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A Look At Duke And 2023 NBA Mock Drafts

Duke’s guys won't be elite, but Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively are both very likely first-round picks.

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NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Duke vs Pittsburgh
Mar 9, 2023; Greensboro, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils center Dereck Lively II (1) and forward Dariq Whitehead (0) react in the second half of the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament at Greensboro Coliseum.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NBA Draft is mostly about one player, and that’s Victor Wembanyana. The talented young Frenchman, now reportedly 7-5, has immense potential. But there should be a lot of talent in this draft.

Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson are both highly regarded, as are the Thompson twins, Amen and Ausar (one of the more intriguing subplots in this year’s draft is which brother will go first. They’re both seen as lottery picks).

Speaking of twins, Iowa’s Kris Murray will join brother Keegan in the league.

Gradey Dick is at times dazzling and could have a great future.

But Duke fans are most interested in Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively, who are both seen as first-round picks, although not lottery picks. has Lively going to Charlotte with the #27 pick, where he would probably be Mark Williams’ backup.

Whitehead goes two picks later to Indiana at #29. has Whitehead going to the LA Lakers with the #17 pick and Lively going one pick later at #18 to the Miami Heat.

USA Today has Whitehead going to the Jazz at #16 and Lively to the Houston Rockets with the #19 pick.

As always, where anyone goes in the draft depends on a million things, like player analysis, team needs and just hunches.

And the best part, to us, is the machinations that go into this. Dallas made the most blatant manipulation, tanking, apparently figuring that at $750,000 was a trifle compared to the benefits of possibly getting Wembanyana.

That could work for or against anyone, obviously including Whitehead and Lively. You could imagine, say, Miami trying to create doubts about Whitehead to increase their odds, should they truly target him.

Anyway, that’s where things stand at the moment. The NBA Lottery will be held on May 16th, a little less than a month from now. Once Wembanyana’s fate is sealed, the rest of the draft can take shape.