On CBS, National College Basketball pundit Matt Norlander took a stab at a 2023 NBA Mock Draft just before Draft Day. Norlander, one of the best at breaking down the college game, had one of the most surprising mocks of this draft cycle.
Surprises always happen; if the mock drafts were always correct, there would be no point in watching the Draft that ESPN pays a lot of money to televise each year. Someone is going to rise and fall tomorrow that we do not expect.
At pick 12, Norlander has Dariq Whitehead going to the OKC Thunder, with Jarace Walker, Taylor Hendricks, Cam Whitmore, Bilal Coulibaly, Gradey Dick, Kobe Bufkin, and Leonard Miller going after Whitehead.
That string of events would be stunning, to say the least. If this happens tomorrow night, you might see me being carted out of Thunder ION and needing medical attention.
Though, let’s discuss the Duke product. Despite the rest of the CBS Mock Draft, if things go status quo on Thursday, Whitehead would be just outside the box enough to make sense for the OKC Thunder.
The glaring issue with Whitehead is the foot fracture he suffered back in August, which gave his college career a rocky start. During this pre-draft process, the Duke product had to undergo another surgery which is why his range is lower than 12.
However, at his best, Dariq Whitehead is an excellent bucket-getting scorer, with connective playmaking, high-end off-ball defense, and a massive wingspan to give him the positional versatility OKC demands.
Shooting 45 percent from three is also a massive plus for the 18-year-old. Regardless of the other wacky outcomes in this Mock Draft, Whitehead at 12 can not be dismissed.