Table of Contents
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
NBA Draft Preview: Guards
The ping pong balls have scattered around the machine and we executed the lottery. The San Antonio Spurs were the big winners of the Victor Wembanyama Madness. Now that we know that Victor is headed to SA for certain, it’s time to grade the rest of the 2023 draft class and see what your team needs. Chances are your team is not heading to the NBA finals or having their season end in disappointment like my Celtics, so you’ve already been through the appropriate grieving process to now be hyped up for the draft.
This week let’s look at the guards – the floor generals, wing scorers, and highlight factories of the future NBA that are likely to go in round one in just a few weeks. As for that French guy you may have heard of who’s going number one, he’s so damn impressive that he can be any positional category, so our draft thoughts start there.
The Blue Chip Guards
1. San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama (Every Position – France)
There’s a little bit of height discrimination going on here, as the next Messiah of hoops and the most hyped prospect in decades is listed as a center. He’s anything but that and has to be mentioned for his guard-like play in addition to his overpowering size and height down low. It’s an injustice to not mention his Kevin Durant-like handles and his silky smooth delivery from beyond the arc. You could literally make a rule to keep Wembanyma out of the paint and he’d still be drafted number one on his shooting and playmaking alone. Popovich has to still be drooling from last week’s lottery.
2. Charlotte Hornets: Scoot Henderson (PG – G – League Ignite)
To quickly fill you in, you don’t know Scott from college hoops because he never played collegiately. Scoot took the G League route and got right to work in the minor league feeder to the NBA after high school ended. Two years later, he’s remembered for being an innovator in the alternative professional path and his stock has risen accordingly with his young game. He notably dueled respectively with Wembanyama in an exhibition game and is a shift floor general that can create offense in a heartbeat. Now imagine him at an organization like Charlotte headed up by Michael Jordan.
4. Houston Rockets: Amen Thompson (PG – Overtime Elite)
We’ve had the Lopez brothers, the Thompsons…and now we have the New Thompsons. We also have the new paths to being drafted in the NBA on full display, and both Amen and his brother Ausar are from the Overtime Elite player factory, a competitive league for 16-20-year-old hoops prospects. Amen is much more of a pure point vs Ausar as a wingman small forward. Imagine Amen running the uptempo Rockets offense in Houston?
The Sleepers at Guard
9. Utah Jazz: Cason Wallace (PG – Kentucky)
If this postseason is teaching us anything, it’s that a defense-driven guard that can dictate pace helps out a lot of NBA franchises in the biggest games. Wallace comes from an NBA-ready program and is one of the best defenders in this year’s draft class.
11. Orlando Magic: Anthony Black (SG – Arkansas)
Black shot onto the scene as Arkansas put together some great tourney runs in recent years, and his game shows lots of versatility. He could improve his shot with time but he’s a steal machine and knows how to move an offense appropriately.
13. Toronto Raptors: Keyontae George (SG – Baylor)
George was the straw that stirred the drink for Baylor, and he is NBA-level talent when it comes to shot creation. He has to work on inefficiencies on the floor but alongside a veteran point guard, he’ll learn the ropes of the NBA in due time.
The Familiar College Faces
Gradey Dick – The slightly hateable Kansas Jayhawks scoring guard will likely get picked in the teens, and maybe even as high as the Dallas Mavericks at pick no. 10.
Marcus Sasser – The four-year star for the University of Houston had preseason player of the year buzz but delivered an underwhelming performance last season. Still, he;’s tracking as a late first-round pick and should be an immediate impact player in the right fit.
Jaime Jaquez Jr – The long-haired Bruin from UCLA gives off Adam Morrison vibes and an award-winning PAC 12 season – it feels like he;’s been at Westwood forever but his time to be drafted is here and he’ll likely go in the twenties.
Next week, we get BIG and dive into the best forwards on the 2023 NBA Draft board.
Draft Coverage begins at 8:00PM on June 22nd on ESPN + ABC
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