2023 NBA Draft: Complete draft grades for all 58 picks

Victor Wembanyama NBA commissioner Adam Silver, via Getty Images)
Victor Wembanyama NBA commissioner Adam Silver, via Getty Images) /
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Nick Smith Jr., Charlotte Hornets
Nick Smith Jr., Charlotte Hornets Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

NBA Draft Picks 26-30

26. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): Ben Sheppard (SG, Belmont)

Growing up a point guard, Ben Sheppard has a leg up on other stationary shooters as he displays an increased feel for the game and a more developed ability to move the ball. Alongside Tyrese Haliburton, Sheppard reckons to be automatic from deep; however, there may not be any other areas of contribution for him. He has enough size to be a serviceable defender; however, he lacks the athleticism to give one confidence in his defensive ability. That lack of athleticism also hinders his surprisingly effective floater game.

Grade: B-

27. Charlotte Hornets (via Nuggets): Nick Smith Jr. (SG, Arkansas)

Once a potential top-10 pick, injuries and a lack of effective shooting led to Nick Smith tumbling down draft boards. Despite this, he still displays a boatload of potential, particularly as a potential high-end sixth-man combo guard. Was this the greatest need for Charlotte? No, but it’s great value, and for a team as devoid of talent as the Hornets, this was a strong move.

Grade: A-

28. Utah Jazz (via 76ers): Brice Sensabaugh (SG/SF, Ohio State)

An injury to his knee lowered Brice Sensabaugh’s draft stick; however, in Utah, he found a home that offers plenty of opportunity. Where Sensabaugh thrives is as a ball-dominant scorer. He’s a strong iso player with the ability to thrive off the catch and shoot, so no matter the opportunity presented to him in Utah, he’s expected to score. It’s the other side of the game where the questions lie.

29. Denver Nuggets (via Celtics): Julian Strawther (SF, Gonzaga)

The Denver Nuggets worked their magic to get themselves back into the first round and select perhaps the top shooter remaining. As the champion Nuggets look to retool their roster around whatever of their core they can keep intact, adding a lights-out shooter like Julian Strawther will contribute to the continued cause of adding players Nikola Jokic can maximize.

Grade: B+

30. LA Clippers (via Bucks): Kobe Brown (SF, Missouri)

The Los Angeles Clippers are teetering back and forth between continuing to push toward contention and blowing things up. After opting against dealing star Paul George, for now, the Clippers select potentially one of the most ready-to-contribute players in the draft.

Brown improved dramatically as a shooter last season, averaging 45.5% from deep on 3.3 attempts per game. He will have to continue that development and increase his attempts if he’s to carve out a consistent role for himself in the league, but even without the shot, Kobe Brown offers a switchable ability as a defender while being able to bully his opponents offensively.

Grade: B-