The 2023 NBA Lottery was all about Victor Wembanyama, and which team was going to get the opportunity to draft his generational talent. We now know that Coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs won that honor. But, who are some of the other names we will hear called near the top of the draft? What team(s) might these players go to? How would their numbers look as rookies, and how might their presence affect the other players on the team?
Let’s explore with a closer look.
Victor Wembanyama is universally expected to be the number one overall pick in this season’s draft. Wembanyama is about 7-4 with a 7-9 wingspan, and his lateral movement and coordination are off the charts for a player of that size. As a professional basketball player overseas, Wembanyama has averaged 20 and 10 with more than three blocks per game. After a historical analysis of players that have commonalities with Wembanyama, I conclude that Wembanyama on the Spurs has a solid chance of replicating his European numbers as a rookie.
The Spurs are a young team, and Wembanyama’s presence could eat into the numbers and opportunities for incumbent starting center and power forward Zach Collins and Jeremy Sochan. And, of course, free agency and Draft night trades haven’t occurred, so the Spurs lineup could look entirely different by the time Wembanyama gets his first start in San Antonio. If all goes well, Wembanyama could potentially be a top-3 round pick in fantasy hoops this season.
Scoot Henderson is an explosively athletic point guard that has been on the NBA watch list since he was in high school. He’ll enter the league after playing in the G League. This season, he averaged 16.5 PPG, 6.8 APG, 5.3 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 3PG and 0.6 BPG in 30.7 MPG. This is another case where his stats from last season could be illustrative for this season’s projections.
If the Hornets chose Henderson with the second pick, there would be some redundancy with their current franchise player and superstar LaMelo Ball. Both play point guard, but it could be workable since Ball also has the height to play shooting guard and the shooting ability to be a spot up shooter. My expectation is this isn’t the best fit for the Hornets, so if he landed there it could eat into his own production as well as that of Ball and Clifford Rozier.
It is hard to see Henderson dropping below the third slot, even though he has redundancy with the talent already on the Trail Blazers. His best fit among teams in the top-4 picks in the NBA Draft might be the Rockets at pick four. The Rockets already have a lead guard in Kevin Porter Jr., but it is rumored they aren’t settled on him. Wherever he lands, if all goes well, Henderson could produce middle round value in fantasy hoops leagues.
Brandon Miller has played his way into the argument for the second pick in the Draft. A long small forward that can put the ball in the hoops in so many ways, Miller had an excellent season for the Crimson Tide to the tune of 18.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 2.9 APG.
Miller actually fits perfectly on the Hornets at pick two. He could push Gordon Hayward for the starting small forward slot in year one and give the Hornets one of the best scoring wing/forward prospects in this draft. Miller would fit just as well with the Trail Blazers at pick four, making him a strong bet to put up fantasy starter caliber season wherever he lands.
In fact, any of the top-five picking teams could use a strong scoring small forward. While Miller’s rebounds could drop a bit compared to college, he is likely to continue to score at a high level and produce mid-round fantasy stats regardless of the picking team.
Amen and Assaur Thompson. We’ll finish this brief look at the top prospects in this season’s NBA Draft with twin brothers Amen and Aussar Thompson. Both brothers played for Overtime Elite last season and project to strong two way players at the NBA level.
Amen is more of a lead guard than his brother, and would make an intriguing pick for the Rockets in the fourth draft slot. He is an oversized guard that’s more shotmaker than shooter and demonstrates great court vision. Amen could potentially wrest the starting point guard slot from Kevin Porter Jr., but the more likely outcome would have him coming off the bench as a league guard and second team offense creator.
Aussar is more wing/forward than his brother and would fit with the sixth pick on the Orlando Magic. The Magic have a huge, deep roster of big men, so Aussar’s ability to play small forward could let him fit on the Magic next to their strong frontcourt. .