With the NBA Draft Lottery said and done, we now know where each team is picking in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard, two of Michigan’s best players last season, are both projected to be picked in the first round. Both participated in the NBA Combine and will work out with various teams in the coming weeks.
Let’s recap where NBA writers and draft analysts project Howard and Bufkin to be drafted, along with the fit of the team they are picked to go to.
Jonathan Givony, ESPN+ ($)
Howard to Los Angeles Lakers at 17, Bufkin to Golden State Warriors at 19
You can never have too many 6-foot-8 players who can shoot threes. The Lakers were tied for sixth-worst in the league in three-point percentage this past season (34.6%), so that pick seems to make a bit of sense there.
Bufkin would provide the Warriors with excellent on-ball defense, and if they decide to move on from Jordan Poole in the offseason, Bufkin could see minutes at shooting guard off the bench.
Sam Vecenie, The Athletic ($)
Bufkin to New Orleans Pelicans at 14, Howard to Brooklyn Nets at 22
Bufkin’s incredible improvement from his freshman to sophomore season helped him grab the attention of NBA writers, with some now mocking him above Howard, something no one was doing throughout winter mocks.
Bufkin adds young back court depth to a New Orleans team in need of it, while Howard gives Brooklyn a scoring punch.
Gary Parrish, CBS Sports
Howard to Utah Jazz at 16, Bufkin to Rockets at 20
As we covered earlier this week, Utah would be a great fit for Howard, given its need for three-point shooting and player development track record.
Meanwhile, the Rockets have been one of the worst teams in the NBA recently. I’m not sure that destination is ideal for Bufkin’s development, but he’d get playing time nonetheless.
Ricky O’Donnell, SB Nation
Jett Howard to Atlanta Hawks at 15, Bufkin to Kings at 24
The Hawks, led by All Star point guard Trae Young, like to play fast and shoot a lot of threes, which is probably the ideal environment for Howard to produce as a rookie.
Bufkin would give depth and consistency on both ends to a solid group of guards in Sacramento.
Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report
Howard to New Orleans Pelicans at 14, Bufkin to Hawks at 15
The Pelicans have a really talented roster, but they struggle to stay healthy. If Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram miss extended time next season, perhaps Howard could get more minutes at the 3 or 4.
No guard besides Young is currently signed with the Hawks past the 2023-24 season, so adding Bufkin would make a lot of sense.
Tyler Byrum and Chase Hughes, NBC Sports
Bufkin to Pelicans at 14, Howard to Jazz at 16
We already covered the fit with both of these teams. Based on the current trajectory of both franchises, if Bufkin and Howard land in these respective spots, it’s not crazy to think they could play each other in a playoff series in a few seasons.
Fox Sports, John Fanta
Howard to Hawks at 15, Bufkin to Warriors at 19
We already covered these fits, but I just wanted to say I love this mock from Fanta. He’s one of the rising stars in college basketball media, and I thought he provided excellent insight on the guys coming from major colleges in this draft.
Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer
Bufkin to Toronto Raptors at 13, Howard to Portland Trail Blazers at 23
After Bufkin didn’t even appear on O’Connor’s 40-person big board, he now has him going 10 spots ahead of Howard.
The Raptors have gained a reputation for prioritizing great defenders in drafts, and Bufkin is certainly that. And Howard could grow as a scorer with the Trail Blazers, especially with some talented guards around him in Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe.
Krysten Peek, Yahoo Sports
Bufkin to Jazz at 16, Howard to Heat at 18
The Bufkin pick makes sense here because the Jazz could use another good guard, with Colin Sexton and Ochai Agbaji being the only guards signed on with the team through the 2023-24.
I’m sure Howard and his family would love him going to the Heat. Not only would he be drafted to a place known for exceptional player development, but he’d get to carry on his father’s legacy as a player and live in the area he grew up in.