2023 Mock Draft 2.0: Spurs roll the dice, Hornets win Wembanyama sweepstakes

Brandon Miller - San Diego State v Alabama
Brandon Miller - San Diego State v Alabama / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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South Carolina. GG Jackson. 16. player. . . . 118

For the record, despite many mock drafts having GG Jackson being selected as late as the 20s, I think 16th overall to the Utah Jazz is Jackson’s absolute floor and that he stands a good chance of being selected far earlier than this. And in fact, I think Jackson will be in play as early as the Jazz’s 9th overall pick, if not a spot or two earlier. Jackson’s stats and some reported questions surrounding his character will likely have many convinced that he’s too risky to be a lottery pick, but I have a hard time believing there won’t be at least one team willing to gamble on his tools.

Team and timeline fit will both be very important for Jackson’s development, which is why he falls all the way past the lottery in this mock draft. Teams like the Mavericks, Pelicans, and Hawks all strike me as teams that would be bad fits for Jackson in terms of their respective timelines, being that all of those teams are looking to compete sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, teams like the Magic and Thunder are already heavily invested in their recent picks and may not want to take on another long-term project like Jackson.

The Jazz are a team that can afford not only to take some swings but also to be patient in their players’ development. Will Hardy and company will undoubtedly help Jackson become a more disciplined and fundamentally sound defender while also allowing him meaningful playing time and offensive reps. If Jackson’s development goes according to plan, 16th overall will look far, far too low in retrospect.