The 2023 NBA Draft is right around the corner and the talking heads highlight one player they’re keyed in on this June.
It’s Christmastime for NBA fans, the NBA Draft is here. The biggest day of many players’ lives, the draft is one of the few times on the calendar that every NBA fan stops what they’re doing to put eyeballs on one event.
This year, it’s more clear than ever who’s going first overall, but that’s no reason not to watch with plenty of exciting prospects all the way down the order.
And for the second year in a row, thedeeptwo.com’s collection of writers will talk about their favourite players who could go anywhere from one to 58 (yes, we have 58 picks again, how exciting).
Alessio Conte: Brandon Miller
After quite the stellar freshman college season, Brandon Miller has flown up draft boards to even rival ‘number one pick in any other draft’ Scoot Henderson for the second pick to the Charlotte Hornets.
Standing at 6’9” with a 6’11” wingspan, Miller boasts an almost-NBA-ready frame with shoulders wide enough to build significant bulk throughout the first few years of his career. His 38 percent three-point rate is also nothing to scoff at for any college player, let alone an athletically gifted freshman.
My initial reaction to Miller was fear, having flashbacks of the Jabari Smith Jr. rise in last year’s draft with his sweet jump shot and potential defensive capabilities.
However, my fears have been quashed considering the fact that Miller can, in fact, dribble a basketball.
A perfectly sized forward that has flashed good ability in every developable skill that an NBA team would require, Miller’s ceiling is well and truly wherever he and his future franchise want to take it.
He will fit any roster that takes him on, projects to be a contributor from day one considering his shooting talents and may just be a significant building block for whatever lowly franchise is willing and able to secure his services.
Marco Holden Jeffery: Jarace Walker
If you thought a nine-hour detour through the Austrian rail system (yes I’m in Europe) could stop me from profiling the latest Toronto Raptors-sized draft prospect then you are sorely mistaken.
A 6’8”, 108kg forward with a 7’2” wingspan coming off a sterling rookie season with the Houston Cougars full of highlight-reel blocks, most draft previews of Jarace Walker will focus on his defence – and rightly so.
But let’s look at something more intriguing: his upside on offence. His quick feet and agility for his size cast him as a perfect cutter or rollman. He loses defenders on the perimeter with ease, has solid hands and can barrel through any help that comes into the lane.
Walker comes with a varied bag, if sophomoric in nature. He’s a useful player off the dribble thanks to his deft footwork and comes with a floater and mid-range game. He shot an okay 34.7 percent from three on 2.8 attempts per game last season, but his form is solid enough to hint at improvement. And he has enough post game to bail out his side late in the shot clock.
I’m doubtful that many of these skills will translate immediately to the NBA, if at all, but do they need to at an elite level to make him an impact player?
Aaron Gordon came into the league with higher draft stock than Jarace Walker carries at the moment, and with an extra level of speed and athleticism.
But when his fortunes as a “star player” in Orlando didn’t pan out, he took what was best about his game (defence, finishing and off-ball movement) and turned himself into one of the league’s most valuable (and now championship-calibre) role players. His three-point shooting became a bonus, as did his penchant for posting up smaller players when necessity called for it.
Walker probably won’t be walking into a franchise with a Gordon-level of expectations on his shoulders, which is a good thing. With an elite pass-first point guard in Tyrese Halliburton or a variety of creation from Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, all Walker would need to do is be in the right place at the right time.
Sean Carroll: Victor Wembanyama
Well, I clearly took the easy route. But holy crap, have you seen the size of this guy? I’m not one for unnecessary Bleacher Report notifications but it’s nice to know someone’s watching this streetlamp with a French accent as keenly as I am.
For those that missed it (or for the smart people who turned off their B/R notifications), Victor Wembanyama (obviously) doesn’t fit in normal human-sized spaces, including the New York subway, and… well, any space with a roof.
He grabbed a baseball before throwing the first pitch at a Yankees game and it looks like something went wrong really early in a game of Spore.
But in all seriousness, what’s he going to do on the basketball court? In his Mets 82 games, teams have been throwing their burly power forward on him and shading the rim-protecting centre over to help but it still doesn’t matter – he can shoot over you.
Unless someone signs Tako Fall (which they shouldn’t), Wemby will be able to do it against NBA teams as well.
The San Antonio Spurs just jumped from one of the most unwatchable teams in the league to first and I can’t wait to witness multiple triple-doubles with blocks…
Lukas Petridis: Terquavion Smith
At 165 pounds, Terquavion is lighter than most Melbournians after 262 days of lockdown. He’s also significantly lighter than Ron Harper Jr..
Smith is a microwave who can get you eight quick points and inject energy into your team’s attack if things get stagnant. Don’t get it twisted, he isn’t stopping anyone and he isn’t creating for anyone else, but when there are two minutes to go in the first quarter and your scoreboard has said 16 for the past four, enter Terquavion.
He can turn the corner and pack one with his left hand, or stop for a jimmy with his right. His ambidexterity is peculiar and he can find balance stopping on a dime or throwing up a floater.
He also loves it. He isn’t afraid to miss and he’s less afraid to make.
You gotta give it to his parents as well. Having been handed that last name they didn’t settle for some bullshit like Nick or J.R. “My Name Is Earl” Smith, they bit the bullet and named their boy Terquavion. If you’re looking for your fourth favourite team to draft their third-string point guard, look no further.