2023 NBA Mock Draft: Spurs land franchise PG, tanking pays off for Pistons

Dec 9, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; City Reapers guard Ausar Thompson (0) shown during the game against
Dec 9, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; City Reapers guard Ausar Thompson (0) shown during the game against / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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149. . . UConn. 11. . Jordan Hawkins. player

If Brandon Miller and Gradey Dick aren’t the draft’s best shooters, then I think the clear winner would have to be Jordan Hawkins, whose elite shooting led UConn to a national championship this college basketball season. The sophomore wing has impeccable shot mechanics, has a lightning-quick release even while on the move, and sank 49% of his spot-up three-point shots on the season—an absurd number. 

Many wing prospects get lumped into the ‘3-and-D’ archetype even if one or the other is lacking, but I’d say that classification is very appropriate for Hawkins and that he may even be the best 3-and-D wing prospect in his class. While he mostly serves as a distance shooter on offense, he allows his plus athleticism to shine on defense, where he collected an impressive number of blocks and moved well enough on the perimeter to force ball handlers away from their spots.

When it comes to his athleticism, though, even more than his lateral quickness or vertical leaping ability, Hawkins’ motor and stamina are what stand out. Not to say that he’s on the same level as a shooter coming into the league, but Hawkins very clearly takes a page out of Stephen Curry’s playbook by simply outrunning opponents on offense until they’re too tired to keep up with him on the perimeter. 

Hawkins likely won’t be asked to do much off the dribble as he has some similar limitations in that regard to Gradey Dick, but he’s already so good at what he does that it may not even matter. Hawkins’ three-point shooting on its own could dramatically help a team that’s in need of more floor spacing.