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

Brandon Miller - San Diego State v Alabama
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. . Nick Smith Jr.. 28. 118. Arkansas. . player

The Utah Jazz are back up for the 28th overall pick after selecting Taylor Hendricks and GG Jackson earlier in the 1st round, and I’m still taking the upside-swinging approach if I’m the Jazz. Thankfully, in this mock draft, the Jazz practically had Arkansas freshman Nick Smith Jr. fall right into their lap, and I think they take that opportunity to select a potential successor to Jordan Clarkson.

Like Dariq Whitehead, Nick Smith Jr. was hampered by an injury for a good portion of the college basketball season and had some struggles as a result. He left a lot to be desired as a playmaker and overall decision-maker, and while he may have a bit more defensive upside than many give him credit for, his potential is largely theoretical at this point due to his small frame and subpar decision-making. 

Similar to GG Jackson, though, the Jazz can afford to be patient with Smith’s development at the moment. If he can slowly learn to read the floor better, with or without the ball and on both ends of the floor, he’ll be well on his way to looking closer to how he did in high school. If he can do that and build on his frame, there’s a chance he can re-kindle a lot of that top-ten-level excitement he had coming into the college basketball season.