The NBA Draft is always one of the most exciting nights on the league calendar, and the 2023 edition was no exception. Equal parts predictable and dramatic, the event began with Victor Wembanyama walking the stage and ending with a flurry of trades.
But how did each team perform? And who were some of the most — and least — valuable picks made?
Dive into my 2023 NBA Draft grades to see how your favorite squad stacks up.
NBA lines are current as of Friday, June 23, at 10 a.m. ET and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
2023 NBA Draft Team Grades
For a full recap of the 2023 NBA Draft, dive into my NBA Draft Tracker.
|1||Spurs||Victor Wembanyama (1)||A+|
|2||Rockets||Cam Whitmore (20)||A+|
|3||Mavericks||Olivier Maxence-Prosper (24)||A|
|4||Trail Blazers||Scoot Henderson (3)||A|
|5||Hornets||Brandon Miller (2)||A|
|6||Jazz||Taylor Hendricks (9)||A-|
|7||Pelicans||Jordan Hawkins (14)||A-|
|8||Raptors||Gradey Dick (13)||A-|
|9||Pacers||Jarace Walker (8)||B+|
|10||Lakers||Jalen Hood-Schifino (17)||B+|
|11||Pistons||Ausar Thompson (5)||B+|
|12||Warriors||Trayce Jackson-Davis (57)||B+|
|13||Magic||Jett Howard (11)||B|
|14||Wizards||Bilal Coulibaly (7)||B|
|15||Heat||Jaime Jaquez Jr. (18)||B|
|16||Nuggets||Jalen Pickett (32)||B|
|17||Hawks||Kobe Bufkin (15)||B|
|18||Nets||Dariq Whitehead (22)||B-|
|19||Thunder||Keyontae Johnson (50)||B-|
|20||Kings||Colby Jones (34)||B-|
|21||Timberwolves||Leonard Miller (33)||B-|
|22||Celtics||Jordan Walsh (38)||B-|
|23||Bucks||Andre Jackson Jr. (36)||C+|
|24||Clippers||Jordan Miller (48)||C+|
|25||Cavaliers||Emoni Bates (49)||C+|
|26||Suns||Toumani Camara (52)||C|
|27||Grizzlies||G.G. Jackson (45)||C|
|28||Bulls||Julian Phillips (35)||C-|
2023 NBA Draft: A Grades
1. San Antonio Spurs: A+
Picks: Victor Wembanyama (No. 1), Sidy Cissoko (No. 44)
The Spurs were destined to win the draft the moment they were awarded the No. 1 overall pick, which was rightly used to select French phenom Victor Wembanyama. There’s nothing he can’t do, and he instantly transforms a team that won 22 games last season into a playoff contender.
If that wasn’t enough, San Antonio made a value play in the second round by taking Sidy Cissoko at No. 44 overall. He has a high ceiling as a two-way wing, and at just 19 years old, he fits this team’s timeline perfectly.
2. Houston Rockets: A+
Picks: Amen Thompson (No. 4), Cam Whitmore (No. 20)
The Rockets selected who they believed to be the better of the two Thompson twins at No. 4, adding another young, bouncy athlete alongside Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr.
However, the reason Houston gets an A+ is because of its selection of Cam Whitmore at No. 20, who saw his stock fall dramatically as the night went on. It wouldn’t have been a huge surprise to see Whitmore go somewhere in the top five, so landing him late in the first qualifies as a major steal.
3. Dallas Mavericks: A
Picks: Dereck Lively II (No. 12), Olivier Maxence-Prosper (No. 24)
The Mavericks filled two immediate needs with potential long-term options in Dereck Lively II and Olivier Maxence-Prosper. Both players have high ceilings on the defensive end of the floor, and while unproven, Lively may well become the best traditional big man in his class.
I would expect each of them to find ways to contribute as rookies, but I’m a bit higher on Maxence-Prosper’s potential in Year 1. He has the tools to make an impact right away as a 3-and-D wing, and his ability to play off the ball makes him a seamless fit alongside Luka Dončić and (potentially) Kyrie Irving.
4. Portland Trail Blazers: A
Picks: Scoot Henderson (No. 3), Kris Murray (No. 23), Rayan Rupert (No. 43)
Portland stood pat at No. 3 and selected Scoot Henderson, who was considered by many to be the best guard prospect in the class. He’s an unbelievable athlete who is driven to succeed on both ends of the floor, and with or without Damian Lillard, he should do well in his rookie year.
The Blazers rounded out their class by selecting Kris Murray (Keegan Murray‘s twin brother) and Rayan Rupert, giving them a mix of players who can contribute now and in the future.
5. Charlotte Hornets: A
Picks: Brandon Miller (No. 2), Nick Smith Jr. (No. 27), James Nnaji (No. 31), Amari Bailey (No. 41)
Miller was the highest-rated collegiate player in his class, and Charlotte didn’t hesitate to take him at No. 2, viewing him as an All-Star talent. He’s a three-level scorer with some serious two-way potential, and his skillset will allow him to mesh well with LaMelo Ball.
The Hornets also snagged a former five-star recruit in Nick Smith Jr., who likely would have been drafted much earlier had he not battled injuries as a freshman. James Nnaji and Amari Bailey also have relatively high ceilings, and landing in Charlotte means they won’t need to rush their development.
6. Utah Jazz: A-
Picks: Taylor Hendricks (No. 9), Keyonte George (No. 16), Brice Sensabaugh (No. 28)
I’m not as high on Keyonte George as others seem to be, but I loved Utah’s selections of Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabugh. Hendricks projects as a prototypical modern wing, boasting an impressive frame, great defensive instincts, and a knockdown shooter from beyond the arc.
Sensabaugh may never be a plus-defender, but he can offset that weakness with his pure scoring ability. He shot 48% from the field and 40.5% from three-point range as a freshman at Ohio State, averaging over 16 points in just 24.5 minutes per game.
7. New Orleans Pelicans: A-
Pick: Jordan Hawkins (No. 14)
Every team needs a shooter like Jordan Hawkins, and the Pelicans used their only pick of the night to bring him in. The 21-year-old UConn product put up nearly eight threes per game this past year, converting at a 38.8% rate.
New Orleans ranked second-to-last in three-point attempts this past season, so Hawkins figures to be someone who can immediately step in and make a difference. This pick checks a ton of boxes and provides the Pelicans with a long-term answer to their nagging three-point problem.
8. Toronto Raptors: A-
Pick: Gradey Dick (No. 13)
I honestly didn’t expect to see Gradey Dick available at No. 13, so I don’t blame the Raptors for picking him up. He’s a talented offensive prospect who was highly efficient as a freshman at Kansas, averaging 14.1 points per game on 44.2% shooting from the field and 40.3% from deep.
With Fred VanVleet potentially on his way out of Toronto this summer, the Raptors were smart to take an offensive-minded prospect with their only pick in this draft. He should be an immediate contributor for a team that lacked perimeter scoring in 2022-23.
2023 NBA Draft: B Grades
9. Indiana Pacers: B+
Picks: Jarace Walker (No. 8), Ben Sheppard (No. 26), Mojave King (No. 47), Isaiah Wong (No. 55)
Indiana gets points for trading back and still managing to select Jarace Walker, who’s bursting at the seams with two-way potential. I love his fit alongside Tyrese Haliburton, and he fills a need for a Pacers team that was lacking quality options at the four in 2022-23.
I’m intrigued by Ben Sheppard and Mojave King, but Isaiah Wong was arguably the best pick Indiana made all night. A four-year player at Miami, Wong was one of the top players in college basketball over the past few years and could genuinely impact winning as soon as this season.
10. Los Angeles Lakers: B+
Picks: Jalen Hood-Schifino (No. 17), Maxwell Lewis (No. 40)
The Lakers made two sound selections on Thursday night, nabbing Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino at No. 17 and Maxwell Lewis at No. 40. Both players can contribute right away and improve down the line, which bodes well for Los Angeles’ perennial win-now attitude.
I’m particularly interested in seeing how the Lakers use Hood-Schifino this coming season. This team lacks a young playmaker, and his ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor could help him find a permanent spot in the rotation in 2023-24.
11. Detroit Pistons: B+
Picks: Ausar Thompson (No. 5), Marcus Sasser (No. 25)
Detroit didn’t have its pick of the Thompson twins, but it’s possible that it still got the better of the two. Ausar currently has a more well-rounded game compared to Amen, while still possessing many of the same strengths. I love his fit next to Jaden Ivey, Cade Cunningham, and Jalen Duren.
The Pistons also traded into the No. 25 pick to select Marcus Sasser, who was one of the best players in college basketball last year. He’s undersized at 6-foot-1, but he shines on both ends of the floor and makes winning plays.
Detroit made two valuable selections.
12. Golden State Warriors: B+
Picks: Brandin Podziemski (No. 19), Trayce Jackson-Davis (No. 57)
Getting Brandin Podziemski at No. 19 was excellent, but I was equally impressed with Golden State snagging Trayce Jackson-Davis at No. 57. He started in all 126 games of his college career and averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2.9 blocks per game as a senior.
Both of these players can and will see time on the floor this season, but I’m curious to see how much use Jackson-Davis gets. He’s an explosive athlete and one of the most experienced players in this class, and I don’t doubt that he can contribute right away for the contending Warriors.
13. Orlando Magic: B
Picks: Anthony Black (No. 6), Jett Howard (No. 11)
I understand why Orlando wanted a playmaker at No. 6, but that doesn’t mean this franchise doesn’t have questions to answer this offseason. The Magic already have Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, and Markelle Fultz on the roster, making for a particularly crowded backcourt.
The Jett Howard pick is my favorite of the two. He put up over seven three-pointers per game as a freshman and converted at a 36.8% rate, which should make a big difference for an Orlando squad that ranked 25th in three-point makes in 2022-23.
14. Washington Wizards: B
Picks: Bilal Coulibaly (No. 7), Tristan Vukčević (No. 42)
The Wizards traded up to select one of the biggest risers of this year’s class in Bilal Coulibaly, and I can’t blame them. A teammate of Victor Wembanyama in France, Coulibaly got plenty of exposure and earned (deserved) recognition for his 3-and-D potential, improving his Rookie of the Year odds in the process.
Tristan Vukčević is more of an upside play, but it’ll take some time before we see him make an impact in the NBA. Washington is in full rebuild mode, so now is the perfect time to target high-ceiling prospects who still need a little time to develop.
15. Miami Heat: B
Pick: Jaime Jaquez Jr. (No. 18)
The Heat made good use of their only pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, selecting UCLA standout Jaime Jaquez Jr. at No. 18. An underrated athlete with a high basketball IQ and motor, Jaquez is someone who improves Miami’s chances of returning to the NBA Finals in 2024.
Jaquez may not have the highest ceiling compared to other prospects that were available in this range, but he does have one of the highest floors in his class, and that matters for a team like Miami that’s looking to win as soon as possible.
16. Denver Nuggets: B
Picks: Julian Strawther (No. 29), Jalen Pickett (No. 32), Hunter Tyson (No. 37)
The Nuggets made the most of their first-round selection in 2022, with Christian Braun playing a relatively important role for them throughout the NBA Playoffs. Denver will be hoping it can find some of that same potential in Julian Strawther, Jalen Pickett, and Hunter Tyson, all of whom were solid selections.
I’m highest on Pickett, who reminds me of Bruce Brown. The fifth-year guard did everything for Penn State this past year, averaging 17.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.6 assists while shooting 38.1% from beyond the arc and 50.8% from the field.
17. Atlanta Hawks: B
Picks: Kobe Bufkin (No. 15), Mouhamed Gueye (No. 39), Seth Lundy (No. 46)
Atlanta managed to snag Kobe Bufkin at No. 15, who many expected to be a potential top-10 pick. The Michigan product is a two-way talent who plays well above his 6-foot-4 frame on defense, and he’s only just started to show what he can do on the other end of the floor.
The Seth Lundy selection is another that I’m fond of. Atlanta needs shooting (it ranked 28th in three-point attempts last season), and Lundy knocked down 40% of his 6.4 attempts per game as a senior at Penn State.
18. Brooklyn Nets: B-
Picks: Noah Clowney (No. 21), Dariq Whitehead (No. 22), Jalen Wilson (No. 51)
The Nets are in the rebuilding stage, which is why their selection of Jalen Wilson at No. 51 was a bit puzzling to me. He has upside for sure, but he’s more of a high-floor prospect that would be better suited to help out a team looking to win now.
Otherwise, I thought Brooklyn had a great draft. Noah Clowney is 18 and only just figuring out what he can become, while Dariq Whitehead was a consensus five-star high school recruit who struggled to stay healthy throughout his lone year at Duke.
19. Oklahoma City Thunder: B-
Picks: Cason Wallace (No. 10), Keyontae Johnson (No. 50)
The Thunder moved up to select Cason Wallace, obviously enamored with his defensive potential. The former Kentucky wildcat averaged 2.0 steals per game as a freshman and figures to complement Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey in the backcourt.
I thought Oklahoma City made a better value pick at No. 50, snagging Kansas State standout Keyontae Johnson. Not only is he one of the best stories of this class, but he’s someone who can immediately help a team that was surprisingly close to earning a playoff spot in 2022-23.
20. Sacramento Kings: B-
Picks: Colby Jones (No. 34), Jalen Slawson (No. 54)
I’m not wild about either of Sacramento’s picks, but I can see the upside. Colby Jones is a floor-raiser who should help the Kings improve on defense, while Slawson has some two-way potential as a 3-and-D wing as well.
Sacramento may have been better off addressing other needs — frontcourt depth is a big one — but perhaps that’s a question the franchise plans to answer via free agency instead.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves: B-
Picks: Leonard Miller (No. 33), Jaylen Clark (No. 53)
The Timberwolves did well to improve their wing depth by adding G League standout Leonard Miller early in the second round, and Jaylen Clark’s defensive versatility allows him the opportunity to fill in behind multiple positions off the bench.
I like both players, and I can’t knock the value that Minnesota got with both picks. There are just a lot of other teams that drafted well.
22. Boston Celtics: B-
Pick: Jordan Walsh (No. 38)
Walsh plays with an intensity on the defensive end that’s rarely seen, especially from such a young prospect. After trading away Marcus Smart earlier in the week, I’m fond of the decision to bring in a guy who could serve as his replacement down the line.
Walsh has a massive 7-foot-3 wingspan and plays with a ton of effort. I wouldn’t have been opposed to Boston drafting a more NBA-ready prospect, but the fit is obvious.
2023 NBA Draft: C Grades
23. Milwaukee Bucks: C+
Picks: Andre Jackson Jr. (No. 36), Chris Livingston (No. 58)
Andre Jackson Jr. is someone who can contribute right away for a Bucks team that could have difficulty making valuable additions via free agency this summer. He does a little bit of everything and has great defensive upside, which should help him earn time on the floor this season.
It’s hard to knock the Chris Livingston pick given that it was the final selection of the night, but I felt that there were higher-upside prospects still available that would have been better fits in Milwaukee.
24. Los Angeles Clippers: C+
Picks: Kobe Brown (No. 30), Jordan Miller (No. 48)
The Clippers are committed to their win-now approach, as evidenced by the fact that they added two of the oldest prospects available in this year’s draft class. Both Kobe Brown and Jordan Miller will turn 24 in January.
With that said, each player brings NBA-level skills to a team that’s about as reliant on its depth as it comes in this league. Brown converted an absurd 45.5% of his three-point attempts this past year, while Miller is a versatile wing who does a little bit of everything.
25. Cleveland Cavaliers: C+
Pick: Emoni Bates (No. 49)
Cleveland took a swing on Emoni Bates, a one-time ultra-hyped prospect who drew comparisons to Kevin Durant when he was barely in high school. He’s yet to live up to that potential, but it’s hard to be too critical of the Cavaliers for taking on some risk.
To his credit, Bates performed relatively well this past year with Eastern Michigan (19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds per game), though it’s difficult to say if he’ll ever pan out in the NBA. If he does, he may help improve a Cleveland offense that ranked 25th in points per game in 2022-23.
26. Phoenix Suns: C
Pick: Toumani Camara (No. 52)
Phoenix depleted most of its depth by trading for Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, so to say that it needed to find a potentially valuable bench piece via the NBA Draft was an understatement. Toumani Camara could be that guy, but this doesn’t stand out as a great choice.
Camara is a versatile defender with the ideal size for a wing, and although he shot over 36% from three-point range this past year at Dayton, he’s still an unproven shooter.
27. Memphis Grizzlies: C
Picks: G.G. Jackson (No. 45), Tarik Biberović (No. 56)
G.G. Jackson is a huge upside play for the Grizzlies. Although he’s a former five-star recruit, he struggled to find consistency in his lone year at South Carolina and still needs time to work on his game on both ends of the floor.
By no means is he a win-now guy.
The same can be said of Tarik Biberović, who will reportedly be a draft-and-stash for Memphis. Neither he nor Jackson figures to make a significant impact in the near future, which is strange since the Grizzlies seem to want to go all-in with their current group.
28. Chicago Bulls: C-
Pick: Julian Phillips (No. 35)
It’s been a while since the Bulls have had a good draft, and this year is no exception. Chicago has the personnel to push for a playoff spot in 2023-24 but could use a little help off the bench, which is why its selection of Julian Phillips at No. 35 is a confounding one.
Phillips is a pure upside prospect. He’ll be 19 when the season begins, and he was once a highly-touted recruit. However, his .411/.239/.822 shooting splits cast doubt on his ability to help this team improve this season. It’s an interesting draft strategy, to say the least.