2023 NBA Mock Draft: Mavericks land difference-maker, Victor Wembanyama heads East

2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama
2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama / Aurelien Meunier/GettyImages
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21. Brooklyn Nets (via Suns) grab Kobe Bufkin

Bufkin barely played during his freshman season at Michigan before breaking out in year two. The 6’4 guard averaged 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists. 1.3 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 34.0 minutes per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field, 35.5 percent on his threes, and 84.9 percent from the free throw line.

Few expected Bufkin to be in consideration as a first-round pick entering this season, but the 19-year-old flashed both on and off the ball in Michigan’s pro-style offense. Shooting over 35 percent from 3-point range and his overall efficiency will have scouts interested. Bufkin competes hard on the defensive end, but he must add mass to avoid being heavily targeted in the NBA.

The Brooklyn Nets are facing a pivotal offseason. They went from having three stars to zero over the last 18 months, and the franchise is trying to figure out how to build their roster.

In the trades that sent Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden to new addresses, Brooklyn picked up a handful of impactful role players, and they do not control their own draft picks leaving zero reasons to tank. Cam Johnson is a restricted free agent this summer, and the Nets will likely match any offer and try to run things back next season in hopes that Mikal Bridges becomes a star. If he does, the Nets could be back in the playoffs.

Brooklyn has back-to-back picks here, and they select Kobe Bufkin with the hopes that the talented teenager continues to improve and can become a starter in the NBA for the next decade-plus.