NBA teams value potential, but that doesn’t mean a few seniors won’t be picked in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Senior leadership is one of basketball’s most important, yet often forgotten, virtues. With how much potential matters, it can’t hurt to draft a senior to help with the inexperience. This year’s draft features a few four-year stars who may hear their names called.
5. Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA
Jaquez lacks athleticism and will need to improve his three-point shot, but he makes up for it with strength around the rim and defense. The 6-foot-6 UCLA guard also pulled down 8.2 rebounds per game last season and could fit into a solid 8-10 minutes per game role player. He’s also a winner, which is never a bad trait to overlook.
4. Keyontae Johnson, Florida/Kansas State
Johnson is most well known for his incredible comeback to the court. After collapsing during a game on Dec. 12, 2020, Johnson was shortly after that placed in a medically induced coma. He recovered and did so at an awe-inspiring rate, returning to play for the Kansas State Wildcats and helping lead them to the Elite 8 last season.
At 6-foot-5, Johnson is an undersized forward who can hit shots behind the arc, scrap for rebounds, and prioritize ball movement. Regarded as a late second-round pick at best, Johnson is one of the hardest workers in the 2023 NBA Draft. He’s a player any coach would love to have.
3. Kobe Brown, Missouri
Also one of the best three-point shooters available in the 2023 NBA Draft, Brown is a late-bloomer. The four-year Missouri Tigers star has tremendous size to be an NBA forward and added a deadly three-point shot last season. Rarely do seniors carry as much potential as a player like Brown does, which makes him a very intriguing prospect. He still will likely only be a late second-round pick, but Brown has the tools to make an NBA roster.
2. Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
If Jackson-Davis could have added a three-point shot, he could be viewed as a late first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, he never even tried to, only attempting a trio of threes in his entire college career.
But Jackson-Davis does bring athleticism, scoring, and shot-blocking. He’s a bit undersized at 6-foot-9, but in today’s NBA, that’s not as much of an issue. TJD is also an above-average passer for his size. He’s a unique NBA prospect, but for someone as dominant as him in the college game, he should find a role in the NBA.
1. Marcus Sasser, Houston
The only thing against Sasser is his age and his height (6-foot-1). Otherwise, he’s a very reliable three-point shooter, a great defender, and a good passer. The Houston guard also has good dribbling skills and is crafty in getting into the lane. If an NBA team needs a backup point guard, Sasser is a very good option in this year’s draft.