2023 NBA Mock Draft: Spurs land franchise PG, tanking pays off for Pistons
Just as some fail to consider the G-League’s level of competition when assessing the Ignite’s prospects, the same can often be said for prospects coming out of Australia’s NBL. Josh Giddey, who was seen as a bit of a surprise pick at 6th overall in the 2021 Draft, is likely the best example of this given how much he’s looked the part of a 6th overall pick with only two NBA seasons under his belt. But this also—and more recently—applies to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Ousmane Dieng, who was a notable riser through the final few months of the draft cycle.
In a similar vein, 18-year-old Rayan Rupert could just as easily become a late riser in the 2023 NBA Draft class. The young point wing stands at about 6’6” to 6’7” with a reported 7’3” wingspan, is a fluid ball-handler, and has the playmaking chops of a guard. But it’s Rupert’s lockdown defense that will be his calling card on day one of his NBA career. His long wingspan, fluid athleticism, and obvious feel for the game on that end of the floor make him one of this class’ most intriguing wing-stoppers and a near-constant “pick six” threat in transition.
His counting stats won’t wow you, as he only played just over 17 minutes per game, but again, selecting Rupert in the draft is more about buying into flashes of upside as opposed to buying into production. And with that in mind, the Atlanta Hawks, who could desperately use a tall wing stopper with shooting upside, strike me as one of the better fits for Rupert.