The NBA Draft is an annual event where teams from the National Basketball Association (NBA) can select eligible players to join the league. This is typically one of the main ways that teams acquire young talent. Here’s a basic overview of how the process works:
Eligibility: Players must declare their eligibility for the draft. To be eligible, a player must be at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft and must be at least one year removed from the graduation of his high school class. There are further eligibility rules for international players and players from the G League (the NBA’s development league).
Lottery: The NBA Draft Lottery determines the order of selection for the teams in the first round of the NBA Draft. It’s a weighted lottery, so teams with worse records have a better chance of receiving a higher pick. However, only the top four spots are decided by the lottery, and the rest of the teams are arranged in reverse order of their win-loss record.
Selection: On the day of the draft, teams select in the order determined by the lottery and win-loss records. The first round has 30 picks, one for each team. The second round also has 30 picks. In total, 60 players are selected in the NBA Draft.
Rights: When a team drafts a player, they receive the exclusive rights to sign that player to an NBA contract. If a player decides not to sign with the team that drafted them, the team can hold onto their draft rights for a year, or trade these rights to another team.
Contracts: First-round draft picks are given guaranteed contracts for two years, with team options for the 3rd and 4th year. Second-round picks’ contracts are not guaranteed.
Top 10 Prospects of the NBA 2023 Draft
Victor Wembanyama: A once-in-a-generation prospect from France, Wembanyama is a 7’4″ center whose size, fluidity, and ability to create from scratch with the ball in his hands make him a potential future MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.
Scoot Henderson: An extremely complete guard from the G League Ignite, Henderson possesses quick-twitch athleticism, excellent court awareness, and the ability to score from anywhere on the court. He is expected to be a high pick in the draft, potentially even the second overall.
Amen Thompson: A highly athletic player with an innate feel for where all his teammates are on the floor, Thompson excels in creative passing and is also a tenacious, multi-position defender. He averaged 20.4 points and 5.6 assists per 40 minutes during Overtime Elite’s 2021-22 season despite not having a good 3-point shot.
Brandon Miller: Miller is a 2023 NBA prospect who, in his lone college season at Alabama, led the Crimson Tide to the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, averaged 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists per game, and was named SEC Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, SEC Tournament MVP, and a consensus All-American.
Cam Whitmore: A powerfully built small forward from Villanova, known for his imposing physicality and high-energy play.
Ausar Thompson: Amen’s twin brother Ausar shares many traits with his sibling, including his defensive intensity and playmaking abilities. He is slightly better at 3-point shooting and has shown more as a pull-up midrange shooter. His defense and versatility make him a likely high lottery pick.
Keyonte George: A freshman shooting guard from Baylor, known for his scoring ability and athleticism.
Jarace Walker: Walker is a 19-year-old, 6’8″, 240-pound forward with a 7’2″ wingspan, who had a standout freshman season at Houston, earning AAC Rookie of the Year and All-AAC Second Team honors with averages of 11.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game, demonstrating remarkable adaptability on both ends of the floor, his dominant interior presence and impressive defensive skills along with his ability to stretch the floor making him a potential top-five pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Anthony Black: A freshman point guard from Arkansas, he is recognized as a versatile guard with a good blend of scoring, facilitating, and rebounding skills.
Taylor Hendricks: He is a 6-foot-9 forward from UCF known for his rim protection and floor spacing, averaged 15.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game in his freshman year, showing potential to be a high-upside player in the NBA with comparisons to Jaren Jackson Jr., Onyeka Okongwu, and John Collins.