2023 NBA Draft: Preseason Top 5 Prospect Ranking at Every Position | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors
(Victor Wembanyama, Metropolitans 92) Sonia Canada/Getty Images
5. Yohan Traore (Auburn, Freshman)
Traore’s shooting development has been noteworthy, and it could lead to the 6’10”, 220-pound freshman generating one-and-done buzz. He’s still on the raw side, but the combination of pro tools and pick-and-pop , plus his motor/activity around the basket, may help scouts picture an NBA fit.
4. Dereck Lively (Duke, Freshman)
There isn’t a ton of upside tied to Lively’s archetype, but NBA teams still value elite finishing and shot-blocking from the center position, as evidenced by Jalen Duren and Mark Williams both going top 15 in last year’s draft. At 7’1″ with a 7’5″ wingspan, scouts should see translatable pick-and-roll tools and rim protection tied to his length and motor. Promising flashes of over-the-shoulder scoring and set three-pointers (which we saw in high school) should help maximize his draft stock.
3. Kel’el Ware (Oregon, Freshman)
Ware offers 7’0″ size, mobility and timing for NBA finishing and shot-blocking. He’s also delivered enough glimpses of hook shots and shooting touch to hint at more scoring potential down the road. Scouts still figure to express some hesitation over his lack of strength and explosion for a center who doesn’t offer much creation.
2. GG Jackson (South Carolina, Freshman)
At 6’9″, 210 pounds, Jackson is mostly tools, athleticism and motor for transition play, offensive, rebounding and defensive playmaking. He also won’t turn 18 years old until December, which should create wiggle room and visions of upside when he does show the occasional jumper or ball-handling move. How close or far away he appears skill- and polish-wise will determine his final spot on draft boards, as it’s possible he looks too raw offensively for a lottery power forward. , after averaging 14.0 points in 17.0 minutes at the U18s and leading the EYBL in rebounding, Jackson figures to produce his way into the first round, even if he appears limited in creating and scoring away from the basket in the half court.
1. Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92, 2004)
The hype has been building for years behind Wembanyama’s never-before-season creation and shot-making fluidity for a 7’3″ big. He’s already delivering, having put up a pair of 34-point games in the preseason. It appears the 18 -year-old will be locked into a featured role that will allow him to record versatility fueled by perimeter skills, finishing tools and special movement. With regard to the No. 1 pick, G League Ignite point guard Scoo Henderson will put pressure on Wembanyama to raise his three-point percentage, look comfortable with contact, minimize turns and stay healthy. However, the NBA draft has never had a prospect his size look this sharp putting the ball down, separating into jumpers and hitting spot-up threes while changing games defensively with his outrageous length, mobility and anticipation.