How each team fared in the first round


June 23, 2023 | 01:05

The Post’s Zach Braziller rates the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft.

Houston Rockets — Grade: A+

No. 5: Amen Thompson, G, Overtime Elite

No. 20: Cam Whitmore, F, Villanova

The Rockets end up with two top-five talents without trading up from No. 20. They end up as one of the big winners of this draft, following up high-upside point guard Amen Thompson of Overtime Elite at No. 4 with Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, a projected top-five pick, at 20. A combo forward who can shoot it from deep, the 6-foot-7 Whitmore dropped due to a combination of poor workouts and concerns about his medical treatment. He is worth the risk.

San Antonio Spurs – Grade: A

No. 1: Victor Wembanyama, C, France

Victor Wembanyama is a Spur. Enough said.

Twenty-six years after having the good fortune of landing Tim Duncan, San Antonio won big again in the lottery, this time with the 7-foot-4 Frenchman, who some experts believe is the best prospect of all time.

Wembanyama had tears of joy in his eyes after the selection. Spurs fans should have had the same reaction.

Amen Thompson was selected No. 4 by the Houston Rockets.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Los Angeles Lakers – Grade: A

No. 17: Jalen Hood-Schifino, G, Indiana

Jalen Hood-Schifino’s accident is a blessing for Los Angeles.

They get one of the best guards in the draft at No. 17, a smart two-way player who can help them right away.

This late in the draft, Hood-Schifino is an incredible value, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, who is potent in the pick-and-roll and has high defensive upside with a 6-foot-10 wingspan.

Utah Jazz – Grade: A

No. 9: Taylor Hendricks, F, Central Florida, Freshman

No. 16: Keyonte George, G, Baylor, Freshman

No. 28: Brice Sensabaugh, G, Ohio State, Freshman

Danny Ainge and Co. was a big winner of the draft, landing three prospects who all have rotation potential right away.

Hendricks is one of the best two-way big men in the draft, a rim-protecting 3-point shooter. George is a skilled guard who was considered by many to be a lottery pick.

And Sensabaugh shot 48 percent in the Big Ten as a freshman, an impressive feat for any 19-year-old.

The Jazz added a lottery-level talent in Keyonte George.
Denver Post via Getty Images

Toronto Raptors – Grade: A-

No. 13: Gradey Dick, G, Kansas

One of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league lands arguably the draft’s best shooter.

Gradey Dick, the one-and-done shooter from Kansas, was taken 13th overall by the Raptors, a smart pick that teams ahead of Toronto will regret.

Dick can also do more than shoot, paving the way for the Raptors to move one of their wings, likely OG Anunoby, who only had one year left on his contract.

Brooklyn Nets — Grade: B+

No. 21: Noah Clowney, F, Alabama, Freshman

No. 22: Dariq Whitehead, G, Duke, Freshman

The Nets get needed size in the ultra-talented 6-foot-10 Clowney and take a big swing for the fences with Whitehead, who was once considered a potential top-five pick before an injury-plagued freshman season at Duke. Back to back smart picks by Sean Marks.

Noah Clowney brings much needed size to Brooklyn.
Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers — Grade: B+

No. 3: Scoot Henderson, G, G League Ignite

No. 23: Kris Murray, F, Iowa, Junior

Henderson would be number 1 in most years – he’s that talented. Scouts have drawn comparisons to Derrick Rose.

He either gets to learn from Damian Lillard or be the new face of the Trail Blazers, who also found a versatile forward who could stretch the floor in the 20s in Murray.

Washington Wizards — Grade: B+

No. 7: Bilal Coulibaly, F, France

It took a pair of 2,028 second-round picks to move up a spot, from eighth to seventh, but the rebuilding Wizards got the player they wanted in French wing Bilal Coulibaly.

A monster athlete with a 7-foot-3 wingspan who played alongside Victor Wembanyama this year, the 6-foot-7 Coulibaly needs time to develop his offensive game, and he’ll get that with Washington.

Bilal Coulibaly was taken No. 7 by the Washington Wizards.
AFP via Getty Images

Atlanta Hawks — Grade: B+

No. 15: Kobe Bufkin, G, Michigan

The Hawks backcourt was already strong, and now they add a third guard in Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin, a well-rounded combo guard with a 6-foot-5 wingspan who shoots the ball at a high level and has a knack for scoring against bigger defenders around the curve.

A smart pick on a player who took a big leap in his second year as a Wolverine.

Miami Heat — Grade: B+

No. 18: Jaime Jaquez Jr., F, UCLA

When you think of Heat Culture, you think of someone like Jaime Jaquez Jr., their pick Thursday night at No. 18.

Read the New York Post’s coverage of the 2023 NBA Draft:

The UCLA star wing is smart, tough, unselfish and used to playing winning basketball. He will fit in perfectly on South Beach.

Golden State Warriors – Grade: B

Yes. 19: Brandin Underworld, G, Santa Clara

Meet the newest splash brother: Brandin Podziemski, a 43.8 percent 3-point shooter on 5.8 attempts last season at Santa Clara.

At 6-foot-5, Podziemski has good size for a guard, is a strong rebounder for his position (8.8 rebounds last year) and could be an important part of the Warriors’ bench after the Jordan Poole trade.

Brandin Underground was drafted No. 19 by the Warriors.

Oklahoma City Thunder – Grade: B

No. 10: Cason Wallace, G, Kentucky

At No. 10, the Thunder get arguably the best perimeter defender in the draft in Kentucky’s Cason Wallace after moving up from No. 12.

There is untapped offensive potential with Wallace, who averaged 4.3 assists and shot 34.6 percent from long range on four attempts per game as a freshman, to match his defensive prowess.

Dallas Mavericks – Grade: B

No. 12: Derek Lively II, C, Duke

No. 24: Olivier-Maxence Prosper, F, Marquette

Dallas hustled, trading back from No. 10 for Lively and buying the Kings’ pick for Prosper.

In doing so, the Mavericks added two defense-first players to fill the void on that end of the floor, leading to a dismal close to an underwhelming season.

While Lively doesn’t feel like an immediate impact player — he was underwhelming for most of his first year at Duke — Prosper offers great value, being drafted as a physical defender who took a big leap on the offensive end this year.

Dereck Lively adds defense to a Dallas team that lacks it.
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Charlotte Hornets — Grade: B

No. 2: Brandon Miller, F, Alabama, Freshman

No. 27: Nick Smith Jr., G, Arkansas, Freshman

Charlotte passed on Scoot Henderson, with the better fit — LaMelo Ball’s presence was a factor here — rather than the player with the bigger upside.

The Hornets could regret that.

Near the end of the first round, they took Smith, who at one point was considered a potential top-five pick before an underwhelming and inconsistent season at Arkansas.

The two prospects grew up playing together, which made for a great story of familiarity.

Denver Nuggets – Grade: B

No. 29: Julian Strawther, G, Gonzaga, Junior

The reigning NBA champions found a rotational piece at No. 21 last year in Christian Braun, and they may have found one here is this 6-foot-7 wing who shot a shade under 41 percent from distance last season.

Indiana Pacers – Grade: B-

No. 8: Jarace Walker, F, Houston, Freshman

No. 26: Ben Sheppard, G, Belmont, Senior

The defensively woeful Pacers added toughness and physicality in the underrated Walker and took a capable shot maker with Sheppard late, two players who should be able to rebuild Indiana’s rotation from the jump.

Jarace Walker will inject some physicality to the Pacers roster.
Getty Images

The sharp-shooting Sheppard could be useful as Indiana looks to surround dynamic point guard Tyrese Haliburton with shooters capable of stretching the floor.

Los Angeles Clippers – Grade: B-

No. 30: Kobe Brown, G, Missouri, Senior

An experienced shooter with size, Brown is one of a select few players who broke the mold, seniors who heard their name called in the first round.

New Orleans Pelicans – Grade: B-

No. 14: Jordan Hawkins, G, Connecticut

The Pelicans took Jordan Hawkins at No. 14, drafting one of the best shooters in this draft.

This won’t be James Bouknight Part II, a fellow UConn star who was a bust after going No. 11 two years ago.

Jordan Hawkins was drafted No. 14 by the Pelicans.

Hawkins is deadly when his feet are set, moves extremely well without the ball and can shoot on the move, though there are questions about defensiveness and athleticism.

Detroit Pistons — Grade: C+

No. 5: Ausar Thompson, G, Overtime Elite

No. 25: Marcus Sasser, G, Houston

The Pistons, in need of shooting, moved on to the shooters at No. 5, drafting another slasher in Ausar Thomspon of Overtime Elite instead of Villanova’s Cam Whitmore or Kansas’ Gradey Dick.

Thompson is a great athlete and can shoot the ball better than twin brother Amen, but that jumper is still a major work in progress.

This feels like a reach and a questionable fit. Later, the Pistons traded the Celtics’ pick for Sasser, who can help them on the rim from a shooting perspective and has a reputation as a hard-working and tenacious defender.

Orlando Magic — Grade: D

No. 6: Anthony Black, G, Florida

No. 11: Jett Howard, G, Michigan

First, Orlando selected another guard who can’t shoot in Arkansas’ Anthony Black at No. 6, then they reached for Michigan’s Jett Howard at No. 11, who wasn’t expected to go until the mid-20s.

Howard, the son of former NBA player and Michigan coach Juwan Howard, shoots the ball at a high level — and Orlando had a big need there — and is hitting 36.8 percent on 7.3 attempts.

But he doesn’t affect the game in any other way. Curious decisions, to say the least.

The Knicks, Celtics, Kings, Timberwolves and Grizzlies did not have first-round picks.

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