2023 NBA Redraft: Podziemski skies into the Top 10 as Warriors land forward

Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis, Golden State Warriors
Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis, Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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No. 7: Washington Wizards select Dereck Lively II, Duke

Recency bias is trying to seize the wheel and drive Dereck Lively II all the way to No. 2 in this draft, and it has a strong case to do so. Lively has been the third-best player on a team one win away from the NBA Finals, as a rookie, dominating the paint defensively and smashing down lob passes on offense. When you factor in his prodigious rebounding ability you get a two-way center who the Dallas Mavericks can build upon for years to come.

At the same time, Lively is also position-locked as a center, doesn't space the court (horizontally, at least) and, most importantly, doesn't create his own offense. That kind of player has capped upside, so while the floor for Lively is incredibly strong, the upside isn't there. He would be a reasonable choice as early as five or as late as 10.

The Washington Wizards take him here with the seventh pick and entrench their center of the future, giving them a defensive identity. They originally chose Bilal Coulibaly, who had a good rookie season and still boasts that high-end upside that led the Wizards to reach for him. Other players, Lively included, have simply shown more already.

Original Pick: Bilal Coulibaly, France

No. 8: Indiana Pacers select Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA

The Indiana Pacers just made a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals, helped in part by injuries to their opponents but also demonstrating an elite offensive attack and 2-point finishing. Jaime Jaquez Jr. would be an excellent fit playing above the rim and defending multiple positions, helping out a Pacers team with only one meaningful wing defender in Aaron Nesmith.

Jarace Walker out of Houston was a fine pick, and he could still become a difference-maker, but with Pascal Siakam now on the team it's a bit crowded at power forward, so adding a wing in Jaquez makes more sense. He needs to improve the consistency of his 3-pointer but otherwise was ready to continue from day one.

Original Pick: Jarace Walker, Houston