2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise


Follow the 2023 NBA Draft with Sky Sports, late overnight on Thursday June 22 where NBA teams will select from the best young prospects from American colleges and around the world

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

The NBA Draft is almost here and the Western Conference is set to land expected No 1 pick Victor Wembanyama, who is poised to be selected by the San Antonio Spurs.

Gregg Popovich’s team will welcome the once-in-a-generation star to their roster as the Spurs look to build themselves back into a perennial contender.

But they’re not the only team out west with big interest in this year’s draft, with the Portland Trail Blazers selecting third and likely to pick forward Brandon Miller or guard Scoot Henderson, depending on what the Charlotte Hornets do with the No 2 pick.

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Those are the top three on almost, if not, every draft board – and with Houston Rockets selecting fourth, they will have the pick of a wide pool of talent beneath that, with plenty of players available who could make an NBA impact.

Every pick is vital in the NBA Draft. Whether teams choose to go for the best player available on the board or one which satisfies the team’s most pressing need is a decision every front office has to evaluate.

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

Here, we look at what every team in the Western Conference needs…

Dallas Mavericks

Pick(s): 10

It’s still fairly staggering to contemplate that the Mavericks are a lottery team after pushing the button on the Kyrie Irving trade only for it to end disastrously. You would expect them to look for a mercurial talent with huge upside to pair with Luka Doncic, but when does Dallas ever do what we expect?

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

The Mavericks are in dire need of defense, any defense. Giving up Dorian Finney-Smith in the Irving deal affected Dallas massively and that’s the biggest hole to fill immediately.

But they’ll probably hope to swing for the fences and snare a star-of-the-future alongside Luka. That may be a better course of action given the dissatisfaction the Slovenian showed after last season’s meek collapse.

Denver Nuggets

Pick(s): 37 (from Wizards), 40 (from Mavericks)

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

The champions are fairly well set with only Bruce Brown likely to depart (it’s likely he’ll opt out then get a contract better than what Denver can pay) from their core which has just won the NBA title. If health holds up, with all key talent locked down, then the Nuggets are going to have a championship window that will last for the next three years at least.

They’ll look to replace Brown’s versatility and hustle on the defensive end and if they can select as well as they did picking Christian Braun last year, then they’ll have done just fine.

Golden State Warriors

Pick(s): 19

The Warriors are beginning to age badly and are reportedly entertaining offers for Jonathan Kuminga, meaning that both of their big recent swings in the draft – he and James Wiseman, who they already bailed on – have not gone well.

At 19, the chances of a franchise-altering star are slim, but the Warriors front office does magical things when you least expect it. It’s a bit of ‘je ne sais quoi’ that is needed. Maybe they can find that missing something to supplement the ageing star core.

Houston Rockets

Pick(s): 4, 20 (from Clippers)

The Houston Rockets have a fun, young roster but have been appalling for three years. Now though, they have renewed hope after landing a top NBA head coach in Ime Udoka to marshal their young trio of Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Jabari Smith Jr.

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

The Rockets have the first pick outside of the consensus top three, which makes them fascinating to watch as they could go in any direction. Upside is key for a team looking to rise from the bottom of the NBA and the team just needs anyone who can defend, and a playmaker to help service their talented triumvirate.

Amen Thompson, one of the two twins (Ausar being the other) projected as lottery selections, is an outstanding athlete with great playmaking potential – although he is not a pass-first guy and has been turnover-prone for Overtime Elite – and is projected to go at four on most boards.

Anthony Black is maybe the best passer in the class, but they’re likely to go with Thompson at four and should be able to find a good defender with the No 20 pick.

Los Angeles Clippers

Pick(s): 30 (from Bucks), 48

People forget how loaded the L.A. Clippers are. They have a loaded depth chart and are rightly targeting an NBA title, if they can stay healthy.

As Christian Braun proved with the Nuggets this year, having a keen-as-mustard rookie who will throw himself around with reckless abandon can be a really useful asset for a championship contender. Someone bouncy and brave could be gettable with their pick.

If they choose not to keep Russell Westbrook then the missing piece in the roster is a pass-first point guard who can help balance the team on the offensive end. They’re more likely to try and target a veteran for a starting role but a young guard who they could develop, to add depth, certainly wouldn’t turn to be a bad idea.

Los Angeles Lakers

Pick(s): 17, 47

It’s a very simple equation. Put shooters around LeBron James and you can win a championship.

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

Assuming he comes back – he will, but it’s at least worth qualifying after his statement following the LA Lakers’ playoff exit – and Anthony Davis remains fit, better spacing would help every aspect of the Lakers offense.

It would also give LeBron the snipers he needs for the Lakers to make a better run at a title next season.

Memphis Grizzlies

Pick(s): 25, 45 (from Timberwolves), 56

With Dillon Brooks heading elsewhere the Grizzlies have a hole to fill on the wing, especially when it comes to his defensive abilities.

The Ja Morant situation is obviously a big question mark, but if their superstar point guard can get on the straight and narrow then it feels like Memphis is not too far away.

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

In the last few years, they’ve been crafty drafters, so let’s see what Memphis does with its three picks. A two-way wing will no doubt be a priority though.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick(s): 53 (from Knicks)

Minnesota has a lot of needs positionally, but only one late second-rounder to address them.

Some floor spacing to help Anthony Edwards and the rest of the Minnesota Timberwolves team would be vital – especially after the Rudy Gobert trade emptied their cabinet of a horde of future picks (four first-round picks, one first-round swap), for a center who has never made a three in his NBA career.

New Orleans Pelicans

Pick(s): 14

The Pelicans have a really fun team, the addition of CJ McCollum to Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram means they are just looking for a strong shooter (not like we’ve heard that before ahead of this draft!) to help pull the puzzle together.

Someone who can shoot accurately, at volume, would be ideal to provide the balance their roster needs.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Pick(s): 12, 50 (from Heat)

OKC has an outstanding young core and a ridiculous amount of picks stashed away, but just one first-rounder and a late second-rounder in this year’s draft.

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

They’re likely to continue to build for the long term, and have a plenty of talent and length on their roster, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander an emerging superstar.

Chet Holmgren’s return could help them protect the paint better, but he’s coming off a serious injury and doesn’t have a great deal of muscle on his frame, so a rim protector would be ideal.

Phoenix Suns

Pick(s): 52

It’s all change in the desert.

With Chris Paul departing soon in the trade for Bradley Beal and Deandre Ayton’s future also uncertain, it’ll be interesting to see what the Phoenix Suns do next.

The loss of Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson hurt the Suns badly, so if they can find a sleeper deep in the draft who helps fill some of the void caused by their departure in the Kevin Durant trade, then that would be a fairly decent outcome with the 52nd pick.

Portland Trail Blazers

Pick(s): 3, 23 (from Knicks)

Is this the summer Portland finally moves on from Damian Lillard?

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

Regardless of whether Dame stays or goes though, the Portland Trail Blazers will get whoever is left on the board after the Charlotte Hornets pick between Alabama forward Brandon Miller or G League Ignite sensation Scoot Henderson.

Given that the Hornets already have LaMelo Ball, you’d expect that the Blazers will get Henderson who is the ideal player if they do choose to move on from Lillard.

With the 23rd pick, the Blazers should target a player with some defensive tenacity to provide depth on that end.

Sacramento Kings

Pick(s): 24, 38 (from Pacers), 54

Sacramento finally ended their long playoff drought and have three picks in the upcoming draft to continue adding to their ability to protect the paint, which is probably the main thing their roster is missing.

Four of their starters are set in stone and so is their sixth man, so they just need a starting center to complete the lineup – but even if they can’t get that, then some interesting options should be available. Duke’s Dereck Lively II would be an ideal athletic shot blocker if he was to fall for some reason, and Nigerian center James Nnaji could make an interesting project coming from Europe.

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

If they just want to add some shot blocking more generally then (last year’s No 4 pick and All-Rookie first team selection) Keegan Murray’s brother, Kris Murray, could be an interesting option – and multiple athletic defensive wings are available in this class, so they shouldn’t be short of options.

San Antonio Spurs

Pick(s): 1, 33, 44 (from Raptors)

They got Wemby. All Spurs fans should rejoice.

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

The team needs all sorts of components for this rebuild so with the other two picks they could find some complementary pieces alongside the Frenchman.

Utah Jazz

Pick(s): 9, 16 (from Timberwolves), 28 (from 76ers)

The Utah Jazz are another team rebuilding and looking to find another player with ridiculous upside with their three first-round picks.

2023 NBA Draft: Team needs for every Western Conference franchise

Another Donovan Mitchell-type would be ideal, he was taken with the No 13 pick in 2017 and fairly quickly turned into an outstanding offensive weapon and is now a four-time NBA All-Star. Another backcourt sensation of his ilk would be perfect for where Utah is at right now.


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