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The Definitive 2023 NBA Draft Preview & Mock Draft: Off Tackle Empire Edition

Lots of guys you’ve never heard of

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NBA: Draft
Dammit stop stealing our players
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Drafts. Where billion dollar businesses pin their hopes and dreams on barely formed teenagers. We at OTE love drafts, and are here to provide you with the definitive draft preview. It’s on tonight at 8 pm on ESPN and ABC.

  1. San Antonio Spurs: C Victor Wembanyama. The Spurs take what everyone describes as the most can’t miss prospect since Lebron James. “Wemby” is the size of Zach Edey but plays more like a point forward. Imagine if Zach Edey could handle the ball like a point guard and drive and shoot threes. That’s Wemby. Of course, a smart team would just draft Edey next year, since Matt Painter has clearly been hiding his skills in favor of him lurching under the basket.
  2. Charlotte Bobcats: SF Brandon Miller. Miller popped up draft boards with an extremely strong freshman campaign at Alabama . He is the epitome of today’s fascination with “3 and D,” as he’s 6’9’’ and can bury threes off the pass and be a formidable matchup on defense. His question marks are whether he can do anything but shoot and also did he really not know what was going on in that murder case? Oh well, details.
  3. Portland Trailblazers: PG Scoot Henderson. By God, who wouldn’t draft a guy named Scoot? Also, Scoot profiles as a Derrick Rose Before He Turned Into Mr. Glass type of athletic guard who is nearly unstoppable off the bounce. We didn’t get to see him in college because he went to the G League instead (thanks, NCAA).
  4. Houston Rockets: SF Amen Thompson. Speaking of guys you’ve never heard of, Thompson played in the Overtime Elite league with his twin brother Ausar. A whole business sprouted up to take advantage of the fact that the NCAA doesn’t want to pay its athletes. Anyways, Thompson is a super duper 6’6’’ athlete who can do everything on the court except shoot straight. Hey, making shots is overrated.
  5. Detroit Pistons: SF Cam Whitmore: Hey, a guy who played in the NCAA! Whitmore played at Villanova, who sucked last year. He wasn’t particularly great for them, either. He plays like a more explosive Brice Sensabaugh, and can score from anywhere and attack the rim. However, the other guys on the court might as well stand around and play Zelda while he goes to work.
  6. Orlando Magic: SF Ausar Thompson: The other Overtime Elite guy and twin brother to Amen. Cut and paste Amen’s profile here, except that Ausar is a bit less of an athlete but a bit more skilled shooting the ball and playing defense. Put these guys in the twin study program along with the Murray and Davis twins.
  7. Indiana Pacers: PF Jarace Walker: Walker played at Houston under former Hoosier coach and telephone expert Kelvin Sampson. As you might expect, he’s a terror on defense and somewhat limited offensively. I wonder what the Hoosiers would look like if they went all SEC when the NCAA came after Sampson for his telecommunications crimes. Fight the man, people.
  8. Washington Bullets Wizards: PF Taylor Hendricks. Remember 3 and D? That is Hendricks. You probably don’t remember seeing him play for a crappy UCF team last year, but he’s 6’9, can defend everyone, and shoots 40 percent from three. The NBA can find a spot for a guy like that.
  9. Utah Jazz: PG Anthony Black: Black played at Arkansas, so you might have actually seen him. He’s a jumbo sized point guard who plays outstanding defense and can really get after it athletically. He can run and pass with the best of them. He can’t shoot with the best of them, and the knock on him is whether he is much of a threat in the halfcourt. He’s Aaron Craft but big and fast.
  10. Dallas Mavericks: C Derrick Lively. We’ve got a Dukie on the board! Lively is a live athlete and really long and tall. He doesn’t really have any offensive skills yet and makes most of his living be long and tall, but that counts for a lot in basketball as long as you can move your feet.
  11. Orlando Magic: SG Kobe Bufkin. B1G ALERT. Yes, we’ve got a real, live B1G player here, albeit for Michigan, who barely resembled a competent outfit last season. It is kind of weird to think that Michigan had two first round draft picks and Hunter Dickinson on their roster and finished in the NIT. Well, anyways. Bufkin has shot up draft boards due to his ability to score and potentially play the point while being a plus defender.
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder: SF Bilal Coulibaly. Here comes another Frenchman. Let’s transition to where we think B1G guys could end up. Courtesy of John Hollinger.

18. Miami Heat: SF Jett Howard. Hey, another Michigan guy. Howard is sort of the anti-Thompson. He has a beautiful shot and can score from anywhere, but isn’t particularly athletic and looks overmatched defensively playing against pretty much anyone.

20. Houston Rockets: PG Jalen Hood-Schifino. JHS, we hardly knew you. His one year at Indiana had ups and downs and leaves him pretty much where he started. He’s a big strong guard who is inconsistent on offense but should be pretty be able to provide some defense given that he is, you know, big and strong.

28. Utah Jazz: SF Brice Sensabaugh. A one and done for the Buckeyes, who must have been good this season, right? Forget about that. Brice is a pretty easy evaluation, in that he has a real knack for scoring from anywhere on the court and taking guys one on one. But at Ohio State he often forgot other guys were on the court and was lost defensively.

29. Indiana Pacers, SF Kris Murray. Another year, another Murray brother comes out of Iowa. Kris looks a lot like his brother Keegan, which isn’t surprising given their identical DNA. He’s just a bit slower and more deliberate, which is why he’s down here and not in the lottery. But he still is a big guy who can shoot threes and defend, so the NBA will find a spot for him.

Other dudes who might get picked

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana: One of the best B1G players over the past four years, TJD is off to try the NBA. He does a lot well for a college center, but he’s isn’t particularly tall and doesn’t have much offensive game outside of four feet from the basket. Still, he can run and defend and that means he can stay on the court.

Seth Lundy, Penn State: Lundy helped Penn State torch the nets last season, shooting 40% from three. He also has great size for a guard. However, he never passed much at Penn State and it’s questionable whether he has enough defense to stay on the court. But still, big and can shoot is an NBA combo.

Jalen Pickett, Penn State: Pickett was fabulous for the Nits, but his game is a little less NBA ready compared to Lundy. He’s small, not that athletic, and lived mostly on bullying guys. That’s going to be a lot tougher when everyone is bigger than he is. Still, if anyone is going to figure it out, it may be him.

Caleb McConnell, Rutgers. You remember this guy. The two time Defensive Player of the Year in the Big Ten tries to turn pro. He can D. But the 3? Not so much. Not a ton of opportunities for guys who aren’t threats to score in an open gym.

Chase Audige, Northwestern: Audige chose to stay in the draft rather than return to a contending Cats team. Probably working on his language skills. Maybe German? Japanese? He better get his passport warmed up.