2023 NBA Draft prospects: top returning guards
We've finally made it to what is undoubtedly my favorite group of players here: the returning guards. While the Spurs managed to pick up two talented young guards in the 2022 NBA Draft in Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley, neither quite profile to me like a lead guard, or at least a lead guard that's ready to take on significant scoring and/or playmaking responsibility.
The 2023 NBA Draft is going to be stacked with several talented freshman-aged guards toward the top of the board, with some of the most obvious names being Scoot Henderson, Nick Smith Jr., and Keyonte George. But this year's class of college returners is also quite interesting if the Spurs want to make a non-guard selection in the lottery. For these players, I looked for an interesting combination of size, three-level scoring upside, playmaking ability, and off-ball effectiveness.
Honorable mention: Jalen Warley - Florida State
Jalen Warley is yet another player I've had on my radar since well before last year's college basketball season, but his production in his freshman season just wasn't where it needed to be. Warley stands at 6'6", plays with good pace, recorded a 3.6 STL% last season, and was advertised as having significant shooting upside coming out of high school.
Despite playing limited minutes last season, Warley proved himself to be a good playmaker, but he'll need to unlock his scoring arsenal a bit more to realize his potential as a lead guard. He ended his freshman season with 34/30/68 shooting splits, which won't come close to cutting it at the next level. In an increased role at Florida State, however, particularly while Baba Miller is sidelined, if he's able to score more consistently, he'll quickly start to draw more attention.
Other guards we'll be monitoring:
Colby Jones - Xavier
Andre Jackson - UConn
Chucky Hepburn - Wisconsin
Hunter Sallis - Gonzaga