2023 Mock Draft: Cavaliers trade in, Pelicans trade up in lottery

Victor Wembanyama, Metropolitans 92. Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images
Victor Wembanyama, Metropolitans 92. Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images /
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NBA Draft
Jarace Walker, Houston Cougars. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images /

NBA Mock Draft: Picks 8 and 9

142. . Guard. Washington Wizards. Anthony Black. 8. player

The Washington Wizards appear set to enter a rebuild, which could give them an entirely clean slate heading into next season. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma and Monte Morris all in new places next year. That means they can go in any direction here at No. 8.

We’ll tab Anthony Black as the pick, a 6’7″ point guard who offers that “big playmaker’ archetype that is taking over the league. He is an excellent passer, with great timing on his passes and his rim attacks. He is fearless in launching himself at the rim, both in transition and in the half-court. Defensively he was one of the best players in the country generating steals, and he may even provide weakside rim protection at some point. He can’t shoot, and that’s the biggest question mark for him moving forward, but the Wizards can afford to take their time bringing that along.

9. player. 118. . Big. Utah Jazz. Jarace Walker

The Utah Jazz have one of the best young defenders in the league in the shot-blocking center Walker Kessler, and they have one of the best shooting forwards in the league in Lauri Markkanen. What they could use as their third frontcourt player is someone who can defend in space, pass and shoot enough to keep defenses honest.

That makes Jarace Walker well worth the swing here for the Jazz. He is one of the best defenders in this class, with the size and strength to battle inside and the versatility to pick up opposing forwards and even wings on the perimeter. He is a good passer, especially out of the short-roll, and he has a decent jumpshot. His scoring upside is still a question, but the high floor and defense make him impossible to pass on at No. 9.