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Now that the 2023 NBA draft is completed I will share some observations in analyzing what transpired. First, it is a draft filled with many young players that will need time, in many cases, before making a strong impact.
No doubt the “Star of Stars” is 7-4 Victor Wembanyama who was a consensus No. 1 selection according to all the draft experts. He is a legit multi-skilled talent who has received so much national PR similar to 2003 when LeBron James arrived on the scene from high school to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Obviously, the San Antonio Spurs are hoping Victor can do the same. The previous two bigs that went No. 1 to the Spurs, Tim Duncan and David Robinson, played vital roles in leading them to NBA titles and are now in the Hall of Fame. It is pertinent that the Spurs add other talented people to help Victor reach his potential and achieve stardom.
This draft, in particular, is filled with so much POTENTIAL and it’s important that teams have PATIENCE with the young talent assembled.
The biggest surprise was Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, who was considered a top 10 selection, sliding down to 21. The Houston Rockets will benefit as Whitmore is an explosive talent who dropped according to insiders due to a lack of effort at times during evaluations. He could be the steal of the draft as some thought he would go as high as No. 5. This should really motivate him to show that he is the real deal.
On a sad note, after brilliant collegiate careers, three dominating college stars were not drafted at all. Yes, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, and UConn’s Adama Sanogo, though super on the college level, didn't have the skills and talent needed in the NBA according to the evaluators.
It will be interesting to see if they can sign on as free agents and prove all the critics wrong by earning a spot on an NBA roster.
Overall, this crop of 58 players features plenty of potential stars, high-end starters, quality reserves, some risk-reward projects and, yes, probably a few busts.
Two teams on the outside of the playoffs who made some huge pickups were the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trailblazers. Luka Donic got help as the Mavs traded down to get Duke’s Dereck Lively to help defend the paint. Then they traded for Marquette’s Oliver-Maxence Prosper and acquired veteran center Richaun Holmes from the Kings for added defensive depth for Donic and Kyrie Irving.
Taking Scoot Henderson at No. 3 was an easy choice for the Blazers as they added one of the older players in the draft in Iowa’s skilled power forward Kris Murray and a long-term project with another overseas star in defender Rayan Rupert. Murray is a big 3-and-D wing who will play from Day 1 in the league.
Now, we sit back and see what happens with those first round selections and watch the drive of some second-round choices who want to prove they should have gone higher.