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
Dereck Lively II, Duke Blue Devils. Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images /

NBA Mock Draft: Picks 13 and 14

81. . Wing. Toronto Raptors. Brice Sensabaugh. 13. player

Brice Sensabaugh had the fourth-highest usage rate of any player in college basketball, behind three mid-major upperclassmen, and by far the highest of any freshman. The fact that he still shot 48 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from 3-point range with that load is remarkable, and it also explains some of his poor defensive effort. Put him in a smaller role with an NBA conditioning system and he could be passable on defense.

That matters a ton, as Sensabaugh can absolutely score the basketball. He can launch from deep and finish inside, but he also is an assassin in the midrange. The Toronto Raptors have been a team with too much overlap among its players, so getting a scoring threat and shooter on the wing is an excellent choice no matter what happens the rest of the offseason.

34. . Center. Portland Trail Blazers. Dereck Lively. 14. player

The Portland Trail Blazers are now on the clock after trading down from No. 3, and they get to take their center of the future in Duke’s Dereck Lively II. Long-term, therefore, they can deploy a lineup of Damian Lillard, Shaedon Sharpe, Jerami Grant, Zion Williamson and Lively, which could be a contending group if Sharpe and Lively come along while Lillard is still in his prime.

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Lively is massive, an incredible finisher at the rim (you can’t throw a lob he can’t get to) and after Wembanyama the best rim-protector in the draft, and by a large amount. He is mobile enough to defend in space, and his wingspan and athleticism help him cover ground instantly. On offense, he won’t ever be a hub, but he has the shooting upside to be something more than a rim-roller. Centers continue to be devalued in the league, but Lively is special enough to warrant the lottery selection, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go even higher on Thursday night.