NBA

2023 NBA Draft Results – Draft Grades for Each Team

The 2023 NBA Draft saw the French prodigy Victor Wembanyama enter the league. The generational talent that “Wemby” is has created major hype around the draft. However, 57 other young basketball players were selected for NBA franchises too. Here are the results of the Draft and our grades for each pick.

NBA Draft 2023
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1. San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama PF/C

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The 7’4″ Frenchman Victor Wembanyama is seen as a generational talent and was deservedly the number 1 pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. The 19-year-old prodigy has created the most hype since LeBron James was drafted into the league and the Spurs just landed themselves a new face of the franchise.

As long as Wemby manages to stay healthy he should have an amazing NBA career and in San Antonio he should develop well as the Spurs and their legendary coach Greg Popovich have shown for decades how good they are at extracting the most out of big men.

Grade: A+

Wemby Draft
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2. Charlotte Hornets: Brandon Miller SF

The Hornets did the logical thing with their 2nd pick. Adding Brandon Miller to their roster gives them a good fit next to Charlotte’s star LaMello Ball. Miller is a very good shooter and hard worker. He will have a starting role straight away. He needs to develop his physic and improve his finishing at the rim though, if he wants to have a long NBA career.

Grade: A-

3. Portland Trail Blazers: Scoot Henderson PG

Portland made an easy decision and they didn’t bugle grabbing the talented G League point guard Scoot Henderson. Some are concerned that he won’t fit very well next to Portland’s big star Damian Lillard. However, we think Henderson and Sharpe will complement each other very well when together on the court. The duo could develop a chemistry that Portland badly need. Also, the Trail Blazers now have the player the Pelicans badly want and Portland already hinted that they could trade Scoot to New Orleans if they get Zion Williamson in return.

It seems this pick gives Portland plenty of opportunities to decide which way to go and this is always a very good thing.

Grade: A+

4. Houston Rockets: Amen Thompson PG

The Rockets expectedly grabbed the best athlete of the 2023 Class Amen Thompson. The explosive point guard might still have issues shooting jumpers but he is a gifted passer, a great finisher in transition and a very solid defender.

Amen is a star in the making in many’s eyes and the Rockets must be thrilled to have him as they can do so many things with him. It seems his main role will be as a playmaker in Houston.

Grade: A

5. Detroit Pistons: Ausar Thompson SG/SF

The Pistons surprised many as they went for the other twin Ausar Thompson with their 5th pick. Detroit probably had better options. For a starter just like his brother Ausar is not a great jump shooter. Considering that both Ivey and Cunningham are already not great shooters the Pistons might struggle even if they create plenty of open shots.

That said, Ausar is arguably the best defensive player in the entire 2023 Class and he’s as athletic as his twin brother when attacking the rim in transition. In the end, all will depend on how the Pistons see him fit in their rotation.

Grade: B-

Amen and Ausar Thompson Draft
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6. Orlando Magic: Anthony Black PG

Orlando needed a point guard and with their 6th pick they got the best option available, or so we believe, in Anthony Black. Gifted at both ends of the floor and very good at finding open shooters Black should become an integral part of the Magic rebuild. We like this pick a lot and we think the Magic have found themselves a new star playmaker.

Grade: A+

7. Washington Wizards (via Pacers): Bilal Coulibaly SF

The Wizards traded their way up the draft to grab the player they wanted. The 18-year-old Frenchman Bilal Coulibaly was  a sidekick to the number 1 pick Victor Wembanyama last season in France and he developed fast. Still, we think the Wizards are taking a chance with Coulibaly as there are way too many unknowns left regarding Bilal’s ability to develop and progress further. Washington wanted him though, so they got their man.

Grade: B+

8. Indiana Pacers (via Wizards): Jarace Walker PF

The Pacers traded back only one spot and presumably, they still selected the player they wanted. The Pacers needed big bodies and Walker is such a player. He failed to give us enough attacking returns in college though and this is the main reason why we don’t grade this pick higher.

Grade: B

9. Utah Jazz: Taylor Hendricks PF

The Jazz had their eyes on the 3-and-D power forward Hendricks with their 9th pick and they got their man. Hendricks is a very similar player to Utah’s main piece Lauri Markannen so now the Jazz have a good rotation piece that will be coming off the bench when Lauri’s resting.

Hendricks can defend multiple positions, is very good at spacing the floor with his jump shooting at a solid level, but he’s also a threat at the rim with his lobbing abilities. All-in-all, we like this pick from the Jazz very much.

Grade: A

10. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Mavericks): Cason Wallace PG

The Thunder traded up to the 10th spot and also got Davis Bertans in this move. We don’t really understand much why they selected another point guard in Cason Wallace though. Not that we don’t think Wallace is not a talented player, just the Thunder are loaded with point guards as it is. However, further trades in coming days could justify this pick, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Grade: B-

11. Orlando Magic: Jett Howard SG

We can’t pretend to understand this pick. The Magic selected a decent shooter in Jett Howard, but he is also a major defensive liability. Considering, that there were better shooters still available at that point (Hawkins and Dick) we struggle to understand this pick. Who knows, maybe the Magic have seen something in Howard we haven’t seen yet.

Grade: D

12. Dallas Mavericks (via Thunder): Dereck Lively II C

The Mavs not only offloaded Bertans’ wage by trading with the Thunder but they still got the man they wanted with the 12th pick. Lively II is a great centre that can protect the paint. He should help both Doncic and Irving immensely at the defensive end and we really like his fit in Dallas.

Grade: A

13. Toronto Raptors: Gradey Dick SF

The Raptors got themselves one of the best shooters from beyond the arc (43.7% in 2022-23) in Gradey Dick with the 13th pick. Toronto had perimeter spacing issues all of last season and Dick was certainly one of the most logical picks for them.

Grade: A-

14. New Orleans Pelicans: Jordan Hawkins SG

The Pelicans got their main too. They wanted Hawkins for his shooting. He’s officially the best shooter in the entire 2023 Class with his 44% from beyond the arc. The issue we have with him is that he is very lean and thin, which could cause problems on the defensive end. He’s young and could still gain muscle strength though.

Grade: B

15. Atlanta Hawks: Kobe Bufkin SG

The Hawks are yet not sure what their future looks like with not many players confirmed for their roster for next season. Still, considering that many predictions had Bufkin as a top-10 pick we believe that the Hawks landing him with the 15th pick was a good move for them.

Grade: A-

16. Utah Jazz: Keyonte George SG

The Jazz’s second pick of the Draft saw them adding a gifted shooter in Keyonte George to their roster. He also has defensive issues though. Also, his best basketball was played at high school and in college he struggled. The best we can say is that he has the potential but the Jazz need to find a way to unlock it.

Grade: B-

17. Los Angeles Lakers: Jalen Hood-Schifino PG

The Lakers needed depth at point guard and they added it with the 17th pick. However, we’re not certain that with this pick they got a player that is ready to contribute right now. This is what the Lakers need with LeBron in his year 21 and Hood-Schifino seems to have too many elements of his game that still need working on.

Grade: B

18. Miami Heat: Jaime Jaquez Jr SG

The oldest player of the 2023 Class Jaime Jaquez Jr landed in the best possible spot considering his skills and character. The Heat loving hard-working, defensive-minded grafters and this is all Jaime has shown all through his 5 years in college. We believe he will fit in Miami perfectly.

Grade: A

19. Golden State Warriors: Brandin Podziemski SG

The Warriors added yet another player that could shoot off catch and dribble. Podziemski lacks length and athleticism though. That’s why we don’t see him as the best fit at a Warrior team that lacks these attributes as it is.

Grade: C-

20. Houston Rockets: Cam Whitmore SF

The Rockets got themsleves a steal with the 20th pick. The powerful finisher at the rim Cam Whitmore was widely expected to be a top 5 pick. His slide down the order surprised most and was pretty inexplicable. In the end, the Rockets got themselves a top 5 prospect with the 20th pick so they must be delighted.

Grade: A

21. Brooklyn Nets: Noah Clowney PF

The Nets needed size and this is what they got with Noah Clowney. He will bring rebounding and defensive toughness + some 3-point shooting.

Grade: B

22. Brooklyn Nets: Dariq Whitehead SG/SF

Brooklyn’s next pick was a bit risky though. Whitehead was an amazing player at high school. He was a mere shadow of himself at college though. Also, he missed half of last season injured. Still, if the Nets find a way to rediscover Dariq’s impact when he was in school this might work.

Grade: C

23. Portland Trail Blazers: Khris Murray PF

Portland got themselves a good floor spacer in Khris Murray. He’s a decent shooter too. Lack of defensive skills worries us though.

Grade: B+

24. Dallas Mavericks (via Kings): Oliver-Maxence Prosper PF

The Mavs traded for the second time during the draft to get another strong rim protector in Propser. Surrounding Doncic and Irving with tall, powerful bigs seem like a great idea. Propser should prosper from this pick too, as he is a gifted lobber and with 2 of the best passers in the game feeding him we can see his numbers increase.

Grade: A

25. Detroit Piston (via Grizzlies): Marcus Sasser SG

The Pistons got themselves another tough baler in Marcus Sasser. He could develop into a nice fit next to Ivey and Cunningham.

Grade: B

26. Indiana Pacers: Ben Sheppard SG

In Ben Sheppard Indiana got themselves a ready-to-go two-way player. This is what they wanted too.

Grade: B+

27. Charlotte Hornets: Nick Smith Jr SG

The Hornets needed shooters and with the 27th pick they did well to steal Nick Smith Jr. A bit small for his position he is one of the best spot shooters in this class and the Hornets must be delighted to get him.

Grade: A

28. Utah Jazz: Brice Sensabaugh SG

Brice Sensabaugh can score but he is an awful defender. Considering that Utah have plenty of players that can score but lack defenders, we don’t think this was a very good move.

Grade: C-

29. Denver Nuggets (via Pacers): Julian Strawther SG

The Nuggets traded for this pick but we don’t see what they saw in selecting Julian Strawther. He’s a solid shooter but defensively he is very poor. We don’t think he’s ready but again if the champions think he’s the man for them, who are we to question that.

Grade: C+

30. Los Angeles Clippers: Kobe Brown SF

The Clippers got themselves a versatile player with the last pick of round 1. Kobe Brown can guard multiple positions, has a massive use in small formations, can create his own shots. All this makes him a useful player to have.

Grade: A

31. Charlotte Hornets (via Celtics): James Nnaji C

The Hornets grabbed a talented centre in Nnaji with the 31st pick. Only 18-years-old he already has professional experience with Barcelona in Spain. Now, the Hornets need to develop him well.

Grade: A-

32. Denver Nuggets (via Pacers): Jalen Pickett SG

The Nuggets again surprised many by trading up to get a player like Jalen Pickett that was widely projected as outside the top 70 picks in most mock drafts. Denver clearly see something in him not many others do. The future will show if they were right.

Grade: C

33. Minnesotta Timberwolves (via Spurs): Leonard Miller PG/SG

The Wolves traded for this pick and they got themselves a pretty decent guard in Leonard Miller. A two-way player with the potential to guard multiple positions on the perimeter is always a good addition to any roster.

Grade: A

34. Sacramento Kings: Colby Jones SG

The Kings got themselves a big wing with not very much athleticism. They need to work on developing Colby Jones if he is to have an impact for them.

Grade: B-

35. Chicago Bulls (via Celtics): Julian Phillips SF

The Bulls traded themselves into the draft to select Julian Phillips, so they must have seen a lot they like in him. He recorded the highest vertical leap during the NBA Combine and was also rated a 5-star at high school. Clearly, the Bulls think Phillips could help them with his explosiveness.

Grade: B

36. Milwaukee Bucks (via Magic) : Andre Jackson SG/SF

The Bucks traded for this pick and they got an electric younger version of Khris Middleton to add to their roster. Andre Jackson is a very good defender and he will fit in Milwaukee straight away.

Grade: A-

37. Denver Nuggets (via Thunder): Hunter Tyson SF

We can’t pretend we understand this pick. The Nuggets surprised again as they traded up to select a player that otherwise would have likely go undrafted anyway. Hunter Tyson can shoot but he’s so rough defensively that we can’t see him being of much use at least in his year 1.

Grade: C

38. Sacramanrto Kings: Jordan Walsh SF

The Kings got a gifted small forward in Walsh with this pick. He’s likely to spend his first year in the G League though as he needs to develop further.

Grade: B+

39. Atlanta Hawks: Mouhamed Gueye PF

The Hawks got themselves an unknown with the Senegalese big man Gueye. Can they develop him?

Grade: B-

40. Los Angeles Lakers (via Pacers): Maxwell Lewis SF

The Lakers traded for this pick and they got themselves a steal. Lewis is a tall wing that can both attack the rm and shoot from distance. He was widely projected to be a round 1 pick, so the Lakers must be happy.

Grade: A

The final 18 picks of the 2023 NBA Draft we widely see as picks of players that will spend their first season in the G League. So, combined we grade those 18 picks as B-, with too much work needed for those players to develop into fine basketball stars for them to be analysed individually.


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About the author

Iskra

Iskra had a promising, at least she believed so, tennis and volleyball careers as a junior but a series of injuries ended her hopes to become a professional athlete very early.

Instead, she focused all her energy on her other passion, writing. For over a decade, Iskra had been a freelance sports writer. Football, basketball and tennis are the main fields of her expertise.