With March Madness and the NBA regular season ending, and the playoff seeding set, following the play in games and coin flips yesterday, all the picks are set heading into the May NBA draft lottery. The lottery will take place May 16th, deciding the top 4 picks. Here’s a look at who’s rising and who’s falling in the fourth version of our Extended mock draft below.
1. Detroit: Victor Wembanyama 7-4 210 C France Intl.
The French big is not only super talented, he’s an extremely bright and focused individual. The generational Frenchman will be the first overall selection in the upcoming draft. It’s just a matter of which team is lucky enough to win the draft lottery. While Anthony Davis is not a perfect comp for Wemby, there really isn’t one, and Victor may ultimately have a similar NBA impact plus have a similarly injury affected career (nearly every over 7-2 player has had injury issues) and require simmilar load management and time off the floor as AD.
Why the Pistons take Wembanyama: There really isn’t any reason why a team wouldn’t go with Wembanyama at the top spot, so this is an easy choice for the Pistons. They have centers on the roster, but trades can be made. They already have their backcourt of the future and the addition of Wembanyama will only expedite the development process of Cunningham and Ivey, creating a formidable Big Three for years to come in the East.
NBA Comparison: Ralph Sampson/Anthony Davis
2. Houston: Brandon Miller 6-9 200 SF Alabama Fr.
Well, well, well. Perhaps the top two picks aren’t set in stone after all. An outstanding freshman season for Alabama’s lengthy wing didn’t just lock him into the lottery, it put him in the discussion for a top-two pick. By showcasing his two-way skill and elite perimeter shooting, Miller assured he won’t be waiting long on draft night with scouts starting to buy into him as the second-best prospect in this class, even ahead of the electrifying Scoot Henderson.
Why the Rockets take Miller: His NCAA Tournament left a lot to be desired, but Miller is still a high-floor player with outstanding potential. Miller would seem to be the perfect addition to their core of scorers as he is a great facilitator, who would figure to fit in well with their young nucleus. Miller can be a floor spacer but ialso excels in the role of point forward and would help get their shooters, Green and Smith open looks.
NBA Comparison: Paul George
3. San Antonio: Scoot Henderson 6-2 195 PG G-League Fr.
So, what is the reason behind this sudden change at the top of the draft? You can point to Miller and his sensational play for the top team in college basketball, but in truth, it goes deeper than that. Henderson’s efficiency and production dropped off down the stretch of the G-League season, and questions linger about his outside shooting. Still, Henderson has perhaps the highest potential of anyone not named Wembanyama and should not drop any farther than the top-3 in this draft.
Why the Spurs take Henderson: Following a coin flip won by Houston, the Spurs ended up at three going into the lottery and are surely salivating over the top prize at one with Wemby. Scoot would be more than a consolation prize at 3 as he has a great deal of upside in his own right. Scoot has a great deal of upside, and would benefit from ending up in one of the best franchises in the NBA. His shoot has room for growth and he is a dynamic young scoring point guard that would likely thrive over time leading the San Antonio rebuilding effort.
NBA Comparison: Derrick Rose
4. Charlotte: Taylor Hendricks 6-9 210 PF/SF Central Florida Fr.
There wasn’t a team or player outside of the NCAA Tournament that was as underrated as UCF and Taylor Hendricks in the 2023 college basketball season. The standout freshman is a tremendous athlete with the size and rim-protecting skill to be a versatile asset on both ends of the floor. He is still a bit raw, but the potential is through the roof for the 6-9 combo forward who shot an intriguing 48/39/78 split from the floor as a true freshman.
Why the Hornets take Hendricks: While LaMelo Ball only played in 36 games this season, the Hornets can’t seem to figure out how to surround him with the right pieces to be successful in the East. That is assuming he is in fact the player they still envision building the team around. Choosing Hendricks here would be a statement of fully committing to the defensive end of the floor. Hendricks was a star offensively for the Knights, but he provides the most value with his impressive rim-protection at the four and a pairing with Mark Williams at the five would make it increasingly difficult for teams to score at the rim against them.
NBA Comparison: Pascal Siakam
5. Portland: Amen Thompson 6-7 200 SG/PG Overtime Elite Fr.
Jean Montero became the first NBA draftee from the Overtime Elite program last year, but the Thompson twins will be remembered forever as the players who went from the program into the lottery. After a playoff run where he averaged nine assists, the uber-athletic twin climbed to the fifth spot in this latest mock draft. Optimistically, If his jumper can develop to a consistently reliable level, Thompson has all star potential.
Why the Trail Blazers take Thompson: Damian Lillard can’t impact games forever as one of the game’s elite players so the bigger picture question is whether he fits with the timeline of the young group being built around him. With his unique skill set mentioned above, Amen Thompson can be that guy and also provide the Blazers with another one of the game’s top young athletes joining Shaedon Sharpe.
NBA Comparison: Latrell Sprewell
6. Orlando: Anthony Black 6-7 200 SG Arkansas Fr.
It was outstanding defense that helped the Razorbacks knock off the defending champions in the Round of 32 and there aren’t many better defenders in this draft class than Anthony Black. His ability to be disruptive and put pressure on the perimeter allow him to take on the toughest assignments, but he is more than just a lockdown defender. Black is growing as both a playmaker and shooter, giving him the tools necessary to be an eventual all-star at the next level.
Why the Magic take Black: Paolo Banchero’s addition and development helped the Magic grow into a team that is not too far away from playoff contention. One more well drafted lottery prospect could be the difference and Black would see them improve in just about every category as he is arguably the best defender in the entire class. Give him an elite shooting coach and some time to work on his jumper and we’ll likely see him start taking over games even more than he did with his two-way dominance in Fayetteville.
NBA Comparison: Josh Giddey
7. Indiana: Gradey Dick 6-8 205 SG Kansas Fr.
Although their season came to an unceremonious end in the Round of 32, Kansas enjoyed another great season, despite losing several stars from last year’s team. Gradey Dick stepped up as a superstar for the Jayhawks and it was fascinating to see his development as the season went on. Initially, Dick exclusively did his damage as a 3-point shooter, but his strides as a high-flying finisher around the rim, offensive rebounder and instinctive defender cemented his status as a lottery pick before his season came to an end in the Round of 32.
Why the Pacers take Gradey Dick: The Pacers lived and died by the 3-point shot this season and got out in transition better than any team in the league. If that sounds a lot like Gradey Dick’s role at Kansas this season, that’s because it is. Imagine what the former Kansas star will be able to do in more than just one season in that system with a playmaker as impressive as Tyrese Haliburton alongside him.
NBA Comparison: Kevin Huerter
8. Washington: Ausar Thompson 6-7 205 SG Overtime Elite Fr.
To show how minimal the talent gap is between Amen and Ausar, as if the mere two pick gap between them isn’t enough, Ausar was the MVP of the Overtime Elite Finals for the City Reapers earlier this year despite falling below him in our draft projection. He looks to be the more comfortable shooter and has comparable athleticism to his brother Amen. These twins will certainly hear their names called in the lottery this summer.
Why the Wizards take Thompson: Ausar gives the Wizards another swing at their shooting guard spot of the future with Bradley Beal hitting the later stages of his career and last year’s 10th pick Johnny Davis struggling in his rookie season and looking like he may have been a reach. Thompaon gives them great athleticism on the wing and better shooting than his playmaking brother Amen.
NBA Comparison: Trevor Ariza
9. Utah: Nick Smith 6-5 185 PG/SG Arkansas Fr.
The NCAA Tournament wasn’t kind to Smith, but his terrific play at the end of the regular season, with three 24-point games or better in his last four, has him ascending into the top ten of the lottery in our mock. Staying on the court hasn’t proven easy, but his production despite these nagging injuries as a true freshman has scouts drooling over the potential of a fully healthy Smith with complimentary offensive talent around him.
Why the Jazz take Smith: After trading away their young superstar Donovan Mitchell, finding a young, dynamic replacement would be ideal. It’s hard to find players with this much upside and athleticism at the ninth pick. After a highway robbery of the Timberwolves last year, they have plenty of first round picks to work with, allowing them to take chances like this without too much risk. And without the necessity to win right away, Smith can take time to develop his abilities and grow with less pressure from fans or front office early in his career.
NBA Comparison: Jamal Crawford
10. Dallas: GG Jackson 6-9 210 PF/C South Carolina Fr.
As far as reclassifying freshmen go in the last few seasons, GG Jackson is among the few success stories we’ve seen. The Gamecocks struggled, despite their three-level scoring threat who averaged over 15 points per game. Jackson is one of the youngest prospects in this year’s draft showing a great deal of upside with his shooting and defensive prowess.
Why the Mavericks take Jackson: The Mavericks made the controversial decision to throw up the white flag and punt their shot at doing any thing in this year’s playoffs in order to retain the (top 10) protection over their pick traded to New York. Playing alongside Luka Doncic is any player’s dream, and the addition of Jackson would give the Mavericks a very talented and athletic shooter to add to one of the game’s young superstars, in Doncic.
NBA Comparison: Bam Adebayo
11. Orlando (via CHI): Rayan Rupert 6-6 185 SG France Intl.
Rupert is a young and lengthy defender who is emerging as the top international prospect who didn’t have teams tanking for him. The French wing is enjoying moderate success in the NBL, but it’s the long-term vision that makes Rupert so enticing for teams in the lottery. Ousmane Dieng was picked in this exact spot last season from the New Zealand Breakers and Rupert could be just as fortunate this summer.
Why the Magic take Rupert: Orlando has a decent core in place and could use a long, athletic wing defender to compliment their group consisting of Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. Rupert gives the team exactly what they need after adding a great offensive player in Banchero a year ago with the top pick.
NBA Comparison: Thabo Sefolosha
12. Oklahoma City: Jarace Walker 6-8 235 PF Houston Fr.
Nobody reflected their college team’s style more than Jarace Walker reflected Houston basketball. The powerful and aggressive forward was one of the most exciting freshmen in the country with potent defensive skill and a captivating blend of strength and footwork. Walker is the perfect, modern small-ball five who is aggressive on the glass and an effective playmaker at the top of the key. He obviously needs to learn to use his strength better and play more physical, but the upside is intriguing.
Why the Thunder take Walker: The Thunder have fifteen first round picks over the next five years so they can afford to use some of those picks as trade bait to move up and target players, as they did last year with 13th pick for Ousmane Dieng. Walker gives them a potential energy forward / small ball five to compliment their young core. Their strength at this point is obviously their extremely impressive backcourt, so adding an athletic and versatile frontcourt player makes sense.
NBA Comparison: Cliff Robinson
13. Toronto: Cam Whitmore 6-7 230 SF Villanova Fr.
Despite not being able to carry Villanova back to their standard NCAA tournament form, it was clear that a healthy Whitmore was impactful when on the floor. Villanova finally found its rhythm down the stretch and the 6-7 freshman wing found his footing as a lottery prospect. He struggles with balance at times, but his shiftiness and burly frame should benefit him at the next level.
Why the Raptors take Whitmore: The Raptors are in a bit of a tough spot with whether to tear things down or go into a rebuild. the real problem with rebuilding is they are not able to add free agents the way other teams can. The other big problem is the drafts following this one appear to be two down drafts with not as much elite talent. So perhaps standing pat and trying to pull off a trade for a Jonathan Kuminga and hitting with their lottery pick on a player like Whitmore or Rupert this year could help get them back on track for contention. Whitmore gives them an athletic wing with the kind of toughness they showed when they had Kahwi, Lowry and Gasol leading the charge.
NBA Comparison: Jae Crowder
14. New Orleans: Cason Wallace 6-4 195 PG Kentucky Fr.
Nobody has a better track record for develping elite level guards for the NBA better than Coach Calipari and Cason Wallace has a chance to be another high level pro. The 6-4 point guard plays a lot bigger with long arms and active hands defensively, often frustrating opposing guards by taking them out of their game completely on the perimeter. Like TyTy Washington last season, Wallace dealt with injuries down the stretch and saw a dip in his shooting percentages because of it, so don’t let the numbers fool you. Wallace is one of the most well-rounded prospects you’ll find this summer, and it never hurts to take a chance on a perimeter player from Kentucky.
Why the Pelicans take Wallace: While CJ McCollum does an admirable job playing as a lead facilitator, the Pelicans still need a true point guard to run the offense to enhance the tremendous shooters on their roster. Wallace gives the Pelicans both one of the top perimeter defenders in the draft as well as a player with the ability to facilitate for others that the team could use.
NBA Comparison: Marcus Smart
15. Atlanta: Keyonte George 6-4 185 SG Baylor Fr.
Up until an ankle injury in late February, Keyonte George was among the most productive freshman in the country. Baylor’s star guard powered through the pain, but clearly wasn’t the same player down the final stretch of the season. George still must improve his efficiency but shows promise as an outside scoring threat. He’s still a little rough around the edges as a decision maker but Baylor proved to be an excellent place for him to develop those deficiencies.
Why the Hawks take George: The Hawks have a talented backcourt with Trey Young and Dejounte Murray, and could use another scoring threat as more of a true off guard in George. If it weren’t for late season struggles due to injury, George would likely be seen as a higher draft pick, so the Hawks could be getting a steal just outside the lottery if the former Baylor standout drops to them.
NBA Comparison: Cameron Thomas
16. Utah (via MIN): Jalen Hood-Schifino 6-6 215 PG Indiana Fr.
Another late riser is Jalen Hood-Schifino from Indiana. A humiliating loss to Penn State in January flipped the switch for the freshman guard, which in turn, sparked a tremendous run for the Hoosiers. Hood-Schifino stands at an imposing 6-6 with an effective mid-range jumper and an improving outside jumper that he showcased in the Round of 32 as he tried to mount an unthinkable comeback on his own against Miami.
Why the Jazz take Hood-Schifino: After flipping an aging Rudy Gobert for a much younger and cheaper version in Walker Kessler, the Jazz now begin to cash in on the war chest of picks that they stock piled in that deal. Point guard is easily the most glaring need for Utah as they didn’t have a single player average more than five assists per game this season. Hood-Schifino is a poised and lengthy guard who can change that in a flash while also providing a mid-range scoring threat off the dribble to pull centers out of the paint and create even more opportunities for Walker Kessler to attack the rim on lobs.
NBA Comparison: Malcolm Brogdon
17. LA Lakers: Maxwell Lewis 6-7 195 SG/SF Pepperdine So.
The fascination with Maxwell Lewis isn’t just about what he showed at Pepperdine this season, but also how he will improve as he continues to refine his skills. It might not click instantly, but Lewis is in the top tier of high-risk, high-reward players in this season’s NBA Draft. His head coach at Pepperdine, Lorenzo Romar, who also coached Markelle Fultz and Dejounte Murray, said he hasn’t seen a player make a larger jump than Lewis did this past season. The potential for another jump like this is what makes Lewis such a fascinating prospect and a potential lottery pick in June.
Why the Lakers take Lewis: In a conversation earlier this year, Lewis mentioned how he watched a Lakers game this season and saw Max Christie come in and miss a few 3-pointers, which saw him go right back to the bench. The lack of efficient 3-point shooting was one of the Lakers main weaknesses this season, and Lewis believes he can be a guy that can come in and knock down those kind of jumpers when called upon.
NBA Comparison: Doug Christie
18. Miami: Jordan Hawkins 6-5 195 SG UConn So.
Looking for the best shooter in each draft class is always one of my favorite missions and you can’t have a shortlist for that superlative without Jordan Hawkins making an appearance. Even when he doesn’t score in the first half of the first two NCAA Tournament games, he finds a way to average 12.5 points in those contests while shooting 7-12 from beyond the arc. It doesn’t take long for him to find his rhythm and I expect he’ll experience that same success at the next level as well.
Why the Heat take Hawkins: The Heat, like the Lakers, also struggled from beyond the arc this season, taking the 10th most threes per game while ranking 27th in 3-point percentage. As we saw in the NCAA Tournament, Hawkins has no problem carrying the load and letting it fly from all over the court. The Heat could bolster their outside shooting and add a winning player with Hawkins being a key member of the National champion UConn Huskies.
NBA Comparison: Isaiah Joe
19. Golden State: Trayce Jackson-Davis 6-9 245 PF Indiana Sr.
The only player who truly rivaled Zach Edey this season as a NPOY candidate was Trayce Jackson-Davis. He even helped Indiana sweep the Boilermakers for the first time in a decade with his dominance against the in-state rivals. Now he’s preparing to finally make the jump to the next level as a first-round prospect. Combined with tremendous athleticism and length, Jackson-Davis evolved as a versatile defender and playmaker in his final season. The smooth shooting lefty could also develop a three point shot in time as his from and touch are good.
Why the Warriors take Jackson-Davis: With Draymond Green’s future with the team seemingly more up in the air than ever before, focusing on the frontcourt makes sense. TJD high-post playmaking and versatile defense could be the perfect way to take the load off Draymond as the team transitions to the next generation. TJD being older probably appeals to teams like Golden State with a short window of championship contention to work with.
NBA Comparison: David West
20. Houston (via LAC): Kris Murray 6-8 220 SF/PF Iowa Jr.
He might not be as efficient as Keegan was last year, but Kris proved to be nearly as impactful as his twin brother with the spotlight on him. The most notable difference between the two was that this year the Murray who dominated his opponents was shooting it from his left side not his right. Kris is not the same player as his twin Keegan, but he can be an outstanding 3-and-D role player on the wing who can impact the game in a variety of ways to earn minutes and contribute winning plays for his team.
Why the Rockets take Murray: Following their choice of Brandon Miller at 2 in this mock, the Rockets continue to bolster their forward corps with Murray. The Hawkeye junior is sort of a smaller version of Jabari Smith with excellent potential to knock down the outside shot as well as play a smart, structured brand of basketball. His no nonsense, mature approach is another positive for a young team that has struggled in this area.
NBA Comparison: Dorian Finney-Smith
21. Brooklyn (via PHX): Kobe Bufkin 6-5 195 SG Michigan So.
Another late riser who used a late push in order to likely solidify a first round spot. Scouts became enamored with the 6-5 shooting guard who emerged as a star for the Wolverines with Jett Howard playing inconsistently due to a late season ankle injury. In the final 12 games of the season, Bufkin averaged 17 points, six rebounds and three assists, all while playing active defense and logging incredible shooting splits at 52/45/89.
Why the Nets take Bufkin: Bufkin’s development throughout his sophomore season caused him to fly up draft boards and emerge as a legit first-round prospect. Brooklyn will be looking for trustworthy players to lead them through whatever period this is for the franchise and Bufkin can be one of those exciting pieces who will only continue to develop as they figure out a plan post-KD and Kyrie.
NBA Comparison: Malik Monk
22. Brooklyn: Leonard Miller 6-10 210 SF G-League Fr.
After being a major focus in the pre-draft process last season, Miller fell out of the spotlight this season in the G-League, but it’s about that time to remember how special of a prospect he is ahead of the draft this summer. The Canadian star had an outstanding season for the Ignite, averaging a double-double in 24 games while showcasing an improved jumper. The 19-year-old wing was efficient inside the arc (60%), showing improvement outside the arc (33%) and even at the charity stripe (79%), and it would be no surprise to see him go in the top 20 on draft night.
Why the Nets take Miller: Brooklyn is in a weird spot after shipping out their superstars, while maintaining success despite their departures. They no longer have the option to tear things down with the hopes of rebuilding through the draft with high picks as their own picks are mostly gone for the next few seasons. Choosing Miller allows them to embrace their lengthy lineup and go all in on frustrating opposing offenses as they try to develop a new identity with so many moving parts.
NBA Comparison: Jonathan Isaac
23. Portland (via NY): Jett Howard 6-8 215 SG Michigan Fr.
While his injury opened the door for Kobe Bufkin to rise, it obviously came at a cost to Howard’s own draft stock. However, Jett is still a first-round prospect and a prime candidate to move up with an impressive workout circuit. What Howard lacks in speed and athleticism, he makes up for as one of the smoothest and most efficient shooters in the class,
Why the Trail Blazers take Howard: Taking Thompson in the top-five is a way to extend Lillard’s career, but adding Howard here supports their superstar in the here and now. Howard found a way to make an elite impact offensively without a true facilitator, so the sky will be the limit in Portland with a playmaker like Lillard creating for him at the next level.
NBA Comparison: Doug McDermott
24. Sacramento: Jalen Wilson 6-7 225 SF/PF Kansas Jr.
The reigning champions were able to earn a second consecutive one-seed thanks in part to Jalen Wilson’s development into a first-team All-American in year three. The 6-7 wing is unafraid of the big moments as he emerged as one of the most clutch players in college basketball this season. That’s a player that any team wants, especially considering his track record of winning with the Jayhawks.
Why the Kings take Wilson: The Kings are building a winning culture in Sacramento and there’s no better player to grow on this than Jalen Wilson. Winning was a staple of his time at Kansas, thanks to clutch shots and winning plays on both ends. With Harrison Barnes and Trey Lyles hitting free agency this summer, they’ll need more forwards to fill out their rotation, making this a perfect fit for both parties.
NBA Comparison: Tobias Harris
25. Memphis: Noah Clowney 6-10 210 PF Alabama Fr.
Alabama was one of the most efficient teams in the country this season, both offensively and defensively, and Noah Clowney was a huge reason why. His versatility to play either the four or five allowed the Tide to play in a multitude of ways as their freshman forward helped disrupt opponents offenses with his length and spread the floor on offense with Clowney camping out on the perimeter. While his efficiency numbers weren’t great (28% 3PT), the 6-10 freshman is comfortable from beyond the arc and will only improve that percentage with more time and space in the NBA.
Why the Grizzlies take Clowney: Memphis could use another big man who can stretch the floor for Ja Morant and play alongside Jaren Jackson Jr., so going with Clowney makes a lot of sense for the makeup of this team. Memphis has a lot of depth and can afford to take the best player available here. While Clowney may take some time to contribute, he has starter potential and can be a long-term answer in the frontcourt as he continues to grow with a franchise that is one of the best at player development.
NBA Comparison: Nicolas Claxton
26. Indiana (via CLE): Julian Strawther 6-7 205 SF Gonzaga Jr.
Drew Timme was the star of the Spokane show over the last three seasons, but down the stretch of Gonzaga’s regular season it was Strawther who emerged as the star for the Zags. The junior sharpshooter nearly matched Timme’s scoring after January 28 and the importance of his 3-point shooting (44%) cannot be overstated, especially in crunch time, which he proved with one of the biggest shots of this year’s tourney in the final seconds against UCLA.
Why the Pacers take Strawther: The trade to land Tyrese Haliburton worked perfectly for both sides and now Indiana is tasked with surrounding their new superstar with the right pieces. Reuniting Strawther with Andrew Nembhard in the second unit is likely to be a great fit given how well they played together with Gonzaga in their time together.
NBA Comparison: Cameron Johnson
27. Charlotte (via DEN): Dereck Lively 7-1 230 C Duke Fr.
What started off as a disappointing freshman season for the top-ranked high school recruit turned into one that made scouts feel that he’s ready to move on to the NBA. There isn’t a better rim-protector in this class and with his willingness to do whatever is asked of him, Lively could blossom into a modern big man with length and interior instincts to become a force for years to come.
Why the Hornets take Lively: Charlotte has been looking for their big man of the future for some time now and while they selected Mark Williams last season, they could still go back to the Blue Devils for another elite rim protector. The value here is too much to pass on another Duke center, especially after the end to the season he enjoyed.
NBA Comparison: Willie Cauley-Stein
28. Utah (via PHI): Dariq Whitehead 6-7 220 SF Duke Fr.
Dariq Whitehead entered the season as a consensus top-three recruit, but that reality never materialized due to injuries, more specifically a lack of leg strength and inconsistent minutes in his first season in Durham. He has a major decision to make this summer, but if he decides stay the course and enter the draft, he figures to be a late-first round pick because of his lights-out shooting from beyond the arc, and the gamble that he can gain back some of the explosiveness and athleticism he flashed in high school.
Why the Jazz take Whitehead: With an abundance of first-round picks over the next several seasons, including this third pick in 2023, Utah can take chances on risky players. Going with Whitehead here is a perfect representation of that. Not many players who average 8 points in 20 minutes in their only collegiate season make it into the first round, but Whitehead’s high school success and potential will likely be enough to keep him within that range.
NBA Comparison: Anthony Morrow
29. Indiana (via BOS): Trey Alexander 6-4 185 SG Creighton So.
The evolution of Trey Alexander over the last two seasons has been a fascinating story to follow. From being thrown into point guard duties with the injury of Ryan Nembhard in year one and growing as an off-ball shooter as a sophomore, Alexander is well-equipped to take on whatever role may come in his next step to the NBA as a versatile combo guard.
The 6-4 shooting guard has developed into a knock down shooter, is capable of scoring at all three levels, on or off the ball, and leads one of the most efficient defenses in the country in steals as a pesky defender. Alexander fits in Indiana with his versatility and willingness to play on or off the ball and efficient scoring ability.
NBA Comparison: Nickeil Walker-Alexander
Why the Pacers take Alexander: Alexander’s offensive versatility is the perfect match alongside playmaking guards Tyrese Haliburton and Andrew Nembhard. No matter which unit he runs with, Alexander will be a secondary ball-handler who is equally adept at moving and shooting off the ball. Even without great size, the 6-4 guard could make a real impact and fast for Indiana.
30. LA Clippers (via MIL): Terquavion Smith 6-4 165 PG/SG NC State So.
After a surprise decision to return to Raleigh last summer, Terquavion Smith achieved his mission of developing as a player and getting the Wolfpack back to the NCAA Tournament after a disappointing season his freshman year. He exploded for 32 points in a tournament loss to No. 6 Creighton, but it was a dunk and block sequence that stood out the most from his performance in the loss to the Blue Jays in the NCAA Tournament.
Why the Clippers take Smith: The Clippers aren’t getting any younger and given the injury history of their two superstars, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start looking at long-term options while they’re still competing. They can’t get the lottery stars during this window, but high-risk, high-reward players like Smith could help them avoid a major rebuild in the future. With his explosiveness and range, the former NC State star could be the first piece to the future puzzle in LA. The Clippers added Hyland in a trade, so perhaps they would also be interested in a similar type of player like Smith.
NBA Comparison: Bones Hyland