause. If he can develop a reliable jumper, he becomes the kind of rim-protecting, floor-spacing fours that are highly coveted around the NBA right now and a great fit for the Pacers and Rick Carlisle.

9. Utah Jazz Taylor Hendricks, 6’8” forward, University of Central Florida. He was a fast climber up draft boards this year for three good reasons. First, he is one of the best defenders in this draft, both on and off ball. Second, he can shoot the 3, hitting 39.4% this season. Third, his size and athleticism give him positional versatility, he can play 3-5 depending on the lineup and need. He should be an interesting fit as a stretch four playing next to Walker Kessler along the Utah front line.

We have a trade:

The Mavericks have been desperate to move the No. 10 pick for some depth to put next to Luka Dončić, and they are sending the pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder along with Davis Bertans, something broken by Shams Charania at The Athletic. Dallas will take over the No. 12 pick and gets two future second round picks for the trouble, they also create a $17 million trade exception to get Luka help later, and they drop enough salary they also will have the full mid-level exception to use at $12.4 million.

10. Oklahoma City Thunder Cason Wallace, 6’3” guard, Kentucky. There’s a long history of guards out of Kentucky who got out from under John Calipari’s system and thrived in the NBA: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tyrese Maxey, De’Aaron Fox, Tyler Herro and the list goes on. Some scouts see the same thing here, Wallace showed good defensive and playmaking skills with the Wildcats (he can be pass first), but does he have the burst and shooting for the next level? Did his playing next to Sahvir Wheeler for much of the season limit him? Did his 11.7 points a game and 34.6% shooting from 3 undersell what he can do in the NBA? Scouts were somewhat split, but the Thunder — the team with Gilgeous-Alexander — liked Wallace enough to trade up and get him.

11. Orlando Magic (via Chicago) Jett Howard, 6’8” wing, Michigan. The son of Michigan legend and former NBA player Juwan Howard (Juwan coached Jett in Ann Arbor). Jett is one of the best shooters in the draft, can knock it down from 3 (36.8% last season), has a nice midrange game, can put the ball on the floor to create space, and Michigan used him in a lot of NBA-style dribble hand-off actions where he thrived. What holds the younger Howard back is defense, or really most aspects of the game outside shooting. He’s not long or athletic by NBA standards and he’s going to have to become a much better defender to stay on the court. But there is potential there for a Magic team loaded with guys who have potential.

12. Dallas Mavericks Dereck Lively II, 7’1” center, Duke. OKC is making the pick as part of the trade above, but he is headed to Dallas. Lively climbed draft boards fast after strong workouts where he looked more dangerous on the offensive end than he showed in Durham (the Mavericks were particularly high on him). Lively’s floor is high because he is an elite defensive prospect who is already accomplished on that end, using a 7’6” wingspan and a natural sense of timing to block 2.5 shots a game last season. He has the mobility to hedge out and play at the level of the ball on picks. The questions were on offense, where some thought he would just be a good rim runner, but his workouts and high school tape showed he has potential as a stretch big. He’s got a place in the NBA with his defense, and if he can develop his outside shot he could be a quality NBA center for a decade or more, someone who can set picks for Luka Dončić and make plays.

13. Toronto Raptors Grady Dick, 6’8” wing, Kansas. A good rule of thumb in the NBA Draft: Take the best shooter. That may well be Dick, who has good size, a quick release and a high release point, and shot 40.3% from beyond the arc for the Jayhawks. He knows how to use the threat of his shot to get to the rim or make strong off-ball cuts. He can come in right now and help Toronto. His ceiling will depend on his defensive development (he was a target in Big Twelve games), he needs work on that end but can be a solid team defender. Also, Dick had either the best or worst fit of the night, depending on how much you like red.

14. New Orleans Pelicans Jordan Hawkins, 6’5” wing, UConn. If the NBA Playoffs showed anything, it is the value of movement shooters in today’s game. Hawkins is arguably the best movement shooter in this draft. Hawkins has a beautiful shot, and the Huskies had him running off screens to create 3s, and that helped fuel UConn’s run to the Final Four. The primary goal with his development will be to add muscle, his lack of strength hurts him both on drives to the rim — his handle improved this season — and on defense. However, he has a very valuable skill and could develop into a rotation player in the league.

15. Atlanta Hawks Kobe Bufkin, 6’4” guard, Michigan. Bufkin returned for an extra year of seasoning in Ann Arbor and in that time developed into a solid combo guard who can play on or off the ball. He had good stats as a sophomore — 14 points and 4.5 rebounds a game, shooting 35.5% from 3 — and because he entered college younger than most of his peers so he is still the same age as many of the one-and-done guys in this draft. He’s a lefty who is good at running the pick-and-roll and plays under control, which gives him an extra gear on drives to get to the rim and finish. He’ll be coming off the bench behind Trae Young and Dejonte Murray

16. Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves) Keyonte George, 6’4” guard, Baylor. George can get the Jazz buckets, but how well he fits in Will Hardy’s system (and how many minutes he gets) will come down to if he can do it efficiently. George tore up the first part of the season for Baylor and showed potential as a three-level scorer who can embrace physicality and get the rim, plus can hit tough shots. However, he shot just 37.6% last season and his decision making is in question. Can his handles and playmaking be developed enough to make him a scorer at the NBA level?

17. Los Angeles Lakers Jalen Hood-Schifino, 6’6” guard, Indiana. The Lakers tried to trade this pick but didn’t find an offer they loved (they could trade Hood-Schifino if things change). One of the more rounded-out games of any guards in the Draft, Hood-Schifino is a quality defender who can help on that end from Day 1 for Darvin Ham. On offense he plays a patient, high-IQ game and doesn’t get rushed. He’s got a good midrange game and sees the floor well. He needs to develop a better 3-point shot to thrive in the NBA (33.3% last season), but he has solid rotation point guard written all over him in a couple of seasons, maybe a quality starter if his game develops.

18. Miami Heat Jaime Jaquez Jr. 6’7” shooting guard, UCLA. A four-year player for the Bruins, he’s the kind of glue guy every coach loves and the Heat find and turn into quality rotation players. He plays a high IQ game, hustles and defends well, and can create his own shot (UCLA leaned on him to do that, he is not an NBA primary scoring option). He understands how to play at different paces. Jaquez Jr. is not an elite NBA level athlete, so he is going to have to develop a better jumper (31.7% from 3 last season) if he is going to stick in the league, but you can be sure Erik Spoelstra will love him.

19. Golden State Warriors Brandin Podziemski, 6’4” guard, Santa Clara. He was a creative scorer asked to take on a lot for the Broncos, then showed at the Draft Combine scrimmages he could get separation and make shots against NBA-level players. He can run an offense and shot 43.8% from 3 last season. He has potential as a backup NBA guard, but the questions are on the defensive end, where there are doubts he can stay in front of NBA PGs or has the size/quickness to guard twos at the NBA level. Not a bad roll of the dice at this spot in the draft for the Warriors, who could use guard depth (at an affordable price, considering their tax bill).

20. Houston Rockets (via Clippers) Cam Whitmore, 6’6” wing, Villanova. A top five talent, he slid down draft boards farther than anyone expected because of concerns about his medicals and the effort he showed in workouts. Maybe this night lights a fire under him. Whitmore is a strong, athletic, 230-pound wing who likes to play bully ball and will physically punish defenders on his drives to the rim, where he knows how to finish. At Villanova he showed he could create a shot for himself and score, but where scouts differ — and Whitmore was a divisive prospect — is his ability to develop as a playmaker for others. His decision-making is spotty. If his feel for the game improves then he becomes a quality playmaker at a position of need in the NBA. However, if he can only score for himself he’s limited.

21. Brooklyn Nets (via Phoenix) Noah Clowney, 6’10” power forward/center, Alabama. He has the potential to develop into the kind of modern NBA four/five teams crave, with strong defensive instincts around the rim and the ability to space the floor on offense. Clowney has good size with his 7’3” wingspan, and showed good defensive instincts. He also was unafraid to shoot the 3, taking 3.3 attempts a game from beyond the arc, but hitting just 28.3% of them. If his body fills out and he can keep his mobility, and hone his 3-point shot, he could become a quality rotation big man. The Nets just need to be patient.

22. Brooklyn Nets Dariq Whitehead, 6’6” wing, Duke. One of the highest-rated recruits in his high school class, there were only flashes of that player last season for the Blue Devils. How much of his regression was due to the foot injury he suffered that limited him at the start of the season (he had to have another surgery on it last month)? Whitehead shot 42.1% from 3 last season, but was not explosive and struggled to finish in the paint or defend. The Nets are rolling the dice that Whitehead can get healthy and return to his high school athletic form, and if he does this could be a steal of a pick.

23. Portland Trail Blazers (via New York) Kris Murray, 6’8” wing, Iowa. The brother of Kings’ standout rookie from last season Keegan Murray, and while Kris does not have the upside of Keegan, he seems destined to be a solid rotation player in the league. He averaged 20 points and 8 boards a game last season for the Hawkeyes, he has NBA size and a fluid athleticism at the wing, he can catch-and-shoot well from 3, and is a player who can help out sooner rather than later in the rotation.

We have a trade:

The Sacramento Kings are sending the No. 24 pick and center Rachaun Holmes to the Dallas Mavericks (who are taking Holmes into the trade exception created earlier in the first round with the Mavericks/Thunder trade. The Kings had wanted to get off Holmes salary.

24. Dallas Mavericks. Oliver-Maxence Prosper, 6’7wing, Marquette. This selection was officially made by the Kings but Prosper is headed to Dallas. He is one of the fastest climbers up team’s boards after a standout NBA Draft Combine and subsequent workouts with teams. He has great size for a wing, including a 7’1” reach, who was asked to be more of a rim protector at Marquette but can be a switchable defender at the NBA level. What held him back was he is not a shot creator on offense (he was the fourth option for the Golden Eagles) but he has shown promise as a guy who can work as a cutter off the ball and a threat in transition. He’s got all the tools to be an NBA rotation wing if the Mavericks can develop him.

We have a trade:

The Boston Celtics acquired the No. 25 pick just a day ago as part of the three-team trade that brought them Kristaps Porzingis. Now the Celtics are flipping this pick to the Detroit Pistons for the No. 31 pick plus multiple future second rounders, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

25. Detroit Pistons Marcus Sasser, 6’1” guard, Houston. The Memphis Grizzlies officially made this pick, but it has already been traded to the Celtics and then the Pistons, so get Sasser when all is said and done. If you believe some players just know how to lead and win, Sasser is your guy — Houston went 67-9 over the last three seasons in games he played. He’s an aggressive, in-your-face defender who was asked to carry a scoring load for the Cougars he will not for the Pistons. He’s got good handles, a nice teardrop floater in the lane and can hit from 3 — 38.4% last season — and may be more consistent as a shooter with the space of the NBA game. Sasser is 22 after four years in college and plays with the confidence of a leader. Not an elite athlete, he can be a ball stopper at points, but has the potential to quickly get minutes for Monty Williams and a young Pistons team as a backup point guard.

26. Indiana Pacers Ben Sheppard, 6’5” wing, Belmont. A four-year player at Belmont, he has NBA length for the two/wing, but plays with a point guard’s feel for the game. If a player needs one skill to excel at to stick in the NBA, for Sheppard that is shooting — he hit 41.5% from 3 as a senior and that skill should translate to the next level. He works hard on defense. He’s not a great athlete by NBA standards and was not a great at-the-rim finisher in college, but he won’t be asked to venture into the paint as a pro. There is a role for him as a sharpshooter who can keep the ball moving and make the smart play.

27. Charlotte Hornets (via Denver, New York, Oklahoma City) Nick Smith, 6’4” guard, Arkansas. Smith started the season considered a top-5 pick with a smooth jumper, but fell down draft boards as his stats did not match the promise: 33.8% shooting from 3, 37.6% overall, and 12.5 points a game. The Hornets are betting that is circumstantial, Smith had a knee injury to start the season and was surrounded by non-shooters who messed with the team’s spacing. More concerning, his defense was so bad he got benched in key minutes during the NCAA Tournament. It’s up to Steve Clifford to develop him and show that he was more the prospect he was two seasons ago.

28. Utah Jazz (via Philadelphia and Brooklyn) Brice Sensabaugh, 6’6” wing, Ohio State. One of the best shot makers in this draft and someone whose advanced metrics suggest he can do the same at the NBA level. He’s physically strong with an NBA body at 235 pounds, can create separation and is one of the best tough shotmakers in this class. One concern is that his numbers dipped as defenses in the Big 10 targeted him. However, the bigger concern is on the defensive end, where he was a target and may be one of the weaker defenders in this draft. Can he defend well enough for Will Hardy to keep him on the court? Could he be destined for a microwave Sixth Man role?

29. Denver Nuggets (via Boston and Indiana) Julian Strawther, 6’6” wing, Gonzaga. The Pacers made the pick but he is destined for the defending NBA champions. Strawther can flat out shoot the rock and is a bucket. The Bulldogs ran him off screens and by his junior season he was impressive on the catch-and-shoot, and he shows a soft touch on his shots. He’s a high-level shot maker with the size to play the wing at the NBA level. The only question is can he defend well enough to stay on the floor? He didn’t show that at Gonzaga, but in the WCC it’s easy enough to hide that deficiency, it will not be at the next level. Still, good pick up by the Nuggets this late in the first round because you never go wrong with a shooter.

30. Los Angeles Clippers (via Bucks, Rockets) Kobe Brown, 6’7” wing, Missouri. One of the oldest players in the draft at 23, he’s also got a mature game and could help in the Clippers’ rotation sooner rather than later. He’s got handles, is good passer and a smart decision maker, and he hit 45.5% from 3 last season. It’s that shooting teams don’t trust, he was a 23.7% shooter in college before last season, was the huge leap a matter of work put in or a fluke? Not an elite athlete, there are defensive questions, but for a contender looking for a guy who can move the ball, attack closeouts and hit shots off the bench, Brown is a good fit.


We have a trade:

The Timberwolves have traded two future second round picks to get the No. 33 pick in this draft from the Spurs.

We have another trade:

The Charlotte Hornets are sending the No. 34 and 39 picks in this draft to the Boston Celtics for the No. 31 pick, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

31. Charlotte Hornets James Nnaji, 6’10” center, Nigeria, by way of Barcelona. The Nigerian-born center has a great story of how he got noticed (with some help from Masai Ujiri’s Giant’s of Africa program). He has the build of an NBA center and is a quality rim-protecting big man who can defend some in space. He’s also got skills as a rim-running finisher. Nnaji is still raw (he didn’t start playing until age 12 and didn’t get a lot of minutes as a young player on an experienced Barcelona squad). Nnaji is a development project for Hornets, but the payoff could be a quality NBA center that fits in the modern game.

32. Denver Nuggets Jalen Pickett, 6’2” guard, Penn State. A 23-year-old fifth-year senior with a game that worked well in college, but will it translate to the next level? He’s a high IQ player who isn’t explosive but uses a lot of craft to get off his shot, and he’s good at posting up guards. Not a skill in high demand in the NBA. What is in demand is shooting and if he can prove his 38.1% from 3 last season is something he can continue to do he has a chance to stick on an NBA roster.

33. Minnesota Timberwolves Leonard Miller, 6’10” forward, G-League Ignite. The Timberwolves just traded into this spot and may have a steal. Despite putting up good numbers for the Ignite — 18 points and 11 rebounds a game — Miller is seen as a developmental project by teams. His feel for the game is in question by some (despite seeming to find his way in the G-League), and his jump shot remains a work in progress. He has the kind of fluid athleticism that can’t be taught, it’s up to Chris Finch and team to develop him and bring him along.

We have another trade:

The Sacramento Kings have traded into the No. 34 spot, giving the Celtics the No. 38 pick and a future second rounder, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

34. Sacramento Kings Colby Jones, 6’5” shooting guard, Xavier. Jones has an NBA build and is a player who does a lot of things well, but maybe none of them at an elite level. He can drive and uses his physicality to be a good scorer at the rim, but also shot 37.8% from 3. He’s not an elite athlete and isn’t going to be a primary shot creator in the NBA, but he can move the ball with the pass and will drive if given the lane. The ceiling for him is and his game is someone like Josh Hart, but Jones has a lot of work to put in to reach that level.

We have a trade:

The Bulls have traded for the No. 35 pick previously belonging to the Celtics and Wizards at various points.

35. Chicago Bulls Julian Phillips, 6’7” wing, Tennessee. He has the physical traits NBA teams are willing to roll the dice on — he is long with a 6’11” wingspan and he is athletic (even for an NBA wing). You can see the potential of a quality defender and he worked hard on that end of the court, although he needs to get stronger to compete at the NBA level. Phillips also is raw on offense, and that starts with shooting (23.9% from 3 but not that efficient inside the arc either). He is not great at catch-and-shoot, nor does he have the handles to create his own shot. He can cut some and finish in transition, but he needs to do more to stick in the NBA.

36. Milwaukee Bucks Andre Jackson, 6’6” wing, UConn. Milwaukee traded into this spot. One of the best athletes in this draft class and with the size and length Milwaukee covets in wing players (almost a 6’10” wingspan). This is a guy we could see in the Dunk Contest. He also uses that athleticism and plays hard on the defensive end of the court, plus he is a beast in transition. The reason he slid down this far in the draft is he is not a good shooter (28.1% from 3 last season), teams sagged off him at the college level, and he is going to struggle to score in the half court at the NBA level. The challenge for the bucks is figure out how he fits in the NBA game, but he should fit.

37. Oklahoma City Thunder Hunter Tyson, 6’8” forward, Clemson. A fifth-year senior, he has good size for an NBA wing and developed into very good shooter off the catch, 40.5% overall from 3 last season. He has the skills to put the ball on the floor to attack closeouts. He fell this far in the draft because of his age, his athleticism, and that it took him all five years to develop into this level of shooter. Also, he’s not a great defender, there are lateral quickness questions, and that will make him a defensive target. But it’s never a bad pick to take the shooter.

38. Boston Celtics Jordan Walsh, 6’6” wing, Arkansas. The Celtics just traded back into this slot. If you like players with intangibles, then Walsh is your guy — ridiculous 7’2” wingspan (that lets him guard fours), and he plays hard and with a high IQ. He is a good defender now and with some development could be one of the best defenders in this draft. Joe Mazzulla and his reworked staff are going to love the way he plays. The question is where he fits on offense, and specifically can he shoot well enough to stay on the floor? She shot 27.8% from 3 last season for the Razorbacks and that number has to improve, but if he can develop a shot this can be a steal for Celtics.

39. Charlotte Hornets Mouhamed Gueye, 6’10” center, Senegal via Washington State. This is what a second-round flyer should look like. He is an impressive athlete with true NBA center size, and his highlight plays can stack up with anyone in this draft. However, he came to the game late and with that comes a lack of understanding of team defense and rotations, and he is still raw on offense. There is a lot of work to do and Gueye seems destined for a two-way contract, or maybe straight to the G-League, but if he puts in the work in a couple of years he could become an NBA rotation big and maybe more. The raw tools are there, everything just needs to be refined.

40. Los Angeles Lakers Max Lewis, 6’7” wing, Pepperdine. Lewis exploded on the scene the first half of last season, a long and lean wing who catch-and-shoot with the best of them, could put the ball on the floor and create a little, and showed a good feel for the game. His numbers dipped the second half of the season and his defense is a work in progress. Lewis passes the eye test and with a couple of seasons of development could become a quality rotation player in the NBA, a good roll of the dice at this point in the draft by the Lakers.

41. Charlotte Hornets Amari Bailey, 6’3” guard, UCLA. Recognized by some fans as a teammate of Bronny James at Sierra Canyon in SoCal, he had ups and downs adapting to the college game. He’s fantastic in transition, and in the half court he can pull up and score out of the pick-and-roll. He’s still evolving as a passer and he needs to work on his finishing at the rim (maybe he develops a floater?). Bailey has potential but is going to need a couple of years of development before he’s in the rotation.

42. Washington Wizards Tristan Vukcevic, 6’11” center, Greece. Played last season for Partizan in Belgrade (Serbia) and has proven to be a big who can space the floor, shooting 35% or better from 3 each of his last three professional seasons in Europe. He is huge but still a fluid athlete, and he can put the ball on the floor and attack closeouts (he even brought the ball up occasionally last season). The questions are on the defensive end, where he has not impressed individually (lateral movement questions) or in playing within the team system. He could spend one more year in Europe because of his buyout.

43. Portland Trail Blazers Rayan Rupert, 6’7” wing, France. The native of France played last season for the New Zealand Breakers, the team that won the Australian league title, and he played well as a role-player for them (it’s a good sign that he accepted his role, not all young stars do). He is an impressive and fluid athlete. He has a 7’3” wingspan and uses that length to be disruptive on the defensive end — he plays hard every possession. Last season he looked like a guy who could absorb some NBA minutes this season. His offensive game is raw and needs work, but he has the athletic tools to play in the open court, and if he can refine his offensive game he can become a good role player.

44. San Antonio Spurs Side Cissoko, 6’6” wing, G-League Ignite. He has the potential to be the guy fans in San Antonio love because he’s on their team, while fans of the other 29 teams despise him (and playing against him). Cissoko is strong and leans into a physical game, is an intense competitor and will talk plenty of trash (some of it in his native French). He’s a physical, switchable defender. On offense, he’s not a lead shot creator but he can put the ball on the floor, plays a high IQ game and makes good passes. The question is can he develop a steady shot (31.4% from 3 last season), his mechanics need work. If he can develop that shot, Cissoko can be an NBA role player.

45. Memphis Grizzlies G.G. Jackson, 6’8” forward, South Carolina. The youngest player in the draft (he was a 17-year-old when the Gamecocks tipped off the season), the Grizzlies have made a bet on his development. Jackson has the raw tools: He’s an impressive athlete with a frame that should fill out to handle NBA physicality, plus he has impressive handles and can create for himself. He was handed the keys to the South Carolina offense and wasn’t ready for that responsibility against the mature teams of the SEC. While he averaged 15.4 points a game his jumper needs to become consistent. Jackson is a development project but with a high upside, making him a good pick by Memphis at this point.

46. Atlanta Hawks Seth Lundy, 6’4” wing, Penn State His shooting form is a bit unusual, but it works for him — 40% from 3 last season — so if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Four year player for the Nittany Lions who has good length for a wing (6’10” wingspan) who can knock down his catch-and-shoot opportunities. He fits the archetype of a 3&D wing but has to prove he can hold up athletically on the defensive end at the next level. Also, can he show a feel for the game and know when to shoot and when to move the ball to the open shooter? If so this is a quality pickup for the Hawks.

47. Indiana Pacers Mojave King, 6’4” guard, New Zealand via G-League Ignite He played professionally in Australia and New Zealand for a few years before coming to the G-League. There are moments you can see a 3&D gaurd in his game, but he’s not consistent enough with his shot or much of anything else, which is why he has fallen this far in the draft. He is a player destined for a two-way contract with the Pacers, or going straight to the G-League to continue to develop. Not a bad flier at this point in the draft for Indiana.

48. Los Angeles Clippers Jordan Miller, 6’5” wing, Miami. Like a lot of guys at this point in the draft, Miller has plenty of tools — high IQ, good athleticism and body control, a nearly 7-foot wingspan — and he can put them together for parts of his game. He is a good slasher and finisher with the ball. However, there is one key flaw holding him back, and in this case it’s shooting. He doesn’t take many 3s and when he does he hits 32.9% of them. If he can become a consistent shooter and round out his playmaking he’s got a spot on an NBA roster, but he has work to do.

49. Cleveland Cavaliers Emoni Bates, 6’8” wing, Eastern Michigan. A few years ago Bates was the top player in this draft class and projected as the can’t miss prospect, but stumbles on and off the court led to this point. The tools as a rare shot creator are still there — quick release, great range, and a shiftiness that gives him the ability to get to his spots — which is why this is a good roll of the dice at this point by the Cavaliers. But he’s got to work on getting stronger, his defense, his ability to create shots for others, and there needs to be more of a maturity about his game. Is he going to put in the work to get to where he needs to go? It’s a long shot but the Cavaliers took the chance he could.

50. Oklahoma City Thunder Keyontae Johnson, 6’5 wing, Kansas Sate. Johnson is the kind of player scouts and GMs struggle to place every year because of one question: Can a guy who was a primary scoring option in college/AAU/high school adapt to being a role player in the NBA? Johnson hit his catch-and-shoot 3s at K-State, and he can put the ball on the floor and bully his way to the paint. Can he create for others and work off the ball? Hard not to root for him after his 2020 collapse on the court because of heart inflammation (while at Florida) and his work to get back to this point.

51. Brooklyn Nets Jalen Wilson, 6’7” wing, Kansas. A four-year player for the Jayhawks who has impressive ball handling skills and showed with the Jayhawks he can create shots and score in a variety of ways. He made a lot of tough shots in college, but can that translate to the next level? He shot just 33.7% from beyond the arc last season and that was his best season in college from deep. He is good at a lot of things but not elite at any one. In college he was asked to carry a massive load for the Jayhawks, the Nets will ask him to fit his skills into a smaller role and focus on fewer things, can he thrive that way?

52. Phoenix Suns Toumani Camara, 6’7” forward, Belgium by way of Dayton. He passes the eye test as an NBA four, in part because of his 7-foot wingspan, and his strengths are on defense where he can use that length and an aggressiveness to be disruptive. On offense he is almost exclusively a catch-and-shoot guy who can do a little cutting, but he has no handles to speak of and with that can’t create his own shot. There are also doubts about his skills as a shooter (he struggled when contested last season). There’s a lot of work to do but not a bad roll of the dice this late in the draft.

53. Minnesota Timberwolves Jaylen Clark, 6’4” guard, UCLA. He might be the best perimeter defender in this draft and he has NBA level athleticism. The reason we’re talking about him at this point in the draft is due to the questions about his offense. The Timberwolves are betting that his play in the first dozen games of last season — 15.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 39.3% from 3 — were not a fluke. He has not been a consistent shooter, he does not have the handles to create his own shot, but with work he could carve out a role as a cutter and guy who makes the right pass. Still, he’s got to knock down some shots. If he can he can stick in the league as a defensive specialist.

54. Sacramento Kings Jalen Slawson, 6’7” wing, Furman. Most fans will remember him as the hero for Furman who stepped up with a big game in the upset of Virginia in the NCAA tournament. Slawson has good size for a wing and knows how to use that on the defensive end to be disruptive. On offense he can score a little but is more comfortable as a playmaker, and he has a high basketball IQ so he tends to make good decisions. He only goes right, he has no left hand to speak of. He shot 39.4% from 3 as a senior, but he had struggled the rest of his time in college, so was that shooting real or a fluke? Bottom line, he’s got a high IQ game but it may not translate to the next level if he can’t expand every part of his game.

55. Indiana Pacers Isaiah Wong, 6’3” guard, Miami. Crafty guard who knows how to score and is at his best in transition. He’s a score-first guard but at the next level he’s going to need a more consistent shot from 3 and he needs to become a better finisher. He’s a little undersized but it’s not hard to picture Wong as an off-the-bench bucket getter in the NBA if he can just become more consistent (and defend well enough to stay on the court).

56. Memphis Grizzlies Tarik Biberovic , 6’7” wing, Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is a draft-and-stash case. He apparently is a good shooter and has good overall talent, according to Grizzlies General Manager Zach Kleiman speaking to the Commercial Appeal.

57. Indiana Pacers Trayce Jackson-Davis, 6’8” forward, Indiana. He is the son of former NBA veteran Dale Davis, he evolved over our years in Indiana to an impactful 20-and-10 two way player at the college level. He’s a strong athlete with an impressive vertical leap who can finish lobs and is a solid team defender. The questions start here: Indiana’s offense asked him to post up a lot, but that’s not happening in the NBA, so can he step out as a shooter? Also, his game is really that of a center but he’s undersized for that role in the NBA, so where will he fit in?

58. Milwaukee Bucks Chris Livingston, 6’6” wing, Kentucky. Livingston is a development project, but he’s a big, athletic, physical wing with all the tools. He passes the eye test with a thick frame, he works hard on both ends and he doesn’t mind contact or doing the dirty work (getting rebounds, etc.). He projects as a potential 3&D guy but he is raw (he reportedly shot well in workouts, which is why he stayed in the draft in the first place). Right now he’s a straight-line driver who has to get to the rim, to stick in the NBA he’s going to need that jumper (30.5% from 3 last season). Expect him to spend some time in the G-League, but the potential is there.