As usual, the 2023 NBA Draft is poised to provide teams with future stars, valuable role players, and – of course – the occasional bust.

With so much volatility and uncertainty from pick to pick, it can be hard to decipher which teams made the right moves and which ones will be hoping for better luck next year.

With that in mind, here are theScore’s grades for how each team fared Thursday night.

15 G Kobe Bufkin Michigan
39 F Mouhamed Gueye (via trade) Washington State
46 G Seth Lundy Penn State

Bufkin can play off the ball alongside both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. The Hawks will benefit from the Michigan guard’s strong defensive play, especially when he shares the floor with Young. Bufkin also provides some backcourt insurance in the event Murray leaves in free agency next summer.

38 F Jordan Walsh (via trade) Arkansas

Despite wheeling and dealing in and out of draft picks all night, the Celtics finished with only one second-rounder. Jordan Walsh is a great one though; he’s a versatile defender on the wing who could play spot minutes alongside Boston’s offensive stars.

21 F Noah Clowney Alabama
22 G Dariq Whitehead Duke
51 F Jalen Wilson Kansas

Stocked with back-to-back picks in the early 20s, the Nets took two young projects in Noah Clowney and Dariq Whitehead. Clowney was a four-star recruit who impressed at Alabama with his athleticism and shooting in a lanky frame, while Whitehead was a high-touted five-star who struggled at Duke due to injury. In a perfect world, Clowney is a versatile forward blocking shots and making plays on offense, while Whitehead turns into an elite 3-point sniper. However, those scenarios are both way more hypothetical than likely.

2 F Brandon Miller Alabama
27 G Nick Smith Jr. Arkansas
31 C James Nnaji (via trade) Nigeria
41 G Amari Bailey UCLA

Brandon Miller is a cleaner fit alongside LaMelo Ball than Scoot Henderson. The Alabama standout’s shot-creating skills will provide a much-needed boost to the Hornets’ half-court offense, which ranked 29th in the Association with 92.6 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. He’ll also be an asset on the defensive end with his length and switchability. Meanwhile, the selection of Nick Smith gives Charlotte backcourt depth with Dennis Smith and Kelly Oubre hitting free agency. The Arkansas product struggled to stay healthy during his lone season with the Razorbacks but showed glimpses of the player who was the No. 3 overall prospect in last year’s recruiting class.

35 F Julian Phillips Tennessee

Much like the Celtics, the Bulls had just one second-rounder and they made it count with Tennessee forward Julian Phillips. An athletic freak with elite defensive skills, this pick could become a complete steal if Chicago can improve his jumper.

49 F Emoni Bates Eastern Michigan

Emoni Bates may never be an NBA-caliber defender or athlete, but his pedigree as a scorer was always going to give him a chance to get drafted. Perhaps one day he’ll live up to his prep school potential.

12 C Dereck Lively II (via trade) Duke
24 F Olivier Maxence-Prosper (via trade) Marquette

Though it was widely expected to be at No. 10, the Mavericks were able to move back and take a primary target in center Dereck Lively at No. 12 while getting off of Davis Bertans’ contract. Lively fits the Mavericks to a tee, providing desperately-needed rim protection and a terrific roll man in pick-and-roll plays with Luka Doncic. While Lively won’t deliver much scoring next season, he’ll certainly make a major impact defensively from Day 1. Being able to maneuver down the board and pick a perfect fit is as solid a move as there was on Thursday. Dallas then made another trade for another solid defender in Olivier-Maxence Prosper. It’s very clear where the Mavericks were looking to improve in the draft.

29 F Julian Strawther Gonzaga
32 G Jalen Pickett Penn State
37 F Hunter Tyson Clemson

The Nuggets made it evident they were drafting to fill roles on next year’s roster, as their championship core remains mostly intact moving forward. Julian Strawther, Jalen Pickett, and Hunter Tyson are all veteran college players with specific strengths that would lend well to rookie roles. The issue is that none project to be anything more than bench players at their peaks, which leaves this haul rather unspectacular.

5 F Ausar Thompson Overtime Elite
25 G Marcus Sasser (via trade) Houston

With Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey manning the backcourt and Jalen Duren looking like the center of the future, the Pistons needed a wing and got the most explosive one remaining on the board in Ausar Thompson. The major issue with Thompson is his jumper, which could be an issue with the current Pistons core, but his addition clearly raises the ceiling of the team that had the NBA’s worst record last year. However, in a slightly surprising move, the Pistons gave up pick No. 31 and future draft capital to take Marcus Sasser, a player who probably would have been available with their original pick.

19 G Brandin Podziemski Santa Clara
57 F Trayce Jackson-Davis (via trade) Indiana

It’s clear that the Warriors weren’t needing to look for home-run potential with their first-rounder this year with all the top-end talent they possess. Picking Brandin Podziemski as a sharpshooter and secondary playmaker off the bench makes tons of sense, especially on the day that they dealt Jordan Poole away. While Podziemski’s lack of size and defense could be concerning in the wrong situation, Golden State seems like one of the best places he could’ve landed.

4 G Amen Thompson Overtime Elite
20 F Cam Whitmore Villanova

The addition of Amen Thompson gives the Rockets a dynamic one-two punch in their backcourt. His playmaking skills complement Jalen Green’s score-first mentality, and he’s got the tools to be a perimeter stopper. Thompson’s jumper is the biggest question mark in his game, but he’s got the potential to be Houston’s long-term answer at the point. The Rockets scooped up another athletic specimen in Villanova freshman Cam Whitmore with their second first-rounder. The former McDonald’s All-American was projected to go as high as No. 5 but reportedly slid due to a combination of poor workouts and interviews. Whitmore’s upside certainly outweighs the potential character concerns, especially at this stage of the draft.

8 F Jarace Walker (via trade) Houston
26 F Ben Sheppard Belmont
47 G Mojave King New Zealand
55 G Isaiah Wong Miami

After posting one of the worst defenses in the NBA last season, the Pacers clearly prioritized that end of the floor Thursday. Jarace Walker is seen as one of the draft’s premier defensive players and immediately slots in as a long-term solution in Indiana’s frontcourt. The prospect of Walker in the pick-and-roll with Tyrese Haliburton is very exciting. Adding Ben Sheppard in the same mold as Andrew Nembhard last year makes sense; Sheppard’s a mature player who can play defense, and who’ll know his role alongside Indiana’s burgeoning stars.

30 F Kobe Brown Missouri
48 F Jordan Miller Miami

Though Kobe Brown wasn’t expected to go in the first round, his fit with a contending Clippers team makes some sense. One of the oldest players in the draft, Brown will slot in as an offensively versatile combo forward at the end of the bench. Solid, but unspectacular.

17 G Jalen Hood-Schifino Indiana
40 F Maxwell Lewis (via trade) Pepperdine

The Lakers have clearly targeted size to complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and Jalen Hood-Schifino was the biggest pure point guard outside of Amen Thompson. A great facilitator who can create his own shot in the mid-range, Los Angeles will gladly take his creativity on the floor. Don’t expect an All-Star appearance down the road, but Hood-Schifino should be a valuable addition to the tail end of the James era in La La Land.

45 F Gregory Jackson II South Carolina
56 F Tarik Biberovic Turkey

Getting an unproven 18-year-old in GG Jackson and a European draft-and-stash in Tarik Biberovic is as unspectacular as a multi-pick draft gets.

18 F Jaime Jaquez Jr. UCLA

There might be no player in this year’s draft class that embodies Heat culture more than Jaime Jaquez. The UCLA standout is experienced and plays with a ton of energy on both ends of the floor. Jaquez fills Miami’s need for a bigger, defensive-minded wing and should immediately slot into the club’s rotation. The Heat’s run to the Finals shouldn’t overshadow their scoring struggles during the regular season. Jaquez’s shot-creating prowess and ability to handle the rock will inject some life into the Miami offense.

36 G Andre Jackson Jr. (via trade) UConn
58 F Chris Livingston Kentucky

Andre Jackson is one of the draft’s most NBA-ready second-rounders, which is a nice addition for a contending team in Milwaukee. There’s no reason why the athletic playmaker can’t make an impact in the Bucks’ rotation in 2023-24.

33 F Leonard Miller (via trade) G League Ignite
53 G Jaylen Clark UCLA

Many tabbed Leonard Miller as a first-round pick, so the Timberwolves taking him in the second as a potential Naz Reid replacement is an exciting development. Miller truly turned his game up in the latter stages of the G League season, and could carry that over to the NBA should he receive minutes.

14 G Jordan Hawkins UConn

As arguably the most talented roster in the lottery, with the hopeful return of Zion Williamson to boot, the Pelicans could draft for need and chose the best pure shooter remaining on the board in Jordan Hawkins. Alongside talented scorers in Williamson, CJ McCollum, and Brandon Ingram, Hawkins will simply be used to space the floor offensively. While he’s not overly dynamic, he won’t be asked to have the ball in his hands often. This was a safe yet effective pick for New Orleans.

No picks.

10 G Cason Wallace (via trade) Kentucky
50 F Keyontae Johnson Kansas State

Cason Wallace gives the Thunder another tough perimeter stopper to pair with Luguentz Dort. The Kentucky product is a smothering on-ball defender and can guard up and down the lineup. He finished fourth in the SEC last season with 64 steals. Wallace has the flexibility to play on and off the ball, allowing him to be deployed alongside either Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Josh Giddey. While Wallace isn’t a natural playmaker, he’s more than capable of subbing in at the point when Gilgeous-Alexander or Giddey sits.

6 G Anthony Black Arkansas
11 G Jett Howard Michigan

Orlando got some much-needed backcourt size in Black. At 6-foot-7, the Arkansas product can effectively defend the point of attack and his playmaking adds another wrinkle to a Magic squad that finished 26th in offensive efficiency last season. Howard should also help the team put up more points, specifically as an outside threat. He made just under 37% of his threes as a freshman and will likely help Orlando improve upon its 24th-ranked efficiency rate from downtown.

No picks.

52 F Toumani Camara Dayton

The Suns desperately need bench players next season with their star-studded starting lineup, so maybe the Belgian-born Camara will see minutes from Day 1. He could make an impact with his rebounding and athleticism.

3 G Scoot Henderson G League Ignite
23 F Kris Murray Iowa
43 G Rayan Rupert France

What on earth happens next with the Trail Blazers? With the Hornets taking Miller at No. 2, the presumptive second-best player in Scoot Henderson fell in Portland’s lap. However, Blazers star Damian Lillard has made it clear he doesn’t want to be part of another young roster, and a rookie at the same position as the superstar doesn’t add up. It seems likely that Portland will either trade Lillard and start over around Henderson or deal Henderson for key veteran pieces. Either way, the Blazers will have an excellent option running the point next season, a rare luxury in today’s NBA. Taking Iowa’s Kris Murray with their second selection does check the box for Lillard’s desire for older players, as he was the oldest remaining projected first-rounder.

34 F Colby Jones Xavier
54 F Jalen Slawson Furman

Colby Jones and Jalen Slawson are two versatile forwards who can play countless different roles for the Kings. While neither may become fixtures in the lineup from the get-go, there’s certainly potential that at least one of them becomes a promising player down the road.

1 F Victor Wembanyama France
44 F Sidy Cissoko France

Shocker: The Spurs chose one of the most hyped NBA prospects of all time in towering Frenchman Victor Wembanyama. There are zero downsides to this pick; Wembanyama will immediately slot in as the team’s best player and centerpiece moving forward. Even if the 7-foot-4 forward struggles with his lack of physicality or misses games due to injury, his pure upside as a never-before-seen talent at his size is rare. There’s no reason for the selection of Wembanyama to be anything other than the highest grade possible.

13 G Gradey Dick Kansas

Toronto desperately needed to address its outside shooting, and Gradey Dick should help with that. The Kansas wing shot 40.3% on nearly six attempts from deep per game and finished second in the competitive Big 12 with 83 threes. While Dick isn’t a lockdown defender, he works extremely hard, using his length to generate turnovers. The 19-year-old averaged 1.4 steals per game and finished seventh in the conference with 2.1 defensive win shares.

9 F Taylor Hendricks UCF
16 G Keyonte George Baylor
28 F Brice Sensabaugh Ohio State

With a burgeoning offensive star in the frontcourt in Lauri Markkanen, the Jazz chose to complement him with UCF forward Taylor Hendricks. The floor spacing, rebounding, and rim protecting that Hendricks provides give the team a different look to Markkanen, but it also clouds up a roster with defensive star Walker Kessler emerging down low. While depth is always nice, having three of your most promising players take up two positions seems like a bit of a confusing choice. From there, the Jazz took guard Keyonte George at No. 16, a solid scorer but a flawed one who struggles with efficiency, athleticism, and defense. He may be the heir apparent to free agent Jordan Clarkson off the pine. Brice Sensabaugh at No. 28 is another player who profiles as a scorer but has evident flaws on the defensive end.

7 G Bilal Coulibaly (via trade) France
42 F Tristan Vukcevic Serbia

In the draft’s first stunner, the Wizards bounced the Pacers in the draft order and selected rising Frenchman Bilal Coulibaly. Not even seen as a 2023 draft pick six months ago, Coulibaly’s prototypical size, shooting, and athleticism make him an ideal developmental piece for a now-rebuilding Wizards squad. There’s little chance Coulibaly will be the seventh-best rookie next season, as his draft slot indicates, but we could be looking back in five years and seeing him as one of the draft’s top-tier talents.

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