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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28. Utah Jazz (via 76ers) select Bilal Coulibaly

Coulibaly was teammates with soon-to-be number one overall pick Victor Wembanyama in France this season, and it helped the 18-year-old get on the draft radar. Nobody viewed him as a prospect at the start of 2022, but the 6’7 wing with a reported 7’3 wingspan has opened plenty of eyes as scouts have flocked to see the most-hyped prospect since LeBron James.

Coulibaly’s defense gets teams interested. His size and length are what every team is searching for on the wing, and he competes hard. Coulibaly could blossom into a switchable defender that can take on anyone and wreak havoc with his ability to create turnovers.

His offensive game is a work in progress. He shot 36.0 percent from 3-point range on 100 attempts, but there are questions about his consistency. Coulibaly is an explosive athlete, but his ball-handling and playmaking need to improve for the 18-year-old to reach his ceiling.

The Utah Jazz are just starting a rebuild, and they have three first-round picks in 2023. Danny Ainge can afford to draft a young prospect with immense potential and wait for him to develop. Bilal Coulibaly could be the steal of this draft if he reaches his ceiling, and his strong defense gives him a safe floor as a rotation player for the next 15 years.