NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Kings get coveted prospect, Jazz make a surprise selection

Victor Wembanyama. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
Victor Wembanyama. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports /
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Gradey Dick, Kansas
Gradey Dick, Kansas Jayhawks. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports /

6. Orlando Magic: Anthony Black, CG, Arkansas

The Magic are looking for a boom-or-bust here as they take a chance on Black, trying to clear up their backcourt confusion. The 6’7″ guard has a high upside as a playmaker and defender, but his scoring ability is a question mark. Pairing the talented playmaker with young scorers like Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner should help him thrive.

7. Indiana Pacers: Taylor Hendricks, PF, UCF

The Pacers look to fill their biggest hole by drafting a high-upside two-way forward. Hendricks’ defensive ability and offensive versatility make him a great fit for any team, especially the Pacers. The athletic forward would be fun to watch with young playmaker Tyrese Haliburton.

8. Washington Wizards: Ausar Thompson, SG, Overtime Elite

A struggling Wizards team, lacking a sense of direction, can get a top 5 prospect with the 8th pick here. While Ausar is projected to get drafted after his twin brother, that does not mean he is less of a prospect. He is an incredible athlete with two-way versatility, as the Wizards get a player who can potentially change the franchise’s trajectory.

9. Utah Jazz: Bilal Coulibaly, SF, France

While playing behind the number one prospect, Victor Wembanyama, it took a while for scouts to realize what type of prospect Coulibaly is. An elite defender with a high upside on the offensive side of the ball, the Jazz take a chance on the impressive international talent who would fit right into their lineup.

10. Dallas Mavericks: Jarace Walker, PF, Houston

The Mavericks are looking for a player who can play off of Luka Doncic and (potentially) Kyrie Irving, so they find a versatile big man in Walker. A two-way big man with strong traits on both sides of the ball, the athletic forward finds a great home in Dallas.

11. Orlando Magic (via CHI): Dereck Lively, C, Duke

Lively’s stock has been rising since the NBA Combine, as he is the clear 2nd best center prospect in this class. The Magic snag him with the 11th pick to build possibly the best young core in the NBA centered around Lively, Banchero, Wagner, and Anthony Black.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Gradey Dick, SG, Kansas

After a surprising year for the Thunder built around a young core, they should focus on one of their biggest weaknesses from the past season: shooting. Gradey Dick is the best shooter in the 2023 Draft but is more than just a marksman. The 6’6″ SG/SF can put the ball on the floor and create for himself and his teammates.

13. Toronto Raptors: Nick Smith Jr., PG, Arkansas

With their starting backcourt both on pending player options, the Raptors need to look toward this high-ceiling bucket-getter out of Arkansas. Smith is a 6’5″ point guard who has the potential to be the Raptors franchise point guard if they are building for the future.

14. New Orleans Pelicans: Cason Wallace, CG, Kentucky

As the Pelicans have built a solid core, they have lacked a starting point guard. Wallace is an incredible defensive talent who has shown he can be an NBA point guard with his playmaking skills. The Pelicans are not taking much of a risk, as they are looking for a league-ready guard to help them win now.