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2023 NBA Draft Winners And Losers

© Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NBA Draft took place on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It was relatively uneventful, with not a lot of trades of odd picks occurring. But it was still fun. Here are some winners & losers from the night’s festivities.

You can check out draft profiles for players here.

2023 NBA Draft Winners And Losers


Houston Rockets

Last year I said that the Houston Rockets blew the draft out of the water. They may have just done that again. Their two picks were awesome. First they got Amen Thompson with the 4th overall pick, one of the two Thompson twins from Overtime Elite who led the City Reapers to the OTE championship this season. Amen will immediately be one of the NBA’s best athletes. He has all the athletic tools you want from your point guard in the NBA: speed, jumping, size, and just overall athleticism. At 6’7″ with a 6’11” wingspan, he also has great size and length.

Then with the 20th pick they got the steal of the draft. Cam Whitmore has top 5 talent at the Rockets got him at #20. He fell due to concerns stemming from his workouts and interviews, as well as potential medical concerns, but he has incredible upside. I already mentioned that he has top 5 talent. Scouts around the league believe that Whitmore may have the most NBA-ready body of anyone in this draft class. He is super talented and is, again, a steal.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs made two trades and added a ton of size on draft night, drafting a center and a power forward and trading for a center. After a trade with the Thunder, Dallas selected Duke center Dereck Lively II with the 12th overall pick. It took Lively a little bit to get going at Duke, but got a lot better as the season went on. He might not be ready immediately, but he has a great work ethic. He could be like a Brook Lopez type of player who is a good big man and then develops a three-point shot as his career goes on. After a trade with the Kings, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, who skyrocketed up draft boards in recent months and is now a first round pick.

In addition to both of those picks, they also got center Richaun Holmes from the Kings. Oh, and they also got rid of Dāvis Bertāns‘ contract. Superb night.

San Antonio Spurs

They got Victor Wembanyama. Enough said.

Charlotte Hornets

Most of the time Charlotte Hornets drafts don’t end up going very well when viewed years down the line. That is likely to change this year.  With the second overall pick they selected Brandon Miller, who had an incredible freshman season at Alabama. He was the SEC ROY, the SEC Tournament MVP, and was a consensus All-American. The Hornets have gotten some heat on social media for selecting Miller over Scoot Henderson, but due to their team needs I think that it was the right decision.

The Hornets also got a steal with the 27th pick, selecting Miller’s former AAU teammate Nick Smith Jr. Smith Jr. dealt with right knee injuries all season at Arkansas, missing nineteen games, but you cannot deny the immense talent that he possesses. when fully healthy.

Los Angeles Lakers

Jalen Hood-Schifino is just what the Lakers needed. He is a very athletic and versatile guard with good handles. HE can do a lot of different things with the ball, and is the kind of player that Los Angeles was clearly lacking at times last season. They made a trade in the second round, moving up to select Pepperdine Waves forward Maxwell Lewis, who could be a good player off the bench for them.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league last season. To remedy that they drafted Gradey Dick, one of the best shooters in college basketball this past season, with the 13th overall pick. Dick shot over 40% from three for Kansas. He also have good length as a 6’8″ shooting guard. Oh, and did you see his suit?

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Gradey Dick and Dorothy… two Kansas natives!<a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NBADraft</a> presented by State Farm <br>⏰ 8 PM ET on ABC/ESPN <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; NBA (@NBA) <a href=””>June 22, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

High Payroll Teams Getting Good Value Players

The Warriors (Brandin Podziemski), Heat (Jaime Jaquez Jr., who is also a perfect fit for the Heat Culture.), and Nuggets (Julian Strawther) are all high payroll teams that drafted players that can help them immediately and are win-now players.


Orlando Magic

For the second straight year I have the Magic as one of my draft losers. What they did on Thursday just kind of confused me. They already have a bunch of guards on their roster, and then took two more with the 6th and 11th overall picks. Anthony Black is really good on both sides of the ball, so it isn’t a terrible pick. I think that Jett Howard was a slight reach at #11. While he is a good three-point shooter (Something Orlando needs.), he is not a good rebounder for his size.

Portland Trail Blazers

I don’t think that I’m alone in wondering what Portland’s future plans are. Are they trading Dame or not? what are they doing the rest of this offseason? Drafting Scoot Henderson is a very good pick. But they have a ton of guards now. They took another guard in the second round in Rayan Rupert despite needing help in the frontcourt. Kris Murray was a great pick later on in the first round. but despite Henderson and Murray the reason I list them is losers is because they just don’t seem to have a clear direction for the future of their franchise even after tonight.

Not Many Bad Drafts

There really weren’t many bad drafts. Not really any huge reaches with selections of players. There were multiple teams that had some bad selections but had other picks that were good enough to make up for the bad. Most “bad” drafts this year will be mostly subjective.


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