2023 NBA mock draft 3.0: The Utah Jazz select …

With the NBA draft finally taking place Thursday night, here’s a third and final prediction on how the 30 first-round picks will play out, including the Jazz’s three scheduled selections.

A mural of Victor Wembanyama, a 7-foot-3 French basketball star, painted by artist Nik Soupe is seen on a seafood restaurant in San Antonio, Thursday, June 15, 2023. The San Antonio Spurs are expected to make Wembanyama the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

It’s finally here.

After weeks of rumors and subterfuge and misdirection, the NBA draft takes place Thursday night at 6 p.m. MT, broadcast on ABC and ESPN. At long last, the suspense of which players go where — following the inevitable selection of French phenom Victor Wembanyama at No. 1 — will be revealed.

The Utah Jazz, presently set to pick at Nos. 9, 16, and 28, will take major steps in shaping their future. Will they trade up higher in the top 10? Perhaps package their two latter picks to get another lottery selection. They’ve got a ton of possibilities.

We’ve analyzed the prospects at the top, middle, and end of the first round. We’ve taken a couple stabs at predicting who they might take — the first one a month ago, the second two weeks ago.

Here’s one last shot at seeing how things might go.

1. San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama, Metropolitans 92 (France)

FILE - Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92's Victor Wembanyama plays against the NBA G League Ignite in an exhibition basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Henderson, Nev. Wembanyama is set to go No. 1 in the NBA draft to the San Antonio Spurs.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Look, Wemby is not a perfect prospect — his much-ballyhooed outside shooting is actually quite inefficient (27% during the French League season), and he had more turnovers than assists. Doesn’t matter — if there’s a guy with the potential to be Kevin Durant offense meets Rudy Gobert defense, you take him. Period.

2. Charlotte Hornets: Scoot Henderson, G League Ignite

FILE - NBA G League Ignite's Scoot Henderson dunks against the Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 during the first half of an exhibition basketball game Oct. 4, 2022, in Henderson, Nev. Henderson is among the top guards in the upcoming NBA draft. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

The star guard or the two-way wing? Henderson or Brandon Miller? There’s no consensus with this pick, though most people seem to favor the latter. I get it — these Hornets lack wings. I just feel that Henderson is definitively the second-best prospect in this draft, and can be a good complement to LaMelo Ball.

3. Portland Trail Blazers: Brandon Miller, Alabama

FILE - Alabama forward Brandon Miller brings the ball up during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Auburn on Feb. 11, 2023, in Auburn, Ala. At Alabama, one of the team's best players is connected to a killing for allegedly delivering a gun to a murder suspect. An Associated Press analysis of more than a dozen schools in the NCAA tournaments shows a wide range of policies that govern guns at those schools and uneven efforts to regulate them. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

The Blazers are reportedly trying to trade out of this spot to give Damian Lillard some vet help, but if they don’t Miller would be an excellent addition to their roster. He’s a multipositional defender, he’s an excellent playmaker — even if he’s not consistently making baskets, he will find ways to contribute.

4. Houston Rockets: Amen Thompson, City Reapers (Overtime Elite)

(Kyle Hess | Overtime Elite) Amen Thompson of the City Reapers dribbles during an Overtime Elite league game on Friday, January 13, 2023 at OTE Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thompson or Whitmore, Thompson or Whitmore. There’s so much alleged momentum for Whitmore to be the pick, and I get it. But if a James Harden reunion isn’t a sure thing, you need to find another way to upgrade from Kevin Porter Jr. as your lead ball-handler and play-maker. Thompson is unquestionably that.

5. Detroit Pistons: Cam Whitmore, Villanova

FILE - Villanova forward Cam Whitmore (22) looks to pass against Seton Hall during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Newark, N.J. Whitmore is among the top prospects in next month’s NBA draft. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)

There’s growing speculation that Detroit really likes Jarace Walker. There is a lot to like. But given that they already have and also like Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart, and also have James Wiseman and Marvin Bagley, it makes sense to me take Whitmore as a young, high-upside wing. If he can improve his playmaking …

6. Orlando Magic: Anthony Black, Arkansas

FILE - Arkansas guard Anthony Black runs a play against Kentucky during an NCAA college basketball game March 4, 2023, in Fayetteville, Ark. Black is among the top guards in the upcoming NBA draft.(AP Photo/Michael Woods)

The Magic also reportedly like Walker. And Ausar Thompson. And they really need 3-point shooting. From those perspectives, Black might not make much sense. But Orlando really loves tall, long-armed athletes, and Black would be a better PG than Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony, and would boost a terrible defense.

7. Indiana Pacers: Taylor Hendricks, Central Florida

(Phelan M. Ebenhack | The Associated Press) Central Florida forward Taylor Hendricks (25) walks up the court during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Houston, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Orlando, Fla.

Indy reportedly wants to deal this pick for a high-end wing. Failing that, they need some forwards on the roster. Walker, once again, is a popular pick. However, Hendricks just feels like he has more upside: four-position defensive versatility, 39% from 3. He just needs to get better at putting the ball on the floor.

8. Washington Wizards: Ausar Thompson, City Reapers (Overtime Elite)

(Adam Hagy | Overtime Elite) Ausar Thompson of the City Reapers dunks during an Overtime Elite League Finals game on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at OTE Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Wiz just kicked off their rebuild with the Bradley Beal trade, so they literally can go in any direction. The other Thompson twin probably has the most star potential of anyone remaining. He’s a better shooter and better defender than his brother, though the former still isn’t great right now.

9. Utah Jazz: Jarace Walker, Houston

FILE - Houston forward Jarace Walker (25) pushes the ball up the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Central Florida, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. Walker is among the top prospects in next month’s NBA draft.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Don’t be shocked if the Jazz move up a few spots to get their guy. But if the board falls this way, they will happily make Wallace part of their frontcourt of the future. He’s intelligent on both sides of the ball, a strong defender, an emerging shooter (albeit on low volume), and an excellent passer for a power forward.

10. Dallas Mavericks: Kobe Bufkin, Michigan

Michigan guard Kobe Bufkin (2) plays against Wisconsin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Mavs, like the Blazers, Pistons, Magic, and Pacers, reportedly have interest in trading their pick. Whether it’s Dallas or someone else picking here, the rapidly-rising Bufkin could make sense. His play-making, shooting, and scoring all got a boost late in the season, and he’s reportedly been killing it in workouts.

11. Orlando Magic: Dereck Lively II, Duke

Duke center Dereck Lively II dunks against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Thursday, March 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Everyone seems to have Gradey Dick going to Orlando, and as a shooting-deficient squad, it’d make sense. But Lively perhaps has a bit more overall upside, and as a 7-1, athletic, shot-blocker extraordinaire, he could — when paired with Black — also give the Magic something they desperately need: an upgraded defense.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Gradey Dick, Kansas

Kansas guard Gradey Dick (4) brings the ball up court against Texas forward Dillon Mitchell (23) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Austin, Texas, Saturday, March 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

While some have the Jayhawk sliding a bit, considering that he doesn’t offer a ton more than shooting, it’s hard to see OKC passing on him if he’s available. Like the Magic, they’re also pretty outside shooting-deficient, and the freshman wing is unquestionably the best shooter in this draft class.

13. Toronto Raptors: Cason Wallace, Kentucky

FILE - Kentucky guard Cason Wallace passes the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. Wallace is among the top prospects in next month’s NBA draft. (AP Photo/Young Kwak, File)

Many have Toronto going for a taller backcourt pick, given the franchise’s recent obsession with long-armed, oversized athletes. But if they’re worried about losing Fred VanVleet, Wallace has the most playmaking skill of anyone left, and you don’t need to worry about him being 6-2, as he’s a perimeter defense ace.

14. New Orleans Pelicans: Bilal Coulibaly, Metropolitans 92 (France)

Boulogne-Levallois' Bilal Coulibaly looks to shoot in action during the playoffs of the Elite basketball match Boulogne-Levallois against Monaco at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Thursday, June 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Wemby’s teammate has a reported lottery promise (Could it be the Jazz? Danny Ainge went to see him play in Monaco.), and the Pels would make sense. They’ve got a ton of offense on their roster, but other than Herb Jones, not enough defenders. Coulibaly’s 7-3 wingspan can make him playable even as his shot progresses.

15. Atlanta Hawks: Jalen Hood-Schifino, Indiana

Indiana's Jalen Hood-Schifino (1) shoots over Miami's Isaiah Wong (2) in the first half of a second-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Quin Snyder’s new team could go in so many directions here, as he shapes the roster more to his liking. Atlanta could use more backcourt depth. A combo guard most of the year, the 6-5 JHS showed point guard promise as the season went on. He’s a good defender, great midrange scorer, and getting better from 3.

16. Utah Jazz: Keyonte George, Baylor

Baylor guard Keyonte George (1) drives to the basket past Iowa State center Osun Osunniyi (21) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Waco, Texas. (Chris Jones/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)

There’s a ton of guard/wing depth in this range, so Utah could bolster its backcourt here. They’ve been tied to George for weeks. He’s been turnover-prone as a play-maker, and inefficient as a shooter. Most of the other guys they could go for here, though, don’t have his shot-making creativity and ball-in-hand juice.

17. Los Angeles Lakers: Jett Howard, Michigan

Michigan guard Jett Howard (13) shoots during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana, Sunday, March 5, 2023, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

During the Lakers’ surprising run to the Western Conference finals, their inconsistent beyond-the-arc shooting proved an impediment time and again. Actually, it’s been a weakness for several years. At his best, Howard is a high-IQ floor spacer with excellent size for a wing. Can he provide anything on the other end?

18. Miami Heat: Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas

Arkansas guard Nick Smith Jr. (3) shoots a technical foul against Kentucky during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

Many scouts believe you have to throw out the admittedly-bad tape from his one year with the Razorbacks, owing to a knee injury he perhaps came back too early from. If he can clean up his shot selection and get more efficient, he provides tantalizing upside as a unique shot-creator, which the Heat could use.

19. Golden State Warriors: Kris Murray, Iowa

Iowa forward Kris Murray (24) drives against Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (23) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball gameTuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

There’s a school of thought that, with GSW facing huge salary penalties under the new CBA, they’ll need young, cheap talent ready to contribute right away. Murray is that. He’s not quite the athlete twin brother Keegan is for the Kings, but he’s a smart combo forward who can knocks down 3s and compete defensively.

20. Houston Rockets: Jordan Hawkins, Connecticut

Connecticut guard Jordan Hawkins shoots over Miami guard Nijel Pack during the second half of a Final Four college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, April 1, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

I would love to give them someone who can provide some semblance of defensive acumen, but it appears that most of their focus right now is on diversifying the offense. They could definitely stand to hit more 3s. Hawkins might be the second-best outside shooter in this draft, a threat both spotting up and pulling up.

21. Brooklyn Nets: Leonard Miller, G League Ignite

Team Jason Terry's Leonard Miller, of G League Ignite, reacts after a shot during an NBA Rising Stars semifinal basketball game against Team Joakim Noah, Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Miller is a tantalizing prospect, in that he’s 6-10 with some legit guard skills, in the form of ball-handling and play-making. He’s idiosyncratic with his offensive movements, but he’s a great rebounder, and he’s excellent attacking the rim in transition. His shot mechanics, however, figure to be a multi-year work in progress.

22. Brooklyn Nets: Dariq Whitehead, Duke

Duke forward Dariq Whitehead (0) reacts after scoring a 3-point basket during the first half of a first-round college basketball game against the Oral Roberts in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 16, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

If Brooklyn can’t package its picks to move up, Whitehead would be another intriguing high-upside play. A fractured foot wrecked much of his freshman season, and a recent second surgery set him back again. But when he’s right physically, he’s a sniper offensively, with enough athleticism to be a switchable defender.

23. Portland Trail Blazers: Noah Clowney, Alabama

Alabama forward Noah Clowney (15) shoots a three point basket against Texas A&M during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 4, 2023, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

If the Blazers are, as rumored, trying to acquire high-level vets to give Dame one more title run in Portland, you’d figure they’d go for an experienced college vet. Except their recent draft history is very tilted toward young, upside guys. Clowney is 18 years old, with an impressive frame, and a defensive motor.

24. Sacramento Kings: Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Marquette

DePaul's Javan Johnson (1) shoots against Marquette's Olivier-Maxence Prosper during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

After their first playoff appearance in forever, the Kings came away realizing they could use some extra 3-and-D wings. O-Max has been lighting up the post-combine workout scene with his impressive athleticism and defensive doggedness. If he is consistent with the outside shooting, he’ll be a great addition.

25. Boston Celtics: Ben Sheppard, Belmont

Belmont guard Ben Sheppard (22) tries to drive past Murray State guard Tevin Brown, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Murray, Ky., Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Boston might be looking for an experienced, well-rounded guy, and Sheppard — another late riser — is that. He was an all-conference defender who fights over screens. Offensively, he’s been compared to Rip Hamilton for his near-constant movement. He also shot 3s really well — but only as a senior, which is concerning.

26. Indiana Pacers: G.G. Jackson, South Carolina

South Carolina forward Gregory Jackson II (23) is defended by Alabama guard Jahvon Quinerly (5) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. Alabama won 78-76 in overtime. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

With several late picks, Indy’s in a position to gamble on upside, and the youngest player in this draft class has that. He needs a ton of work in some areas — notably bad shot selection and too-frequent turnovers — but he was a good scorer with nice handles. And he can be good defensively when he feels like it.

27. Charlotte Hornets: Brandin Podziemski, Santa Clara

Santa Clara guard Brandin Podziemski controls the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Despite being an absolute zero defensively (if not an outright negative), Podziemski has perhaps been gaining traction as a first-round prospect thanks to his offensive skill set. He’s a knockdown shooter off the catch, a crafty scorer in the midrange, and a surprisingly good playmaker.

28. Utah Jazz: Brice Sensabaugh, Ohio State

Ohio State's Brice Sensabaugh, right, dunks the ball over Illinois' Matthew Mayer during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Danny Ainge said just after the season ended that the collegiate guys who have scoring talent definitely stand out. Sensabaugh absolutely stands out as a three-level scorer, thanks to his array of midrange moves, plus hitting at a 40.5% clip from deep. He’s a subpar athlete, a bad passer, and an indifferent defender.

29. Denver Nuggets: Rayan Rupert, New Zealand Breakers

FILE - Rayan Rupert talks to the media during the 2023 NBA basketball Draft Combine in Chicago, Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Rayan Rupert, who played for the New Zealand Breakers, is among the international prospects expecting to hear their names called at the NBA Draft on June 22. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

The Frenchman has been all over the place, draft stock-wise, on account of being an extremely streaky shooter. It’s hard to see him dropping out of Round 1, though, as he’s 6-6 with a 7-2 wingspan, and has the skills and motor to be a lockdown defender from Day 1. He can perhaps be some Bruce Brown insurance.

30. Los Angeles Clippers: Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA

UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) handles the ball while defended by Gonzaga's Anton Watson (22) in the second half of a Sweet 16 college basketball game in the West Regional of the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

If he were a little bit better of an athlete, and more consistent as a shooter, he’d go much higher, because he does pretty much everything else. He was a highly productive college vet as a four-year glue guy for the Bruins. He’s a defensive tone-setter and secondary playmaker. If the shooting comes around, he’s a steal.

New to mock draft 3.0: Ben Sheppard, Belmont.

Out from mock draft 2.0: Colby Jones, Xavier; Bobi Klintman, Wake Forest.

Back from mock draft 1.0: Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA.

Others who just missed: James Nnaji, Barcelona; Maxwell Lewis, Pepperdine; Andre Jackson Jr., Connecticut; Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana; Sidy Cissoko, G League Ignite.

Biggest risers from 2.0: Kobe Bufkin +9; Jett Howard +9; Cason Wallace +7.

Steepest declines from 2.0: Brandin Podziemski -5; Rayan Rupert -5; Olivier-Maxence Prosper -4.

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