Table of Contents

    By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast

    NBA Draft Preview – Forwards

    The ping pong balls bounced for the San Antonio Spurs, who were the big winners of the Victor Wembanyama Madness. Now that we know that Victor is headed to SA for certain, let’s examine what the rest of the 2023 draft class looks like. Believe it or not, there are other players in the draft outside of Victor and there’s a bunch of big-man talent that could fit nicely into today’s ever-changing NBA game.

    Last week I profiled the best guards on the draft board – this week we shift our energy to the BIGS. The NBA Playoffs have been riddled with teams that flow through the game-changing energy of big men like Nikola, Jokic, Anthony Davis, Bam Adebayo, and the Celtics duo of Al Horford and Robert Williams. So who will be the next forward emerging from the 2023 draft class to make a lasting impact in the association? Let’s break it down:

    The Blue-Chip Forwards

    1. San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama (Every Position – France)

    Yes, I know you hate me for listing WEMBY in both the guards and forwards list, but it’s warranted as he’s THAT MUCH of a game-changer and will prove to be in San Antonio. At 7 foot 4 (and maybe growing?) you can’t not classify him as a threat down low. Solely framing his work as a forward at the next level, he has the movement of a Kristaps Porzingis but also the thundering dunks down low like an Alonzo Mourning or Larry Johnson from the 90s. After averaging 10+ rebounds and 3+ blocks a game in the last French pro league season, half of that output in his rookie campaign would be an impressive start. 

    3. Portland Trail Blazers: Brandon Miller (PF – Alabama)

    The best prospect in the college game in the States is likely a top 3 pick, and you have to figure Portland would be a good landing spot for the “3 and D” guard that lit up college hoops last season. He could get as far away from the Tuscaloosa bubble and the off-the-court issues he’s run into, and get nurtured along by Damian Lillard, a natural scorer in his own right with similar game speed and style.

    5. Detroit Pistons: Cam Whitmore (F – Villanova)

    Whitmore is one of those athletic big men that makes awe-inspiring plays look easy. He gives off some Robert Williams vibes with his shot-altering ability, but injuries may have limited what we saw in his offensive prowess. He looks to be another young piece for the maturation of the Detroit Pistons.

    The Sleepers At Forward

    10. Dallas Mavericks: Jarace Walker (F – Houston)

    Now this fit is intriguing. If you remember how impressive the University of Houston’s 2022-2023 campaign was that got them a 1 seed in the bracket, you’ll remember Walker’s pivotal role in that squad. Much of the hype was geared toward teammate Marcus Sasser but Walker might emerge as the first Cougar drafted after all. The idea of him staying in Texas and being paired with Luke Doncic is very much in play.

    AP Photo/Butch Dill

    16: Utah Jazz – GG Jackson (F – South Carolina)

    Rightfully dubbed as a sleeper, Jackson is young at 18, raw, and untested overall. His flashes of brilliance in SEC play this past season were enough to mystify scouts for what the long-term graph could look like on Jackson’s progression. His actual first name is Gregory but GG rolls off the tongue nicely.

    22. Brooklyn Nets – Rayan Rupert (F – NZ Breakers)

    As if the geotags on these draft prospectus could get any broader, there’s now a treasure trove of players coming from the ranks of the New Zealand pro ranks in recent years. This Rayan spells his name very strangely but his game is far from strange to me. He’s a rangy wing forward that has a surprisingly long wingspan – watch out for the rookie from Down Under.

    The Familiar College Faces

    Trayce Jackson-Davis – The four-year star at Indiana is finally taking his talents to the draft, with a prolific NCAA career in his rearview mirror – he looks to be a late 1st round pick.

    Dariq Whitehead – Duke’s big man last year had injury setbacks that limited his action, but he’s giving the draft a go and figures to get a first-round contract.

    Zach Edey – It feels like just days ago we were toasting the Purdue Boilermaker and labeling their center as the best player in college basketball. The mighty have fallen and so has Edey’s draft stock – he’s likely a second-round pick.

    Draft Coverage begins at 8:00 PM on June 22nd on ESPN + ABC

    NBA FAQs

    How do you win NBA pick'em pool?

    In order to win an NBA Pick'Em pool, players must have the most points at the end of the season. For each correct pick during the regular season, members will receive one point (customizable based on the pool commissioner). Some pools will choose picks based on the spread or straight up.

    What is NBA pick'em pool?

    In an NBA Pick'Em pool, players make weekly picks (either against the point spread or straight-up). The number of picks each week is customizable by the pool commissioner. Optional best-bet and confidence pick settings can be put into place as well. Commissioners can use a hosting site like RunYourPool to keep up with scoring and calculations.

    How to play an NBA basketball pool?

    The way one plays a basketball pool varies on the game type. For example, in Pick'em Pools, you simply pick every game each week.

    How to run a weekly basketball pool?

    In order to run a basketball pool, you must first crown yourself as Pool Commissioner. Begin by picking a game type like Survivor or Pick'Em. You'll want to establish rules before inviting friends, family, and colleagues to join. As commissioner, you make the rules and also need to enforce them equally and fairly.

    How do you win NBA Survivor Pool?

    In NBA Survivor, the last player standing wins. The name of the game is to make it to the next week. A member will select one game from all the games in that given week. If members choose the correct winner, they move on to the next week. If they pick incorrectly, they are eliminated from the contest.

    What is NBA Surivor Pool?

    In an NBA Survivor pool, players choose one NBA team each week that they believe will win. They may only pick a team one time per season. Picks are made "straight up," not using a point spread system. If their pick is correct, they survive until the next week. An incorrect pick eliminates the player from the pool for the remainder of the season.

    What is a basketball pool?

    "Basketball Pool" is a broad term for a group of people competitively guessing the outcome of one or more basketball game. There are many types of formats, each assigning winners differently. They can be played informally between friends or through a more formalized system.

    How to make a basketball pool?

    A basketball pool generally requires the creation of a shareable spreadsheet (like Google Sheets) so that members may pick teams. Then depending on the game type, creators must use several kinds of formulas (e.g. CountIF), data validation, and conditional formatting. Or, you can just use basketball pool hosting services like RunYourPool where we do all the work for you!

    How do you win NBA Playoff Bracket Pool?

    In NBA Playoff Bracket pools, the winning entry is the team with the most points at the end of Playoffs. Members try to pick the winner of each playoff series. For each series, they also pick how many games they think the series will go. Points are awarded for each winning pick, with bonus points for how close they come to the correct series length

    What is an NBA Playoff Bracket Pool?

    In an NBA Playoff Bracket pool, players pick the winner of each NBA Playoff series. Commissioners can choose to have members receive bonus points for guessing the series length. Points increase as the tournament progresses (points per round are configurable by the commissioner). The winning entry is the player with the most points at the end of the playoffs.

    Are there other Playoff Pools?

    Yes! RunYourPool offers plenty of contest types for various playoff events! March Madness squares and bracket pools aer very popular among basketball fanatics, while the Super Bowl Prop Pool is the most popular annual event game.

    How to set up a basketball pool?

    To set up a basketball pool, you'll need to first choose a pool type like Survivor or Pick'em. Then, you'll need to set the ground rules. As pool commissioner, you'll enforce these rules and make sure the game runs smoothly throughout the season. Many commissioners use pool hosting sites like RunYourPool to make it easier and more engaging.


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    About Author

    Alex Lauzon

    Lauzon is a podcast host, live broadcaster, analyst and betting extraordinaire for the Course of Life brand. After earning a degree in broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University, he worked in ESPN and ESPN radio newsrooms. He has interviewed athletes and celebrities from all walks of life who often love to play golf. When he's not playing golf or talking about the game on Course of Life, Lauzon enjoys time with his wife and dog, checking off the next island vacation destination or counting down the days to the next Dell Match Play in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

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