Tag Archives: NBA Draft

NBA Draft: Winners/Losers, Surprises, Storylines

Victor Wembanyama, first pick in the 2023 NBA draft
Photo Credit: Christian Liewig-Cortis/Getty Images

On Thursday night, both rounds of the 2023 NBA draft took place. This, along with free agency, is one of the pinnacles of the off-season. It’s a sign of hope for teams that lack it, and it shows of a glimpse of some players who may develop into household names. With that in mind, let’s take a look at everything that happened on draft night.

NBA Draft Winners


The Spurs won the draft as soon as the lottery took place, when they secured the first overall pick. That allowed them to take Victor Wembanyama, who is easily the most talented player in the draft. San Antonio will now build their future around the young phenom.

Trail Blazers

Aside from San Antonio, Portland could be considered the biggest winner for both the lottery and the draft as a whole. Landing the third pick was massive for the franchise, but it seemed all for naught in what looked like a draft with two prospects who were above the rest of the field.

That is until Charlotte, holding the second pick, passed on Scoot Henderson in favor or Brandon Miller. Miller might turn out to be an excellent player, and this is not a slight on him. However, Portland had a gem of a player in Henderson fall right into their hands. Starting with Henderson, and the core they already have in Portland, things might finally be looking up in the Pacific Northwest.


Although Dallas didn’t make as many waves as the previous two, they had an excellent night. Most importantly, they opened up some cap space by getting rid of Davis Bertans’ $80 million contract, and only dropped two spots in the process.

With the 12th pick, they landed Dereck Lively, who, according to reports, was their target all along. Then, they made another trade, with Sacramento, taking over the 24th pick and grabbing Richaun Holmes in the process. With that pick, they selected Olivier-Maxence Prosper. Dallas did an excellent job of navigating out of a tricky situation here.

NBA Draft Losers


This seems like an easy pick. Brandon Miller should turn into a very good, possibly even very great player. He might be so good that the NBA world forgets about this whole draft-night saga.

However, passing on Scoot Henderson seems like a bad decision. Instead of taking the best player available at the second spot, Charlotte drafted for fit, which just isn’t smart this high in the draft. The Hornets will have to hope Miller turns out well, or this might be an infamous miss for Charlotte.

Almost Every Team Besides the Rockets

Truth be told, the Rockets were a good candidate to find themselves in the “winners” section of this piece. Every year, there seems to be one player that drops off the face of the map on draft night. This year it was Cam Whitmore.

The Rockets were likely stunned, and they could not believe their luck when he fell to them at the 20th pick. Whitmore has his reported health concerns, and he didn’t have the best season at Villanova. Still, his upside is tremendous, and he seems like a great fit with Ime Udoka in Houston. The Rockets got unbelievably good value here with the 20th selection.

Damian Lillard

In the sense regarding Lillard’s future in Portland, he’s a loser in this scenario. Dame has been patiently waiting for the Blazers to build a contender around him, and when they landed the third pick, myriad things could have been done to do just that.

Portland made great use of their selection; don’t get it twisted. However, it doesn’t seem like Lillard and the Blazers interests are perfectly aligned. Dame wants to contend, and the franchise used their best asset on a player who could very well be his replacement. If Henderson doesn’t make an immediate impact in Portland, this move might mark the end of the Lillard era.

NBA Draft Biggest Surprises

The Fall of Cam Whitmore

As was mentioned earlier, one of the biggest surprises from draft night was the fall of Cam Whitmore. Whitmore, up until just a few weeks ago, was found in the top-5 in mock drafts. His drop to 20th surprised the NBA world.

The Rise of Bilal Coulibaly

On the flip side, Bilal Coulibaly being selected with the 7th pick was a surprise, as well. Coulibaly is obviously a very talented player, but most didn’t expect him to go that high. His draft stock has been on the come-up over the past couple of weeks, and that proved to be true on NBA draft night.

No Trades, but a lot of Guards

Finally, there was a lack of two things during this draft: trades and centers. This draft was almost entirely guards and wing players, and besides a couple trades late in the first round, the trade market was barren.

Storylines Heading Into 2023 Season

Did the Hornets Make the Right Decision?

As Brandon Miller begins his time in Charlotte, he’ll be faced with immense pressure as the guy picked ahead of Scoot. This will be a lot for him to take, and only time will tell which of these would have been the better choice. A good first year would be a great start for Miller.

The NBA Debut of Victor Wembanyama

Following that up, eyes from around the basketball universe will be all over the first pick of the NBA draft, Victor Wembanyama, in his rookie season. Talk about pressure. Wembanyama is the most talked-about prospect in recent memory, and most fans will be watching him live for the first time this coming season.

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2023 NBA Draft Player Profile: G Amen Thompson

City Reapers G Amen Thompson
Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Shooting Percentages & Measurements

56.6%25.0%65.6%6’7″209 lbs.6’9″
2022-23 Stats (Overtime Elite): 16.4 PPG/5.9 RPG/5.9 APG/0.9 BPG/2.3 SPG

Amen Thompson Overview

Amen Thompson and his brother, Ausar, are entering the NBA Draft, and they could be the highest drafted brothers ever, in the same class. Amen and his brother moved to Florida with their family in eighth grade to play varsity basketball and it paid off. Amen was named Co-Player of the Year with his brother after winning the Florida State Championship where he scored 40 points. He trained with his older and twin brothers, leading to the decision to join Overtime Elite.

In his first season with Overtime Elite, Amen made it known that he was one of the best in the league. Per 40 minutes, he averaged 20.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 3.1 steals, and 2.0 blocks per game. This past season, Amen Thompson led the City Reapers to an OTE Championship. He averaged 16.4 points 5.9 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game in 27.5 minutes per game. The championship and statistics helped him earn All-OTE First Team honors. He made his mark in the Overtime Elite league, and is now on his way to the NBA.


  • Elite athleticism includes a quick first step and makes him dangerous in transition finishing at the rim.
  • Solid one-on-one defender with quick hands; can be inconsistent at times.
  • If you’re open, he’ll find you. Terrific passer.


  • Will have to improve jump shot to become an elite scorer at the NBA level.
  • Has the tools to be a great defender but can get lazy at times.
  • Tries to play too fast and fancy; needs to be smarter.

Amen Thompson Draft Projection

One half of the Thompson brothers, Amen has turned heads this season. His physical stature stands out, as he should be able to play positions 1-3 at the NBA level. He looks like he can become a franchise point guard, but will need to improve his jump shot.

I project Amen to go in the top-five, before his brother Ausar. He’s the number four prospect on my big board. If he can start to shoot with some consistency, he’ll be a superstar in the NBA.

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2023 NBA Draft Player Profile: F Brandon Miller

Alabama F Brandon Miller
Photo Credit: David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Shooting Percentages & Measurements

43.0%38.4%85.9%6’9″200 lbs.6’11”
2022-23 Stats (Alabama): 18.8 PPG/8.2 RPG/2.1 APG/0.9 BPG/0.9 SPG


Brandon Miller committed to the University of Alabama as a five-star prospect and the 13th overall player in his class. He ranked fourth among small forwards in that class and became one of the highest ranked players to ever commit to the Crimson Tide. He was the 2021 and 20221 Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year, averaging over 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals per game both years.

At Alabama, Miller became the first SEC player to win SEC Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and Tournament MVP in the same season. On February 22nd, he became the first player to score 40 points in a game since 2017 when he had 41 points against South Carolina. He was named one of ten finalists for the Wooden award. It was much deserved after his impressive rookie season.


  • Bucket-getter; can shoot the lights out.
  • Can be the primary ball-handler.
  • Showed playmaking potential.


  • Inside scoring; needs to add muscle to power through contact.
  • Basketball IQ; had a negative assist/turnover ratio.
  • Gets beat off the dribble defensively.

Player Comparison: Jayson Tatum

Draft Projection

Brandon Miller was one of the top college basketball players in the country this past season, and it’s earned him top-three consideration. He was a huge reason why Alabama was ranked so high throughout the college basketball season. While he had a very poor showing in the NCAA tournament, Miller still has the skillset to be a star in the NBA.

Miller should be a top-three draft pick, but at worst will be a top-five selection in the 2023 NBA Draft. He’s my number three prospect, and has proven he can take over games. The Alabama product could find himself becoming the face of a franchise very soon.

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2023 NBA Draft Player Profile: G Scoot Henderson

Guard Scoot Henderson starts his drive to the basket in a game for the G-League Ignite.
Photo Credit: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Shooting Percentages & Measurements

42.9%27.5%76.4%6’2″195 lbs.6’9″
2022-23 Stats (G-League Ignite): 16.5 PPG/5.3 RPG/6.8 APG/0.6 BPG/1.1 SPG


At 17-years old, Scoot Henderson opted to finish his high school courses over a year and a half early to join G-League. Prior to his decision, Henderson was a five-star recruit and the top point guard in ESPN’s top 100 for the class of 2022. He was the seventh overall prospect at the time, but thought joining the Ignite would benefit his career more. This decision made him the youngest player in G-League history.

In Henderson’s first G-League season, he averaged 14.7 PPG on 46% from the field and 25% from three. It was a solid season for the young guard, but created higher expectations in year two — and he certainly improved. In a bigger role he improved his points, rebounds, and assists while leading his team to an exhibition victory versus expected #1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama and the Metropolitan 92. Now, he’s on his way to the NBA.


  • Excels in the pick-and-roll; hits roller in stride.
  • Elite athleticism that helps finishing with explosiveness.
  • Very good passer for his age; finds shooters on drive.


  • Defense needs improvement; specifically defensive IQ.
  • Some concern with his size, but wingspan helps make up for it.
  • Shooting will need to improve.

Player Comparison: Ja Morant

Draft Projection

An explosive and exciting guard, Scoot Henderson would be in discussion for the first overall pick in any other draft class. He has tools you can’t teach and is still only 19-years old. If he can improve his jump shot, he could become one of the best guards in the NBA.

I have him projected to be a top-three selection in the NBA Draft, and is my number two overall prospect. While he still needs to improve in certain areas, he has too many standout skills that I believe will translate nicely at the NBA level.

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2023 NBA Draft Player Profile: C Victor Wembanyama

Victor Wembanyama of Metropolitan 92 reacts during the Betclic Elite match on November 20, 2022, in Levallois-Perret, France.

Shooting Percentages & Measurements

47.0%27.5%82.8%7’5″230 lbs.8’0″
2022-23 Stats (Metropolitan 92): 21.6 PPG/10.4 RPG/2.4 APG/3.0 BPG/0.7 SPG


Some are calling Victor Wembanyama the greatest draft prospect the NBA has ever seen. He started his career at 15-years old playing for the Nanterre 92 for two seasons. This helped him gain the opportunity to play against NBA players Rudy Gobert and Vincent Poirier in a two-on-two pick-up game in 2020. The videos went viral of the game. This caused him to gain popularity, and it’s continued to grow from that day.

This past season Wembanyama joined the Metropolitan 92 with Vincent Collet at the helm leading their reputation for developing players. He would end up playing in two exhibition games versus the NBA G-League Ignite, putting up 37 points, five blocks, and four rebounds in the first game. In the second game, Victor put up 36 points and 11 rebounds. Those two games were highly anticipated as another top-three prospect, Scoot Henderson, was playing for the Ignite. They split the two games, but Wembanyama was still the best player out there.


  • Size and athleticism creates versatility on both ends.
  • Can score from anywhere and anytime against anyone in any way.
  • Elite defender with a guard skillset on the offensive side.


  • Future injury concerns due to size; have seen players that height struggle to stay healthy and play long.
  • Three point shooting consistency.
  • Has to improve decision-making; more turnovers than assists.

Player Comparison: A taller, faster, and more skilled Mo Bamba

Victor Wembanyama NBA Draft Projection

The world has never seen an NBA draft prospect like Victor Wembanyama. The combination of his size and speed with the shooting and defensive skills has never been witnessed. The expectations for the French basketball player are the highest we’ve seen since LeBron James. If he’s not an MVP and champion by the end of his career, he could be considered a bust.

He’s the consensus #1 selection in the NBA Draft and I’d be shocked if the result is different. He’s my number one prospect and should be an unbelievable player to watch. Wembanyama is a true generational talent.

Around the Block Network is a proud supporter of our LGBTQIA+ contributors, friends, family, and fans. This pride month, we would like to encourage you to make a donation to organizations helping fight for equality across the country, including the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, and the Trevor Project.