- Advertisement -
HomeBasketballNBA2023 NBA Draft: Wenbanyama is No. 1, but then what?

2023 NBA Draft: Wenbanyama is No. 1, but then what?

- Advertisement -

The 2023 NBA Draft is less than 24 hours away.

There’s not a lot of intrigue about the top pick. We all know who San Antonio’s taking.

It gets really interesting after that for a lot of reasons. Teams could swap picks. Superstars could be moved for trade packages that include high selections. 

There are a lot of questions heading into the Draft. This particular edition has the potential to shake up the entire league, and that may not have anything to do with the guys in the Green Room in NYC.

So what are the biggest questions heading into this Draft?

What does Charlotte do with the No. 2 pick?

I don’t understand why this has turned into such a hot topic. G-League guard Scoot Henderson should be the pick here. Don’t trade it for someone else’s baggage. Don’t overthink it and take a player who’s reportedly had bad workouts. Henderson, whose real name is Sterling (!!), is built like a truck. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, he’s small in stature but he’s strong enough to absorb contact in the paint. His jumper needs work, as he shot 27.5 percent from 3 in 19 G-League games this season. In this past season’s Showcase Cup, which saw all G-League teams and players travel to one site to play in front of NBA scouts and executives, Henderson shot 48 percent from the floor and 47.1 percent from 3. He also went right at No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama when their teams met. He knows when to turn it on. There are questions about his fit with LaMelo Ball. Hasn’t it been proven that having multiple ball handlers and playmakers on the floor together is a good thing. I could see the issue if Ball were small, but he’s 6-6 with long arms. LaMelo could guard wings, while Scoot harasses smaller guards. By all accounts, Scott loves basketball and is the type of player who will work until there are no holes in his game. Henderson should be a Hornet by this time tomorrow.

What value does the No. 3 pick have if Henderson is off the board?

Wing Brandon Miller is the best college player in this year’s draft. The 6-9, 200 pound forward is a solid playmaker. He’s a great scorer, and he’s a willing defender. He’s a player in the mold of Paul George. He was the best player on the best team Alabama ever had. He also may have played a role in a woman’s murder. Off-the-court decision making could be an issue. Miller also had his best game after being named by police in a murder trial. I think Miller will have a long career, but he’s a notch below Henderson and No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama. Portland is in a weird spot. Damian Lillard is on the short list of the best players in franchise history. The team with Lillard has one fluke West Finals appearance. The Blazers haven’t made the playoffs in two years. The last time Portland made the playoffs, with a healthy Lillard, they lost to a Denver Nuggets team with a starting backcourt of Austin Rivers and Facundo Campazzo. Portland has reportedly stopped taking calls on Lillard. Lillard wants to win and doesn’t want to bring in another young player. If Henderson isn’t there at No. 3, how much value does Brandon Miller have to other teams? What else do the Blazers have to package in a trade with No. 3 to get, say, Zion Williamson? If they packaged Anfernee Simons with the No. 3 pick and salary filler to get Zion, how good are the Blazers? And why would New Orleans want Miller when it has a wealth of wings? The Blazers should move off Lillard now. He’s coming off a season where he averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game. At 32, Lillard is still producing at a high level. Lillard for the last couple of years has talked and talked and talked about “winning in Portland” and “not running from the grind.” Being the man in Portland and wanting to stay the man, in my opinion, has more to do with that than anything else. Lillard can help a number of teams. Miami and Brooklyn seem to be most likely to land Lillard in a deal. Miami makes a lot of sense. The Heat needed additional offense in the Finals. Lillard obviously could have provided that. Brooklyn makes no sense. Even if the Nets keep Mikal Bridges, that team is no better than a five seed in the East. If Portland is able to move Lillard, the move for the Blazers is to take Miller at 3. That would give Portland a core of Miller, Simons, and wing Shaedon Sharpe that has potential in the long-term. This is the first offseason that it feels like Lillard will be moved. If it happens, I hope he knows there’s no shame in it. He’s accomplished all he can in Portland. It’s time for Dame to be in a position to win.

Which way will the wings fall?

Including Miller, there are nine players between 6-7 and 6-9 who will go in the Lottery. All are freshmen in college, members of Overtime Elite, or international players. All have shown tremendous potential. The picks will come down to team preference. That sounds obvious, I know, but choosing between nine guys who play the same position is pretty tough. Late reports have Overtime Elite players, and twin brothers, Amen and Ausar Thompson going No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. Villanova’s Cam Whitmore has the potential to be the third best player in this draft class. Houston’s Jarace Walker is a super athlete and underrated playmaker. Gradey Dick, from Kansas, is probably the best shooter who will go in the Lottery. No matter where you’re taken, being picked in the Lottery is the goal for every player entering the draft. Hopefully these guys end up in the right situations.

What does Orlando do with its two Lottery picks?

For the second time in three years, the Orlando Magic has two Lottery picks. Orlando has pick Nos. 6 and 11. The Magic in 2021 took guard Jalen Suggs and forward Franz Wagner with the fifth and eighth picks, respectively. Orlando is set up front, with Wagner, 2022 No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr. The Magic have decent guards in Markell Fultz, Cole Anthony, Gary Harris and Suggs. Orlando could use a top-flight guard. Kentucky’s Cason Wallace could fill that need. His shot needs work, but Wallace is a fierce defender and a superb athlete. He needs to improve as a playmaker, but Orlando could bring him along slowly there, as Wagner and Banchero can run things in the halfcourt. Dick also fits here, as he can spread the floor and is a willing defender. The Magic last season improved its win total by 12 games over the previous year. There’s no reason to think the team won’t continue to trend upward. The two players Orlando chooses tomorrow should be a big part of that.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisment -

Most Popular