The 2023 NBA Draft Combine wrapped up after a week of interviews, measurements, athletic testing, drills, pro days and scrimmaging. And as always, a handful of prospects made strong impressions with high-level executives in attendance.
Aside from interviews, the five-on-fives are always the most important basketball-related event in Chicago. This year, plenty of players stood out, with some flashing more to their games than they were able to showcase in their college systems.
Certain names have moved up our mock draft board following scrimmaging and conversations with NBA scouts. Players moving up also means others moving down. There were prospects who underwhelmed, which could result in a slide down the board or a decision to withdraw from the draft.
*Check out our updated 2023 NBA Mock Draft at the end.
Stock report: Trending toward first-round consideration
Amari Bailey’s passing stood out as much as any players’ specific skill or athletic trait. Dating back to February and March, he’s helped reshape his image, now looking more like a primary facilitator than a scorer with limited shooting range.
Bailey delivered eight assists on Wednesday, showing advanced command in pick-and-roll situations with his pace and anticipation, plus vision in transition.
While extending his shooting range remains a priority, he still showcased two-point shot-making ability with the pull-up and improvised runners or fallaways off drives he couldn’t get to the basket off.
On Thursday, he went for 19 points and six dimes, creating more opportunities with his handle and converting a number of unorthodox finishes you typically can’t practice.
Scouts were talking about Bailey as an early second-round pick earlier in the week, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he earned looks in the 20s. Measuring taller than 6’3″ in socks would have helped. Either way, everyone was able to detect his unteachable feel for the game, a trait certain teams are bound to put extra stock into and picture translating to the type of playmaking and ball-moving that makes teammates better.
Stock Report: Trending toward second round
Dillon Jones capitalized on the NBA combine invitation he earned at G League Elite Camp. The Weber State sophomore looked like he belonged on a floor with projected second-rounders.
At 6’4.5″, 233 pounds with a 6’11” wingspan, Jones used his strength and length to play through contact and force turnovers defensively. He showed off a unique mix of physicality and ball-handling, with the latter helping to fuel the playmaking that separates him from others with his body type.
Jones went for 17 points in the first scrimmage and five assists in the second when he couldn’t find many scoring chances for himself. He hit some mid-range shots and a three-pointer on Wednesday, and teams will be eager to bring him for workouts and take a closer look at his shooting. A career 80.5 free-throw percentage does highlight touch.
Jones is unconventional with his 2-guard height, NFL frame, passing and limited three-point volume. But out-of-the-box typically creates intrigue, and Jones was a clear plus on the floor for his team in Chicago. He figures to climb higher on boards for organizations that aren’t worried about set positions or traditional scouting.
Stock report: Trending toward second round
NBA teams hoping to add shooting this summer figure to add Seth Lundy to their potential target list.
After making 92 threes at a 40.0 percent clip with Penn State, he shot 8-of-12 combined in Chicago, where he also measured 6’4″ in socks at 214 pounds with a 6’10” wingspan.
Lundy has a convincing shot, between the numbers, the balance he gets and confidence he has firing over closing defenders.
He’s just looked limited when forced to put the ball down, but with a late second-round pick, a team could still see value in adding a floor-spacing specialist to the end of its bench.
Stock report: Increasing first-round suitors
The highest-ranked/projected prospect to scrimmage on B/R’s big board (No. 18) and mock draft (No. 20), Brandin Podziemski made even more fans in Chicago with his participation, game mentality and athletic testing.
Executives and scouts both took notice to the mature approach he took during games, when he played in control, made the right decisons and defended.
On Wednesday, he put a clear emphasis on trying to showcase his playmaking and ability to play point guard, and he did successfully, finishing with eight assists (zero turnovers) off a mix of basic reads and higher-IQ passes.
The 19.9-point-per-game weapon at Santa Clara opted not to shot-hunt, but still managed to bury a pair of threes and sink his signature, high-arching floater during Game 1.
While rebounding rarely make the scouting report for a guard, Podziemski, the WCC’s leader at 8.8 per game, showed a clear knack for tracking down misses, using his 39″ max vertical and aggression to go up and snatch boards above traffic.
Scouts and executives only had positive feedback throughout the week, and interest appears to be snowballing. Just reading the gym, it sounds like Podziemski will be in play for teams starting in the late teens and early 20s.
Stock report: Trending toward top 45
Olivier Maxence-Prosper shut it down after making a major impression during Wednesday’s first scrimmage.
The most effective weapon on the floor wasn’t anyone’s handle, shot or passing—it was Prosper’s fully-charged body. His athleticism and motor consistently popped and helped generate big finishes, easy baskets and free throws.
At nearly 6’7″ in socks with a 7’1″ wingspan, Prosper showcased both his NBA-wing physical profile and ability to optimize it at both ends. He even hit a three-pointer and demonstrated some off-the-dribble wiggle, something he almost never got to do at Marquette, where he combined for 11 pick-and-roll ball-handling and isolation possessions all season, per Synergy Sports.
Shooting still remains an important swing skill for Prosper, who shot 33.9 percent from three but upped his total makes to 39 from 19.
Regardless, he’s solidified himself as a draft pick, with teams expected to covet his effectiveness as a transition scorer, driver, cutter, offensive rebounder, finisher and defender.
Stock report: Interest/awareness is building
Ben Sheppard led Thursday’s opening scrimmage with 25 points, an important performance that helps remove Belmont’s poor strength of schedule from the scouting equation.
Everything we saw during the season showed in Chicago. With burst, shooting versatility and IQ, he posed a threat to score or pass in every situation.
Sheppard even brought it on defense, creating problems at the point of attack with his active hands.
Adding bulk will be key for the 194.6-pound 2-guard, but he measured over 6’5″ in socks, and he’ll be valued most for his perimeter shot-making at the next level.
NBA teams are still catching on, but he moved to No. 33 in B/R’s pre-combine rankings, a spot he’s moving closer to in our mock drafts. Between the combine and workouts, where we hear he’s outperforming players in his groups, he’s making it easier for teams to picture an NBA bench spark.
Stock report: Trending toward top 45
The NBA combine’s least scouted player entering Chicago, Tristan Vukcevic was the No. 1 standout on Wednesday.
With averages of 14.8 minutes in the Adriatic League and 6.2 minutes in Euroleague, the 7’0″ 20-year-old outscored every NCAA player with 21 points (8-of-12), showcasing the touch he used to hit a combined 37.3 percent of his total threes in 2022-23.
He opened by converting consecutive threes, a fallaway from the post, a mid-range pull-up and high-speed transition finish—all in the first quarter.
Though limited athletically and defensively, it was eye-opening to see Vukcevic’s skill level translate so well against mostly older, NBA prospects.
Considering how little scouts had seen of him, his performance in Chicago helped validate the reputation that earned him an invitation.
Stock report: Trending toward second round
Coming off a Final Four run, Isaiah Wong looked like the first scrimmage’s most polished offensive player.
He opened with a spot-up three and pull-up two, blocked Jordan Walsh on a drive and converting a slash with a reverse layup. A dribble move led to a half-court dunk and one of the day’s top highlights.
Though not as effective self-creating and scoring Thursday, he showed off his improved passing to rack up seven assists.
At 22 years old and 6’2.5″ in socks, Wong’s age and physical profile don’t scream upside. But he does seem to have a better chance at earning a two-way contract today than he did when he arrived in Chicago.
Terquavion Smith (North Carolina State, SG, Sophomore)
While scouts’ acknowledge Smith’s shot-making and ability to catch fire, they have too many questions about his inconsistency for a 163.5-pound guard who’s a defensive liability. He actually managed to lose weight since last year. Some have pointed to Bones Hyland’s decreasing value when docking Smith. He shot 3-of-16 on Wednesday, and though he hit five-of-10 threes on Thursday, most came in garbage time off open looks and green-light pull-ups. The late spurt and few nice passes aren’t likely to be enough for the first round.
Ricky Council IV (Arkansas, SG/SF, Junior)
Early-season interest in Council has seemingly faded based on what we were hearing in Chicago. As exciting as his athletic ability can be, scouts aren’t confident he’ll overcome the shooting and decision-making issues. He didn’t ease those concerns during scrimmages. Council attempted one three-pointer in two games and was mostly quiet with his scoring.
Jalen Wilson (Kansas, SF/PF, Junior)
Wilson shot a combined 2-of-12 between both scrimmages, disappointing for a 22-year-old making his second appearance at the event. While shooting consistency has been the main area of improvement to focus on throughout his career, scouts site his finishing and 6’8″ wingspan as a cause for concern, considering he’ll be matched up against small and power forwards.
Dillon Mitchell (Texas, PF, Freshman)
Mitchell was given little freedom to do anything outside of finish plays at Texas. So he attempted to show scouts there was more to his game in Chicago with some self-creation and tougher shot-making. It didn’t go well. Most of attempts were way off the mark, and at 193 pounds, it’s difficult to picture him matching up with NBA bigs. Maybe he gets drafted in the late second round, but that’s starting to seem like a best-case scenario if he keeps his name in.
Coleman Hawkins (Illinois, PF, Junior)
A big part of the pitch to Hawkins is shooting, and he didn’t look like a shooter during scrimmages or his pro day. He also wasn’t much of a threat when he put the ball down, as he was frequently forced to turn his back to the rim and defender. He’s a plus passer, but that seems unlikely to be enough for Hawkins to warrant anything but late second-round interest.
– Scouts praised Emoni Bates for competing in scrimmages, and he ultimately did an admirable job of trying to make the right play while still showing off the signature shot-making. He finished 7-of-14 from the floor between the two games and often looked supportive and happy for teammates’ success, even if it meant possessions with no stats or shots for Bates.
However, it’s still difficult to get past a 6’8″, 179-pound frame with just 6’9″ length and very poor athletic testing results. Defending NBA wings and separating into anything but step-back threes seems like it will be a major challenge at the next level. If he’s going to get drafted, it’s likely going to be somewhere in the Nos. 46-60 range, but even that isn’t a sure thing.
– Judah Mintz stood out in both games by playing to his strengths, playmaking for teammates, separating into mid-range jumpers, slicing to the rim and applying pressure on defense. On the other hand, he missed his only two three-point attempts after taking just 66 in 32 games at Syracuse. And at 6’3″, 176.4 pounds with a 6’3.5″ wingspan, there are obvious questions about his physical profile.
Though he helped himself in Chicago, Mintz still has a difficult decision to make about the draft, as he’s still viewed as a second-rounder with a far better chance at cracking a weaker 2024 first round, assuming he improves his shooting range as a sophomore.
– Andre Jackson Jr. entered Wednesday’s scrimmage midway through the first quarter, immediately broke up a lob, turned it into a fastbreak bucket and drilled a catch-and-shoot jumper on the next possession. He filled the rest of the game with more defensive playmaking, savvy passes and a soft floater in the lane.
He was quieter on Thursday, and Jackson struggled to make jumpers during his pro day. Scouts even laughed at how bad it went while appreciating the fact his camp didn’t try to hide his shot. After Connecticut’s national title run, it’s still become easier to buy him as an outlier, capable of influencing NBA games as a transition weapon, ball-mover and defender—without needing to create or shoot—playing the same role he elevated the Huskies in.
-Oscar Tshiebwe unsurprisingly had two productive scrimmages, totaling 26 points and 25 rebounds in 41 minutes. NBA teams are obviously well aware of his physicality, motor and nose for the ball around the basket. The question is whether he moved the needle with some of the mid-range shots he hit, plus the threes he knocked down during his pro day.
While we’re still talking about a potential second-round pick, he only improved his chances of convincing a team that there could be a role for him, and that there is a possible outcome where Tshiebwe becomes a regular threat to make some rhythm jump shots.
1. San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92, PF/C, 2004)
2. Charlotte Hornets: Brandon Miller (Alabama, SF, Freshman)
3. Portland Trail Blazers: Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite, PG, 2004)
4. Houston Rockets: Amen Thompson (Overtime Elite, PG/SG, 2003)
5. Detroit Pistons: Jarace Walker (Houston, PF, Freshman)
6. Orlando Magic: Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite, SG/SF, 2003)
7. Indiana Pacers: Taylor Hendricks (Central Florida, PF, Freshman)
8. Washington Wizards: Cam Whitmore (Villanova, SF, Freshman)
9. Utah Jazz: Anthony Black (Arkansas, PG/SG, Freshman)
10. Dallas Mavericks: Gradey Dick (Kansas, SF, Freshman)
11. Orlando Magic (via Bulls): Keyonte George (Baylor, SG, Freshman)
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cason Wallace (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)
13. Toronto Raptors: Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas, SG, Freshman)
14. New Orleans Pelicans: Jett Howard (Michigan, SG/SF, Freshman)
15. Atlanta Hawks: GG Jackson (South Carolina, PF, Freshman)
16. Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves): Dariq Whitehead (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)
17. Los Angeles Lakers: Jordan Hawkins (Connecticut, SG, Freshman)
18. Miami Heat: Brice Sensabaugh (Ohio State, SG, Freshman)
19. Golden State Warriors: Kris Murray (Iowa, PF, Junior)
20. Houston Rockets (via Clippers): Branden Podziemski (Santa Clara, PG/SG, Sophomore)
21. Brooklyn Nets (via Suns): Jalen Hood-Schifino (Indiana, PG/SG, Freshman)
22. Brooklyn Nets: Bilal Coulibaly (Metropolitans 92, SF, 2004)
23. Portland Trail Blazers (via Knicks): Dereck Lively (Duke, C, Freshman)
24. Sacramento Kings: Leonard Miller (G League Ignite, SF, 2004)
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Colby Jones (Xavier, PG/SG, Junior)
26. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): Ben Sheppard (Belmont, SG, Senior)
27. Charlotte Hornets: Amari Bailey (UCLA, PG/SG, Freshman)
28. Utah Jazz (via Clippers): Noah Clowney (Alabama, PF/C, Freshman)
29. Indiana Pacers (via Celtics): Rayan Rupert (New Zealand Breakers, SG/SF, 2004)
30. Los Angeles Clippers (via Bucks): Kobe Bufkin (Michigan, SG, Sophomore)
31. Detroit Pistons: Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA, SF/PF, Senior)
32. San Antonio Spurs: Maxwell Lewis (Pepperdine, SF, Sophomore)
33. Boston Celtics: Andre Jackson Jr. (Connecticut, SF, Junior)
34. Charlotte Hornets: James Nnaji (Barcelona, C, 2004)
35. Oklahoma City Thunder: Oliver-Maxence Prosper (Marquette, SF, Junior)
36. Orlando Magic: Bobi Klintman (Wake Forest, PF, Freshman)
37. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Wizards): Tristan Vukcevic (KK Partizan, PF/C, 2003)
38. Sacramento Kings (via Pacers): Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana, PF/C, Senior)
39. Charlotte Hornets (via Jazz): Sidy Cissoko (G League Ignite, SG/SF, 2004)
40. Denver Nuggets (via Mavericks): Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State, SF/PF, Senior)
41. Charlotte Hornets (via Thunder): Marcus Sasser (Houston, PG/SG, Senior)
42. Washington Wizards (via Bulls): Terquavion Smith (North Carolina State, SG, Sophomore)
43. Portland Trail Blazers (via Hawks): Julian Strawther (Gonzaga, SF, Junior)
44. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Judah Mintz (Syracuse, PG/SG, Freshman)
45. Memphis Grizzlies (via Timberwolves): Dillon Jones (Weber State, SG/SF, Sophomore)
46. Atlanta Hawks (via Pelicans): Nikola Đurišić (Mega MIS, SF, 2004)
47. Los Angeles Lakers: Terrence Shannon Jr. (Illinois, SG/SF, Senior)
48. Los Angeles Clippers: Kobe Brown (Missouri, SF, Senior)
49. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Warriors): Tosan Evbuomwan (Princeton, PF, Senior)
50. Indiana Pacers (via Heat): Mouhamed Gueye (Washington State, PF/C, Sophomore)
51. Brooklyn Nets: Ricky Council IV (Arkansas, SG/SF, Junior)
52. Phoenix Suns: Jalen Wilson (Kansas, SF, Senior)
53. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Knicks): Seth Lundy (Penn State, SG/SF, Senior)
54. Sacramento Kings: Jaylen Clark (UCLA, SF, Junior)
55. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): Julian Phillips (Tennessee, SF, Freshman)
56. Memphis Grizzlies: Mojave King (G League Ignite, SG/SF, 2002)
57. Chicago Bulls (via Nuggets): Forfeited
58. Philadelphia 76ers: Forfeited
59. Washington Wizards (via Celtics): Jordan Miller (Miami, SF, Senior)
60. Milwaukee Bucks: Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky, PF/C, Senior)