By Hocine LOUKKAF on 12/6/2021
As we’re noticing more and more weaknesses watching current 2022 draft prospects (Banchero and Holmgren for example), it seems even more obvious that the 2023 class will be special. We can argue that the best draft ever has to be between the 1984, 1996 and 2003. Here are five reasons why the 2023 class could be among the best.
Victor Wembanyama, 7-3 PF/C, ASVEL (France)
The Frenchman has been dubbed top prospect since Lebron James as he dominated the FIBA U19WC final against the USA (22pts 8rbds 8bl vs 2021 draft #1 prospect Chet Holmgren) playing against players two years older than him. He has taken a new path this summer, moving from Nanterre, where he had been playing since he was 11, to Tony Parker’s own ASVEL. Bothered by injuries, Wemby has struggled in both Euroleague and Pro A, relying maybe too much on his 3pt shot (4/6.3 attempted FGs in Pro A). His length and agility are still incredible but he needs to stay healthy to adapt to his new status and team. He had his best scoring game last week in Euroleague for his comeback with 5pts (2/6 FG) 3rbds and a block in 14min.
Scoot Henderson, 6-3 PG, G-League Ignite
The latest American sensation, the ATL prospect has crushed the G-League, getting 2022 Draft #1 spot vibes…if he was old enough to enter it. Despite his poor shooting in his first games (13% 3pt), Henderson is averaging 18.5pts on 47% FG. He has also been an impressive ball handler with 4.7as and only 2tos, not bad for a kid who should be in HS this year. If he can reach at least 30% from three and with one more professionnal year under his belt, he will be Wemby’s main competition for the #1 spot in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Shaedon Sharpe, 6-4 SG, HS/Kentucky
The Canadian has dominated the EYBL circuit and decided to enroll at Kentucky in January, redshirting this season to get ready to dominate next year. He has a great mix of physical tools and shooting and can finish at the rim with the best of them. He could be a dominant guard a la Brad Beal with maybe even more leaping ability and strength.
Dereck Lively, 7-1 PF/C, Westtown HS, Duke
A teammate of current Memphis C Jalen Duren in AAU play, Lively may have more tools than the 2022 Draft top 5 prospect. At 7-1, the Duke commit can do it all on the court, from shooting the three to play in the low post and, of course, rebound and block shots. He may not possess Wemby’s extreme length but has the same type of unicorn profile.
Emoni Bates, 6-8 SF, Memphis
Once dubbed the next KD, Bates has disappointed over the last two years. He has not grown as much as some could have expected and his bodytype prevents him from gaining much more weight. Once that said, he’s playing NCAA while being one year younger than your average freshman. Lacking the muscle and elite athleticism to finish easily at the rim, being consistent from outside will definitely be the key as he has shot at least three three-pointers in each of his eight games, recording 40% or more in four of these games while shooting 17% or less ( three games with o 3pt made with at least 3 attempts) in the other four.
Click below for ou latest mock draft.