Last Word On Basketball

Rex Foster’s NBA Mock Draft 4.0

Dec 9, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; City Reapers guard Amen Thompson (1) shown during the game against the Cold Hearts at Overtime Elite. Where will he land in this NBA Mock draft? Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 9, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; City Reapers guard Amen Thompson (1) shown during the game against the Cold Hearts at Overtime Elite. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the fourth version of my 2023 NBA mock draft series! I appreciate everyone’s support over the past few months. It is very rewarding to look at the numbers my last few mock drafts piled up and read everyone’s support. 

In this version of my mock draft series, I have implemented some trades that I would like to see on draft night. Additionally, I also included a second rock mock draft without analysis for everyone to peep at. 

Without further or do, I present to you my fourth 2023 NBA mock draft: 

Rex Foster’s NBA Mock Draft 4.0

The Lottery

1. San Antonio Spurs

Victor Wembanyama | 7-4 Center | 19 years old | France

Imagine: 7’4″ Kevin Durant with Rudy Gobert’s shot blocking

Core: Victor Wembanyama, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan, Tre Jones

San Antonio would be idiotic to trade their first overall pick, no matter the size of any trade proposal. Luckily, the Spurs have a proven track record of being a smart franchise. The core of Wembanyama, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, and Jeremy Sochan is just too enticing to mess with. Add some market free agents this offseason (*eyes emoji* Austin Reaves, *eyes emoji* Gary Trent Jr, *frown emoji* Bruce Brown), and the Spurs could make a run for the playoffs. 

2. Houston Rockets (via Charlotte Hornets)

TRADE: CHR receives – HOU’s no. 4, Kevin Porter Jr, and Jae’sean Tate | HOU receives – CHR’s no. 2

Scoot Henderson | 6-2 Guard | 19 years old | G-League Ignite

Imagine: 2011 Derrick Rose

Core: Scoot Henderson, Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Tari Eason, Jabari Smith, 

Not only is this trade realistic because Charlotte would agree to this deal, but Houston doesn’t seem satisfied with their current core. Scoot Henderson and Jalen Green would combine for an unreal one-two backcourt punch. Like San Antonio, the Rockets have some money to spend this off-season on free agents. A tone-setter like Draymond Green would be the smack in the face (pun not intended). Houston needs to wake up from a cultural perspective. 

3. Toronto Raptors (via Portland Trail Blazers)

TRADE: POR receives – Pascal Siakam | TOR receives – POR’s no. 3 and no. 23, Jusuf Nurkic and Nassir Little

Amen Thompson | 6-7 Guard | 20 years old | Overtime Elite

Imagine: Taller Ja Morant (with better defense and worse shooting)

Core: Scottie Barnes, Amen Thompson, O.G Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr*, 

In my opinion, this is a good trade for both sides. Toronto needs to take a step back and regroup their core, while Portland is desperate for star power. Unlike other trades hovering around the mock draft community, Portland wouldn’t need to sacrifice Anfernee Simons in this deal. Two first-round picks (including the third overall), an average starting center, and a decent younger player seem to be Siakam’s value. From Toronto’s perspective, Brandon Miller would make sense here. But my feeling would be that Masai Ujiri selects Amen Thompson. Thompson could transform Scottie Barnes into a more aggressive scorer while also providing elite athleticism and strong defense. 

*player option

4. Charlotte Hornets (via Houston Rockets)

TRADE: CHR receives – HOU’s no. 4, Kevin Porter Jr, and Jae’sean Tate | HOU receives – CHR’s no. 2

Brandon Miller | 6-9 Wing | 20 years old | Alabama

Imagine: Slightly lengthier Paul George

Core: LaMelo Ball, Brandon Miller, PJ Washington*, Kevin Porter Jr, Mark Williams

Hooray for Charlotte! Thanks to Toronto selecting Amen Thompson, the Hornets get to select their guy (a la Danny Ainge). Yes, I hate the Kevin Porter Jr backcourt, but would it really be that different from Scoot? Brandon Miller makes for a great hit into this Hornets core of LaMelo, PJ Washington, KPJ, and (maybe?) Miles Bridges

*restricted free agent

5. Detroit Pistons

Taylor Hendricks | 6-9 Forward | 19 years old | UCF

Imagine: Jaden McDaniels

Core: Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Taylor Hendricks, James Wiseman, Jalen Duren

I have been firm on Hendricks all year. With Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey controlling the majority of offensive possessions for Detroit, Hendricks won’t have the pressure to create buckets, unlike Whitmore. Hendricks just needs to space the floor and could be the best defender on this Pistons squad too. This might not be a sexy pick for Detroit, but it’s the right one. 

6. Orlando Magic

Ausar Thompson | 6-7 Wing | 20 years old | Overtime Elite

Imagine: 76ers Andre Iguodala

Core: Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Markelle Fultz, Ausar Thompson, Wendell Carter Jr

In past mocks, I have been extremely expressive for Orlando to select Gradey Dick at number 6. However, another option is taking Ausar Thompson here and waiting (risky!) for Dick at number 11. The Magic pride themselves in defense, and Thompson would fit nicely next to Fultz in the backcourt. Like his twin brother Amen, Ausar is also an elite athlete and has made better progress on his jumper. Outside scoring and spacing are still glaring issues, but Orlando will come out of this draft with Dick either at number 11 or trading.

7. Indiana Pacers

Jarace Walker | 6-8 Forward | 19 years old | Houston

Imagine: Aaron Gordon 

Core: Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, Myles Turner, Jarace Walker, Aaron Nesmith

A hand-in-glove fit for Indiana. The Pacers finished second to last in points allowed last season and don’t have any promising depth at their forward/wing. Not only would Walker be Indiana’s forward of the future alongside guards Haliburton and Mathurin, but he would also be their primary defender. With Walker’s jumbo size, Rick Carlisle could implement some good pick & roll action between Haliburton and Walker. 

NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Middle to End of Lottery

8. Brooklyn Nets (via Washington Wizards)

TRADE: WAS receives – Royce O’Neale, PHX no.23, and PHX 2025 first-round pick | BKN receives – WAS no. 8

Anthony Black | 6-7 Guard | 19 years old | Arkansas

Imagine: Josh Giddey (with more length and a pinch more burst)

Core: Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson*, Anthony Black, Nic Claxton, Cam Thomas

This one is my favorite of all the trades in this mock draft. Washington is stuck in the middle and can’t really improve their current squad with this pick. Instead, they add veteran three-and-D wing Royce O’Neale and two other first-round picks. On the other hand, Brooklyn selects Anthony Black to pair alongside a budding core of Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Nic Claxton (Claxton is one of the more underlooked improved players from last season). As a tall point guard, Black has strong defense and floor general tendencies. 

*-restricted free agent

9. Utah Jazz

Cam Whitmore | 6-7 Wing | 18 years old | Villanova

Imagine: Corey Brewer (but a pinch smaller and heftier) 

Core: Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, Cam Whitmore, Collin Sexton

Again, I have Cam Whitmore sliding to Utah at number nine overall. This has nothing to do with Whitmore; I prefer Hendricks’ two-way potential to Whitmore’s scoring potential. The Jazz are surprisingly in a good position here, ninth overall for Anthony Black, Ausar Thompson, Jarace Walker, or in this case, Cam Whitmore to fall in their hands. Whitmore has the possibility to be the scoring focal point of this Jazz rebuild. 

10. Dallas Mavericks

Dereck Lively II | 7-1 Center | 19 years old | Duke

Imagine: Jaxson Hayes

Starting 5: Kyrie Irving*, Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr, Reggie Bullock, Dereck Lively II

This is now the fourth consecutive time I have Dallas taking Lively. The Mavericks’ entire roster is a mess, and it starts with defense. Lively is the best shot-blocker in this draft class and is also a good roller to the rim. If Dallas continues to struggle near the trade deadline this year, they can package Josh Green, Jalen Hardy, and Lively for an immediate win-now player. 

*unrestricted free agent (plus it’s Kyrie)

11. Orlando Magic (via Chicago Bulls)

Gradey Dick | 6-6 Guard | 19 years old | Kansas

Imagine: If Malik Monk and Bojan Bogdanovic had a kid

Revised Core: Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Markelle Fultz, Ausar Thompson, Gradey Dick, Wendell Carter Jr

Orlando’s risk pays off by waiting to select Dick at 11. The Magic would benefit tremendously from a freelance shooter like Dick to space the floor for Paolo Banchero

12. Oklahoma City Thunder

Leonard Miller | 6-10 Forward | 19 years old | G-League Ignite

Imagine: Stretchy Paul Millsap

Core: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey, Chet Holmgren, Lu Dort, Leonard Miller

This is the prototypical Sam Presti pick. High-upside, athletic specimen, lengthy as all hell. Miller can bolster Oklahoma City’s frontcourt depth with the right development. Luckily enough for Miller, the Thunder have a pretty successful track record for developing promising, high-risk, high-reward talent. 

13. Toronto Raptors

Kobe Bufkin | 6-4 Guard | 19 years old | Michigan

Imagine: Immanuel Quickley

Revised Core: Scottie Barnes, Amen Thompson, O.G Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr, Kobe Bufkin, Precious Achiuwa

There is a universe where Bufkin can leap Wallace on draft day. I prefer Wallace’s two-way potential to Bufkin’s well-rounded game, especially with Amen Thompson already leading the backcourt. Regardless, Toronto should take a guard with their 13th overall selection with the possibility of Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. leaving this offseason.

14. New Orleans Pelicans

Cason Wallace | 6-4 Guard | 19 years old | Kentucky

Imagine: Jrue Holiday (but a pinch shorter)

Core: Zion Williamson, Trey Murphy III, Dyson Daniels, Herb Jones, Cason Wallace

Wallace’s value is too high for New Orleans to pass on at 14. I don’t necessarily love the backcourt fit of Dyson Daniels and Cason Wallace because of their lack of fluid shotmaking. However, there is no denying that Daniels and Wallace could end up becoming one of the best defensive backcourts in the entire league. 

NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Middle of the First Round

15. Atlanta Hawks

Jalen Hood-Schifino | 6-6 Wing/Guard | 20 years old | Indiana

Imagine: Spencer Dinwiddie

Atlanta’s Starting 5: Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, DeAndre Hunter, John Collins*, Clint Capela.

Atlanta doesn’t have a glaring hole that screams for improvement. However, they are married to their decent (but not tremendous) duo of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Adding another all-star to Atlanta’s core is out of the picture, thanks to the new CBA rules. The Hawks should take the best player available, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and continue bolstering their young talent collection. 

*-trading block

16. Utah Jazz (via Minnesota Timberwolves)

Dariq Whitehead | 6-6 Wing/Guard | 18 years old | Duke

Imagine: Derrick White

Revised Core: Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, Cam Whitmore, Collin Sexton, Dariq Whitehead

This is the highest I have Dariq Whitehead drafted on all four of my mock drafts. According to my gut, Nick Smith’s stock will collapse a few days before the draft (a la MPJ), and Whitehead’s will rise slightly. Despite Keyonte George still remaining on the draft board, Danny Ainge will take the high-risk, high-reward prospect of Whitehead instead. Utah is in no rush to compete for a championship anytime soon. 

17. Los Angeles Lakers

Jordan Hawkins | 6-5 Wing | 21 years old | UConn

Imagine: Richard Hamilton

Players 25 or younger: Austin Reaves*, Rui Hachimura*, Jarred Vanderbilt, Lonnie Walker IV^, Mo Bamba, 

The Lakers are in win-now mode, and Hawkins is a win-now prospect. There is a history of LeBron’s preference come draft night – winners. Not only did Hawkins dazzle in the NCAA tournament, but he also fits perfectly alongside James and Co (no, LeBron won’t retire). A polished three-and-D prospect, this pairing between Hawkins and Los Angeles was meant to be. 

^- unrestricted free agent *- restricted free agent

18. Miami Heat

Kris Murray | 6-8 Wing | 22 years old | Iowa

Imagine: Keegan Murray (or Tobias Harris if it cleanses your palate)  

Players 25 or younger: Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Omer Yurtseven*, Nikola Jovic

Murray is the type of player that Miami could use right now during the NBA Finals. A tall(ish) wing that can space the floor and provide a sturdy defense. There is no need for patience when drafting a player like Murray, who, at 22, is ready to compete against NBA-level talent.  

*-restricted free agent

19. Golden State Warriors

Keyonte George | 6-4 Guard | 19 years old | Baylor

Imagine: Bradley Beal

2022 Luxury Tax: $346 million 

Golden State hasn’t exactly had the best luck for drafting talent over the last four(ish) years. Ideally, the Warriors would want to take a ready-to-play prospect here at 19, with the franchise’s roster entering a period of uncertainty. However, snagging George this low is a high-way robbery. Yes, there might be a splash of Jordan Poole vibes with selecting George, but it is better to hit on a prospect than not to hit at all. 

20. Houston Rockets (via Los Angeles Clippers)

Rayan Rupert | 6-7 Wing | 19 years old | France

Imagine: Mikal Bridges

Revised Core: Scoot Henderson, Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Tari Eason, Jabari Smith, Rayan Rupert

Thanks to newly hired head coach Ime Udoka, Houston will surely improve defensively next season. Their next step is to acquire the personnel for a more defensive-focused foundation. Rupert (6-7 with a 7-3 wingspan) fits Houston’s needs, especially with a small backcourt of Scoot Henderson and Jalen Green. 

21. Washington Wizards (from Brooklyn Nets via Phoenix Suns)

TRADE: WAS receives – Royce O’Neale, PHX no.23, and PHX 2025 first-round pick | BKN receives – WAS no. 8

Nick Smith Jr. | 6-4 Guard | 19 years old | Arkansas

Imagine: Lonnie Walker IV (with a boosted float game)

Players 25 or younger: Daniel Gafford, Deni Avdija, Corey Kispert, Johnny Davis, Jay Huff*

Trading down to 21 and snagging a potential lottery talent should be considered a win for new front-office leaders Travis Schlenk and Michael Winger. It’s fair to say last year’s draft pick, Johnny Davis, didn’t play up to his expectations. Despite an injury-riddled season at Arkansas, Smith Jr can fill the shoes of what Davis was poised to accomplish. 

*-restricted free agent

22. Brooklyn Nets 

Bobi Klintman | 6-10 Forward | 20 years old | Wake Forest

Imagine: hyper stretchy Nicholas Batum

Draft Capital: 10 first-round picks throughout 2028

Selecting Klintman checks all of Brooklyn’s boxes for what they sought for this draft. High upside talent? Check. Positionally versatile? Check. Can he play next to Mikal Bridges? Check. Klintman is the ultimate question mark for this year’s draft. Klintman can polish himself into a really useful young basketball player with some extra time in the G-League.

23. Toronto Raptors (from Portland Trail Blazers via New York Knicks)

TRADE: POR receives – Pascal Siakam | TOR receives – POR’s no. 3 and no. 23, Jusuf Nurkic and Nassir Little

Brandin Podziemski | 6-5 Wing | 20 years old | Santa Clara

Imagine: Tyler Herro with playmaking ability

Revised Core: Scottie Barnes, Amen Thompson, O.G Anunoby, Kobe Bukfin, Brandin Podziemski, Gary Trent Jr, Precious Achiuwa

As an elite scorer and all-around offensive weapon, Podziemski would fit perfectly alongside defensive-minded Scottie Barnes and central playmaker Amen Thompson. Though Podziemski isn’t the prototypical Toronto prospect (lengthy and athletic as all hell), he can fit right in with the Raptors’ young core. 

NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Late First Round

24. Sacramento Kings

Sidy Cissoko | 6-7 Wing | 19 years old | G-League Ignite

Imagine: an Evan Turner and Jeff Green hybrid

Starting 5: De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes*, Keegan Murray, Domantas Sabonis

Defense, defense, defense! Sacramento needs to properly adjust their roster this offseason to improve their glaring defensive struggles. Though Cissoko might need some time to develop, he is the ideal defensive stopper for a desperate Sacramento team. 

*Unrestricted free agent

25. Memphis Grizzlies

Brice Sensabuagh | 6-6 Wing | 19 years old | Ohio State

Imagine: Michael Redd (minus the wonky shot release)

Starting five without Ja Morant: Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane, John Konchar, Jaren Jackson Jr, Steven Adams

Memphis would really benefit from another shotmaker next to Desmond Bane and (hopefully) Ja Morant. Luke Kennard is more of a catch-and-shoot, space-the-floor scorer, which is why the Grizzlies could use a pure scorer like Sensabaugh. 

26. Indiana Pacers (via Cleveland Cavaliers)

Jett Howard | 6-8 Wing | 19 years old | Michigan

Imagine: Khris Middleton (but even more boring)

Draft Capital: 9 first-round picks throughout 2029

Yes, more work must be done to address Indiana’s defensive issues, but it doesn’t hurt to add a floor-spacing wing if Tyrese Haliburton and Jarace Walker develop a pick & roll two-man game. 

27. Charlotte Hornets (via Denver Nuggets)

Andre Jackson Jr. | 6-6 Wing | 21 years old | UConn

Imagine: shades of Matisse Thybulle

2013 first-round draft pick: Cody Zeller

Jackson is the ideal fit around LaMelo Ball. As a dynamic athlete, Jackson uses his physical tools to be feared on defense. He has the positional versatility to defend both guards, wings, and smaller bigs. Additionally, Jackson also flies on the fastbreak, which would make for a fun connection with Ball. However, in half-court offenses, Jackson will be ignored for his inability to shoot the basketball. 

28. Utah Jazz (via Philadelphia 76ers)

Bilal Coulibaly | 6-7 Wing | 18 years old | France

Imagine: Torrey Craig

Draft Capital: 14 first-round picks throughout 2028

Utah will be lucky enough for Coulibaly to fall to 28th. Coulibaly has a high defensive upside and has shown glimpses of becoming a shotmaker next to Victor Wembanyama last season. As I said earlier, the Jazz are in no rush to compete for any championships soon. A patient franchise like Utah could mold Coulibaly into a long-lasting NBA player. 

29. Indiana Pacers (via Boston Celtics)

Noah Clowney | 6-10 Big | 18 years old | Alabama

Imagine: Chris Boucher

Indiana frontcourt depth: Myles Turner, Jalen Smith, Isaiah Jackson

With nearly every positional hole filled for the Pacers roster, Clowney puts the cherry on top for Indiana’s frontcourt depth. Though Clowney’s game isn’t as polished as other draft prospects, he has the potential to become a useful big on both ends of the floor. What excites me most about this selection is how similar his game is to current center Myles Turner’s (same style, different build). Clowney could mold into a lengthier, more durable version of Turner. 

30. Los Angeles Clippers (via Milwaukee Bucks)

Maxwell Lewis | 6-6 Wing | 20 years old | Pepperdine

Imagine: Trey Murphy III

Players 25 or younger: Bones Hyland, Amir Coffey, Jason Preston

Lewis is the easy choice here for the Clippers. Tarnished of assets, investing in promising three-and-D wing Maxwell Lewis would be wise. By no means is Lewis a win-now prospect, but LA needs to start to think of their future without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. 

NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Second Round

31. Detroit Pistons

Colby Jones | 6-6 Wing | 21 years old | Xavier

32. Indiana Pacers (via Houston Rockets)

Ben Sheppard | 6-6 Guard | 21 years old | Belmont

33. San Antonio Spurs

Marcus Sasser | 6-1 Guard | 22 years old | Houston

34. Charlotte Hornets

G.G Jackson | 6-6 Wing | 18 years old | South Carolina

35. Boston Celtics (via Portland Trail Blazers)

Jaime Jaquez Jr. | 6-6 Wing | 22 years old | UCLA

36. Orlando Magic

Tristan Vukcevic | 7-0 Big | 20 years old | Serbia

37. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Washington Wizards)

James Nnaji | 6-10 Big | 18 years old | Nigeria

38. Sacramento Kings (via Indiana Pacers)

Trayce Jackson-Davis | 6-8 Big | 23 years old | Indiana

39. Charlotte Hornets (via Utah Jazz)

Julian Strwather | 6-6 Wing | 21 years old | Gonzaga

40. Denver Nuggets (via Dallas Mavericks)

Kobe Brown | 6-8 Wing | 23 years old | Missouri

41. Charlotte Hornets (via Oklahoma City Thunder)

Jordan Walsh | 6-6 Wing | 19 years old | Arkansas

42. Washington Wizards (via Chicago Bulls)

Olivier-Maxence Prosper | 6-8 Wing | 20 years old | Marquette

43. Portland Trail Blazers (via Atlanta Hawks)

Mouhamed Gueye | 6-11 Big | 20 years old | Washington State

44. San Antonio Spurs 

Seth Lundy | 6-6 Wing | 23 years old | Penn State

45. Memphis Grizzlies

Amari Bailey | 6-5 Guard | 19 years old | UCLA

Rex Foster’s NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Rest of the Second Round

46. Atlanta Hawks (via New Orleans Pelicans)

Julian Phillips | 6-7 Wing | 19 years old | Tennessee 

47. Los Angeles Lakers

Terquavion Smith | 6-2 Guard | 20 years old | NC State

48. Los Angeles Clippers

Emoni Bates | 6-9 Wing | 19 years old | Eastern Michigan

49. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Golden State Warriors)

Jalen Wilson | 6-8 Wing | 22 years old | Kansas

50. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Miami Heat)

Ricky Council IV | 6-6 Guard | 21 years old | Arkansas

51. Brooklyn Nets

Adama Sanogo | 6-9 Big | 21 years old | UConn

52. Phoenix Suns

Jordan Miller | 6-7 Guard/Wing | 23 years old | Miami

53. Minnesota Timberwolves (via New York Knicks)

Toumani Camara | 6-8 Wing | 23 years old | Dayton

54. Sacramento Kings

Isaiah Wong | 6-4 Guard | 22 years old | Miami

55. Indiana Pacers (via Cleveland Cavaliers)

Azuolas Tubelis | 6-11 Big | 21 years old | Arizona

56. Memphis Grizzlies

Keyontae Johnson | 6-6 Guard/Wing | 23 years old | Kansas State

57. Chicago Bulls (via Denver)


58. Philadelphia 76ers 


59. Washington Wizards (via Boston Celtics)

Tosan Evbuomwan | 6-8 Big | 22 years old | Princeton

60. Milwaukee Bucks

Oscar Tshiebwe | 6-9 Big | 23 years old | Kentucky

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