Ranking the 5 best point guards in the 2023 NBA Draft

Scoot Henderson NBA Draft (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Scoot Henderson NBA Draft (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Nick Smith Jr. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Nick Smith Jr. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

NBA Draft Point Guard #3: Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas

Nick Smith Jr. is one of the more polarizing prospects in this year’s draft. Once viewed as a surefire lottery pick, injuries, and inconsistent play have made his stock more uncertain.

Smith was part of a highly-prized recruiting class for the Arkansas Razorbacks this season. A knee injury kept cropping up, however, limiting play for about half the season. He averaged 12.5 points per game and put up pedestrian assist numbers.

Teams are going to have to evaluate Smith knowing that the knee injury was a factor. He was able to play during the latter part of the season, but he didn’t look as shifty as he did at the high school level. One has to hope he’ll regain some of that ability over time.

Defense was also a bugaboo for the Razorbacks this season. Again, injury or something else? These are the questions Smith is trying to answer during the pre-draft process.

It would be a shame if Smith fell in the draft because of an injury-marred season. It can’t be discounted, but this is still a player who was an offensive disruptor during his younger playing days. He’s not that far removed from that.

Smith might be better suited as a combo guard or shooting guard, and he’s tall enough to fill that spot at 6-foot-5. But with some refined passing, his ability to score from all three levels could make him an interesting play at the point.

The projections for Smith are all over the place in terms of mock drafts, but it serves him well that he’ll be a relatively fresh 19-year-old come draft night. He could go anywhere from the late lottery to the late first round, and there’s at least a chance he’ll go after Hood-Schifino.