Shaking Out The Lottery
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The 2023 NBA Draft is June 22nd. Let’s take a look at the teams around the Southeast and see what players they’re likely to select in the first round.
Charlotte (27 – 55): The Hornets hold the No. 2 pick. The consensus top pick in the draft is 7’4 center Victor Wembanyama. He’s projected to be the top pick for San Antonio. If that does not happen Charlotte would take him.
The most likely pick will be guard Scoot Henderson. Henderson has played in the G League for the Ignite for the past two years.
In the 2022-23 season he averaged 17.6 points per game, 6.6 assists and 5.1 rebounds. He has proven that he can play on or off the ball. Henderson will be a great backcourt mate with LaMelo Ball because they project to be a good fit offensively.
Orlando (34 – 48): The Magic have two lottery picks, sixth and eleventh. They are looking to add another piece to a roster that features Paolo Banchero, Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, and others.
The best available remaining player at No. 6 should be Jarace Walker (Houston). He was the AAC Freshman of the Year last season.
The 6’8 forward averaged 11.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 1.8 apg. He measured in with a 7-foot, 2.5-inch wingspan at the draft combine, something that the Magic will love. Outside of his defense, Walker showed that he can be a capable shooter at the next level after converting 34.7% from the three-point line.
The 11th pick might be Kansas forward Gradey Dick. He is a player that could step in and fill an immediate need for the Magic: 3-point shooting.
He set the Jayhawks freshman record for most 3s in a season (83) after shooting 40.3% shooting from 3-point range. The Magic desperately need shooting so Dick could be the pick here.
New Orleans (42-40): The Pelicans are a team on the cusp of being very good. They have a star player in Zion Williamson but he struggles with his weight and injuries.
6’10 forward Leonard Miller might be a good fit. He played for the G League Ignite and averaged 16.9 ppg and 10.1 rpg. He does much of his work in the paint but shot 30.4% from 3-point range on 2.4 attempts per game last season.
Atlanta (41 – 41): The Hawks have the 15th pick. I think their problem is they typically are an average team every year and they typically draft in the mid to late teens. Trae Young is a star player but they keep struggling to add another elite player. Since they don’t have a high pick they will be looking for another role player.
Michigan guard Kobe Bufkin might be a good fit. He’s 6’4 so he would add size to the backcourt and he averaged 14 ppg.
Miami: The Heat are on the verge of getting into the Eastern Conference Finals. They have the No. 18 pick so they look to add a younger piece to a good team.
Indiana point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino would be a good pick. He’s 6’6 so he has the size to defend both guard positions.
He showed great poise throughout the year and dished out the fourth-most assists (117) in program history by a freshman.
Memphis (51 – 31): The Grizzlies will select forward Bilal Coulibaly (France). He has the ability to get downhill and finish at the rim.