● By Gary Parrish
There was a legitimate and reasonable debate up until the start of the 2022 NBA Draft about which player — Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith— would come off the board first. Next year, there should be no such debate. The No. 1 pick will be Victor Wembanyama. He's a 7-foot-3 18-year-old from France with a 7-9 wingspan who rim-protects at an elite level, has shown the ability to switch and guard smaller players in space and can play-make and shot-create on offense inside or outside of the arc. He's been described by some as one of the best NBA prospects ever, which is quite a statement but not hyperbole. On defense, Wembanyama is sometimes compared to three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. On offense, there are moments when he looks like a taller Kevin Durant coming off of screens and knocking down shots from all over the court.

Top Players Not Included

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, but do not show up in this mock.