2023 NBA Mock Draft: Mavericks go defense, Pistons surprise at 5
By Tyler Watts
30. LA Clippers (via Bucks) draft James Nnaji
Nnaji has played professionally for three years already, but primarily as a third-string center. The 18-year-old averaged just 3.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks in 9.6 minutes per game playing for Barcelona. There are intriguing tools, but Nnaji needs time to develop.
The teenager's measurements are a bit all over the board, but he is rumored to be 6’11 with a 7’4 wingspan. Scouts are excited about his defensive potential because of his lateral quickness and leaping ability. Nnaji could blossom into an elite rim protector that eats up rebounds and can switch onto the perimeter. It is years away, but centers often take time to blossom.
His inconsistent role coupled with his need to develop will push him to the late first or early second round in this year’s draft, but some team could get a steal. James Nnaji has immense potential and going to the right situation will be key.
The LA Clippers plan to stay in contention next season, but who knows what will happen with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George long-term. Getting a developmental big man behind Ivica Zubac could prove valuable in 2026.
The 2023 NBA Draft is loaded with talent, and there are tons of question marks with one month to go before the picks are in. Stay tuned for all the latest.