2023 NBA Mock Draft: Mavericks go defense, Pistons surprise at 5

2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama
2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama / Christian Liewig - Corbis/GettyImages
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13. Toronto Raptors grab Nick Smith Jr.

Smith Jr. was viewed by many as a top-five pick in this class coming out of high school, but an injury-riddled lone season at the University of Arkansas has created plenty of questions. There were struggles on the court too, including shooting just 37.6 percent from the field and producing only 1.7 assists per game.

The 19-year-old missed the start of the season before returning in late November for five games. Then, he suffered a second knee injury that kept him out for two months. Smith Jr. played just 17 contests last season, and the Razorbacks struggled to space the floor around him. It was not ideal, but teams will be looking at his larger body of work when considering his draft stock.

The 6’5 combo guard is known for getting buckets, but he must improve his strength, shot selection, and consistency. Smith Jr. does not need the ball in his hands to score, but the 19-year-old will need some time before he makes a massive impact in the NBA.

The Toronto Raptors have a bit of uncertainty in the backcourt as Fred VanVleet enters free agency, and they have a strong track record of getting the most out of their guards. Nick Smith Jr. is a high-upside pick that could turn into a home run in the late lottery.