Posted by WALKER THOMPKINS
2023 NBA Draft presented by State Farm which will be held on June 22.
LOOKING OUT FOR NO. 1
• The San Antonio Spurs are set to make the first pick in the NBA Draft for the third time. The Spurs previously selected David Robinson (1987) and Tim Duncan (1997) with the No. 1 pick.
• Robinson and Duncan were teammates for six seasons, leading the Spurs to two NBA championships. Duncan won three more titles and two Kia NBA MVP awards with San Antonio. Both players were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
• Since the NBA Draft Lottery began in 1985, the Cleveland Cavaliers have made the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft the most (five times). With the top pick, Cleveland selected Brad Daugherty (1986), LeBron James (2003), Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Bennett (2013) and Andrew Wiggins (2014).
• This year’s first overall pick will potentially join a San Antonio roster that includes 2022-23 NBA All-Rookie Second Team selection Jeremy Sochan, leading scorers Keldon Johnson (22.0 ppg) and Devin Vassell (18.5 ppg), and Malaki Branham, who averaged 12.6 points after the All-Star break as a rookie last season. Gregg Popovich recently completed his 27th consecutive season as the Spurs’ head coach.
• The Spurs have connections to France’s Victor Wembanyama, the potential No. 1 overall pick. French point guard Tony Parker, a four-time NBA champion with San Antonio, is the majority owner of ASVEL Basket, one of Wembanyama’s former teams. Fellow countryman Boris Diaw, who played four seasons with the Spurs and won an NBA championship alongside Parker in 2014, is the president of Wembanyama’s team this past season, Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 of LNB Pro A.
• A college freshman has been the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft in each of the last 13 years. The last non-freshman to be selected with the first pick was Oklahoma sophomore Blake Griffin in 2009.
• In the common era of the NBA Draft (since 1966), Duke has had the most first overall picks with four, followed by Kentucky with three. The Blue Devils’ No. 1 selections are Elton Brand (1999), Kyrie Irving (2011), Zion Williamson (2019) and Paolo Banchero (2022). The Wildcats’ No. 1 selections are John Wall (2010), Anthony Davis (2012) and Karl-Anthony Towns (2015).
• In the Lottery era, four of the 38 first overall picks have won an NBA championship with the team that drafted them: David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs; first pick in 1987), Tim Duncan (Spurs; first pick in 1997), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers; first pick in 2003) and Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers; first pick in 2011). James’ NBA championship with the Cavaliers came in his second stint with the team.
PICKING AND CHOOSING
• The Charlotte Hornets franchise is set to pick second overall in the NBA Draft for the fourth time. With the No. 2 pick in 1992, the Hornets selected Alonzo Mourning. With the second pick in 2004 and 2012, the then Charlotte Bobcats selected Emeka Okafor and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, respectively.
• The Hornets have another pick in the first round (No. 27) and three second-round picks (Nos. 34, 39 and 41). Charlotte has made three selections in each of the previous four drafts (2019-22).
• The Portland Trail Blazers are set to pick third overall in the NBA Draft for the first time. This will be their highest pick since selecting Greg Oden with the top pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
• The Houston Rockets are set to pick fourth overall in the NBA Draft for the first time. The Rockets have made picks in the top three in each of the previous two years, selecting Jalen Green (No. 2 in 2021) and Jabari Smith Jr. (No. 3 in 2022).
• The Detroit Pistons are set to make the fifth pick in the NBA Draft for the second consecutive year. In 2022, the Pistons selected Jaden Ivey, who averaged 16.3 points and 5.2 assists and was named to the 2022-23 Kia NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
• The Orlando Magic has multiple picks in the Lottery (Nos. 6 and 11) for the second time in the last three years. In 2021, the Magic selected Jalen Suggs (No. 5) and Franz Wagner (No. 8) in the Lottery.
• After not making a selection in the top nine from 1990-2021, the Indiana Pacers (No. 7) are set to pick in the top seven for the second straight season. Last year, the Pacers chose 2022-23 Kia NBA All-Rookie First Team selection Bennedict Mathurin with the sixth overall pick.
• The Washington Wizards are set to make the eighth overall pick in the NBA Draft for the first time. This will be their highest pick since selecting Otto Porter Jr. with the third overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
• The Utah Jazz (No. 9 pick) is set to select in the top 10 for the first time since choosing Dante Exum with the fifth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. • There are 58 picks in the 2022 NBA Draft instead of the usual 60. The Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers both forfeited second-round picks for violating league rules governing the timing of free agency discussions.
• Alabama’s Brandon Miller has a chance to become the third top-five pick in school history, joining Leon Douglas (No. 4 in 1976) and Antonio McDyess (No. 2 in 1995).
• Houston’s Jarace Walker has a chance to become the school’s highest draft pick since Hakeem Olajuwon was selected with the first pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. • Villanova’s Cam Whitmore has a chance to become the school’s fifth NBA Draft Lottery pick, joining Kerry Kittles (1996), Tim Thomas (1997), Randy Foye (2006) and Mikal Bridges (2018).
• Arkansas’ Anthony Black has a chance to become the school’s first top-10 pick since Joe Johnson in 2001 (No. 10).
• Central Florida’s Taylor Hendricks has a chance to become the first player in school history to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.
• Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis has a chance to become the school’s third first-round pick, joining Doug Christie (1992) and Brandon Armstrong (2001).
• Santa Clara’s Brandin Podziemski has a chance to become the school’s third draft pick since 1986, joining two-time Kia NBA MVP Steve Nash (1996) and 2022-23 Kia NBA All-Rookie First Team selection Jalen Williams (2022).
• Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino and Duke’s Dariq Whitehead were high school teammates at Montverde (Fla.) Academy.
• Baylor’s Keyonte Goerge, Michigan’s Jett Howard and Houston’s Jarace Walker were high school teammates at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
• Since a two-round NBA Draft was adopted in 1989, Kentucky has had the most first-round selections with 45. Duke is next with 44 first-round picks.
• Since 1989, Kentucky holds the record for the most picks in an NBA Draft from one school – six each in 2012 and 2015.
NBA G LEAGUE IGNITE
• Five players from NBA G League Ignite are among the prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft: Efe Abogidi, Sidy Cissoko, Scoot Henderson, Mojave King and Leonard Miller.
• Henderson was the first player to sign with Ignite for two seasons.
• Miller, who is from Canada, was the youngest participant in the NBA’s pre-draft process last spring, including the NBA Draft Combine in May. Now 19, he elected not to enter the 2022 NBA Draft.
• Cissoko, a French native, was the first European-born prospect to play for Ignite.
• King is a graduate of the NBA Global Academy in Australia. Born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, he played in the National Basketball League as part of the Next Stars program before joining Ignite.
• Abogidi was the first NBA Academy Africa alum to sign with Ignite. He also attended the NBA Global Academy in Australia and played two seasons at Washington State.
GLOBAL GAME • In the 2023 NBA Draft, the top international players who did not play for a U.S. college include Sidy Cissoko (France), Bilal Coulibaly (France), James Nnaji (Nigeria), Rayan Rupert (France), Tristan Vukčević (Serbia) and Victor Wembanyama (France).
• Coulibaly played with Wembanyama with Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 in LNB Pro A, splitting the 2022-23 season between the top pro league in France and its under-21 league.
• Nnaji, who started playing basketball in 2016 in his home country of Nigeria, has two seasons of experience playing for FC Barcelona in the ACB and EuroLeague. In 2018, Nnaji participated in the Giants of Africa camp, founded by Toronto Raptors Vice Chairman and President Masai Ujiri.
• Rupert played this past season for the New Zealand Breakers of the National Basketball League as part of the Next Stars Program, which has helped develop LaMelo Ball, Ousmane Dieng, Josh Giddey and R.J. Hampton into NBA players in recent years.
• Vukčević grew up competing for Olympiacos Piraeus youth teams in Greece, with his Serbian-born father playing professionally in Greece. The younger Vukčević joined Serbia’s Partizan Belgrade in January 2022 and has been playing there ever since.
• Wembanyama played the last three seasons in the highest level in French basketball. This past season, he led the league in scoring, rebounding and blocks while playing for Metropolitans 92.
• A record 27 international players were drafted in 2016, including a record 15 in the first round and a record-tying 12 in the second round.
• At least 10 international players have been selected in the NBA Draft every year since 2000.
• At least two international players have been selected in the top 10 of the NBA Draft in each of the last 10 years.
• Thirteen international players have been selected first overall in the NBA Draft, most recently Deandre Ayton (Bahamas) in 2018.
• The last international player who did not play basketball at a U.S. college to be selected first overall in the NBA Draft was Andrea Bargnani of Italy in 2006.
• NBA G League Ignite’s Scoot Henderson and his sister, Crystal Henderson, both had their jerseys retired by Kell High School in Marietta, Ga., on the same day earlier this year. Crystal is a top high school prospect in the Class of 2023.
• Overtime Elite’s Amen and Ausar Thompson are the younger brothers of Trey Thompson, who played collegiately at Prairie View A&M and was in training camp with the Stockton Kings of the NBA G League in 2019. Their uncle Mark Thompson was a 400-meter hurdler for Jamaica in the 1992 Summer Olympics.
• Alabama’s Anthony Black is the son of Terry Black, who is the Baylor Sports Hall of Fame as a standout basketball player. His mother, Jennifer Black, played soccer at Texas and Baylor.
• Kansas’ Gradey Dick is the son of Carmen Dick, who played basketball at Iowa State and professionally in Japan.
• Michigan’s Jett Howard is the son of Michigan head coach Juwan Howard, who was a member of the Wolverines’ famed “Fab Five” and a 19-year NBA veteran.
• Connecticut’s Jordan Hawkins and LSU women’s basketball standout Angel Reese are cousins. Both players helped lead their schools to national championships in the 2022-23 season.
• Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino is the nephew of Jake Schifino, who appeared in 14 games in the NFL as a wide receiver, and Drew Schifino, who played basketball at West Virginia and professionally overseas.
• Xavier’s Colby Jones is the brother of C.J. Jones, who plays professional basketball in Europe. Their father, Chad Jones, played basketball at UAB.
• Duke’s Derrick Lively II is the son of Kathy Drysdale, who played basketball at Penn State and now works there as Director of Marketing and Fan Experience.
• Iowa’s Kris Murray is the twin brother of Sacramento Kings forward and former Iowa teammate Keegan Murray, the fourth pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
• Duke’s Dariq Whitehead is the brother of Tahir Whitehead, who played 11 seasons in the NFL as a linebacker.
• Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis is the son of Dale Davis, who played 16 seasons in the NBA and was a one-time All-Star.
• Houston’s Marcus Sasser is the nephew of former NBA players Jeryl Sasser and Jason Sasser, who were college basketball standouts at SMU and Texas Tech, respectively.
COURTESY NBA COMMUNICATIONS