NBA Draft 2023: Takaways from top prospects from Champions Classic games

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NBA Draft Duke Blue Devils center Kyle Filipowski Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Duke

Tyrese Proctor – Duke – Combo Guard – 6’5, 175 lbs – April 2004

Buzz has been growing this offseason with Proctor as scouts had come away impressed after attending Duke practices. I thought he was excellent in the Asia Cup U20 tournament this summer and gave him a lottery grade entering the season. His hair makes it hard for me to tell if he’s truly 6’5, but there is good size there for a lead guard with a frame that can definitely add more weight.

After a disastrous shooting start to the season, I was generally impressed with his stroke in warm-ups. He needs to hop into his pull-up from three and the release could be a smidge higher.

It was a rough first half for Proctor, picking up two fouls early. But he started the second half looking more so like the player I believe in. He hit a pair of midrange jumpers and a stepback three, all coming off pick-and-roll actions. Spread pick-and-roll is where Proctor will be at his best. He lacks a creative handle and burst at this stage to beat defenders off the bounce, but has some real craftiness in the PnR. Even if it doesn’t result in him scoring, he’s terrific at skip passes that shift the defense, either leading to an open shot, or the pass that leads to a shot. Finally getting into a rhythm, it was clear how important he is to this Duke team. They barely sat him in the second half and when they did, Jon Scheyer was essentially like “be ready to come back in”.

Proctor can’t continue to not hit shots throughout the season, but I fully buy his shooting. He’s a cerebral player who can play on or off the ball. He’s got room for growth in a ton of areas, including his body, and will play the entire college season at 18 years old. The handle has to get better, especially in tight spaces, for Proctor to hit his peak outcome, but he just does enough things well on both ends to be a good player. It helps that players from the Australian pipeline the last few years have turned out to be pretty good. Despite the slow start, the second half showed me enough to continue my belief in Proctor long-term.

Kyle Filipowski – Duke – Forward/Center – 7’0, 230 lbs – November 2003

Despite being No. 4 in the 2022 RSCI rankings, Filipowski hadn’t been receiving as much draft buzz as some of his teammates. I didn’t have a ton of priors to Tuesday night, so it was an insightful first watch.

Filipowski definitely had the best raw box score numbers of any Blue Devil, going for 17 points and 14 rebounds. His height was too overwhelming for the Jayhawks as he thrived inside. The sell with Filipkowski is supposed to be a center with ball skills, and while he had some grab-and-go’s, it seemed more theoretical at this stage. Filipkowski sees the floor decently well, but isn’t the fastest processor. The shooting will be huge swing skill. He did hit a three off standstill but had some bad misses. I don’t love the mechanics but they are workable.

I thought he battled through a tough whistle (he was showing visible frustration at some calls but didn’t necessarily let it affect his play).

I just don’t know exactly what you do with him on defense. The Kansas guards carved him and Derek Lively in five-out actions and pick-and-roll. His lateral movement is not good right now and he lacks hip mobility.

Big men with ball-skills are always interesting, but Filipowski needs them to be really good to make up for the defense. He’s definitely worth monitoring, but I still believe he’d be best suited as a multi-year college player. He could be an All-American next season while patching up some of the holes in his game.

Mark Mitchell – Duke – Big Wing/Forward – 6’8, 220 lbs – September 2003 

Mitchell was a tad lower RSCI wise than his teammates but has had a strong start to the season, earning a starting spot. I saw him live in January and liked his aggressiveness and slashing, but wasn’t sure it necessarily translated to the NBA right away.

After seeing him at the next level, I still hold that true. He is big and strong for a wing, and I thought he played hard for the most part. The jumper has a ways to go, and he lost his handle a few times when pressured. His slashing and body control at the rim is his best offensive trait right now, and there are definitely some ways to scheme to those strengths. Mitchell also had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio on Tuesday, although Duke as a whole has some ball-movement issues.

I’m most intrigued by Mitchell on the defensive end. He looks to have a plus wingspan, with a good frame and motor. He can be a multi-positional defender, potentially sliding to the five if teams play small. The stock numbers aren’t great (albeit a small sample size) but you can scheme him in some different ways on that end.

I still view Mitchell as more of a long-term project and he may not be entirely ready for this draft. But a year of G-League seasoning could also really help him. I’m excited to get a closer look at him in Portland for PK80 because I am not ready to call him a first-round pick yet.

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