Grading top 5 NBA 2023 draft picks’ first preseason games

The NBA 2023 draft picks have built up some hype as they lead the charge of upcoming stars of the league. As the preseason started, all top five picks of this year’s draft played and showed signs of great promise. Here’s a look at how well the top five picks have played so far.

Victor Wembanyama, Brandon Miller, Scoot Henderson, Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson have all showcased their skills. All five are expected to turn things around for their teams, who are all trying to return to NBA significance in the next few years.

Which player outside of the top five of the NBA 2023 draft picks showed great potential?

In a draft, it’s expected that the top five players are usually the stars of their class. This year’s top five picks aren’t different, as the teams that selected them expect great things from them. However, outside of the top five, one player stood out among the rest and proved that great players are everywhere in each draft class.

The Miami Heat’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. was stellar in his first preseason game. The 22-year-old rookie out of UCLA had 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists coming off the bench. He surprised everyone with his footwork and court awareness against the Charlotte Hornets.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised the young player for his intelligence on the court.

“It’s unusual for a college player to have that kind of poise, footwork and fundamentals,” Spoelstra said.

With Jaquez’s talent, he could rise together with the top five NBA 2023 draft picks.

Also read: San Antonio Spurs NBA Draft Picks 2023: Full list of players drafted by the team

Also read: Cavs NBA draft picks 2023: When do Cleveland Cavaliers pick? Order and more explored

Victor Wembanyama

This year’s top pick didn’t disappoint as he went up against Chet Holmgren, who was the second pick of the 2022 draft. Victor Wembanyama put on a show in 19 minutes. He had 20 points, five rebounds, two steals and one block against the OKC Thunder.


Overall, it’s a good sign for the San Antonio Spurs, who are expecting great things from him.

Grade: A

Brandon Miller

The Charlotte Hornets took on the Miami Heat in their first preseason action, and it was entertaining. For the Hornets, the second pick, Brandon Miller, was the player who fans were looking forward to seeing.


Miller ended the game with eight points, three rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes. He also failed to make all of his four attempts from 3-point range.

Grade: B-

Scoot Henderson

Selected third in the 2023 NBA draft, Scoot Henderson announced his presence with the Portland Trail Blazers. Henderson only scored seven points in 19 minutes, but he was fairly efficient.

Fans are expecting much from the young guard after Damian Lillard was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks.


Grade: B+

Amen Thompson

The Houston Rockets have a bright young prospect in Amen Thompson, although he struggled in his first preseason game. Thompson played for 21 minutes, scoring seven points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out three assists.

Thompson only shot 1-for-9 but could bounce back in his next preseason bout.

Grade: B-

Ausar Thompson

The twin brother of Amen, Ausar Thompson, had a better outing than his brother. During the preseason game between the Detroit Pistons and the Phoenix Suns, Thompson had 12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.


He also shot 3-for-9 and was aggressive in drawing fouls, attempting eight shots from the charity stripe.

Grade: A-

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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