Why the 2023 NBA Draft could see a flurry of trades with declining talent in the 2024 and 2025 classes

The latest NBA Drafts have pretty much gone by the book. There have been no monster trades, the Oklahoma City Thunder have used some of their 37 picks, but have yet to strategically pack any of their first-round picks to move to a particular prospect. Draft picks have been collected for this year, anticipating that this class will be full of young talent.

In the June 22 draft, there are seven teams with multiple first-round picks: Charlotte Hornets (No. 2 and No. 27), Portland Trail Blazers (No. 3 and No. 23), Houston Rockets (No. 4 and No. 27). No. 20), Orlando Magic (No. 6 and No. 11), Utah Jazz (No. 9, No. 16 and No. 28), Brooklyn Nets (No. 21 and No. 22) and Indiana Pacers (No. 7, no. 26 and no. 29). In a busy draft class, this gives those teams some flexibility to move up or down for certain players or bundle their picks into a trade. It also opens up the conversation for other teams outside of the first round who might want to progress.

Victor Wembanyama is the presumptive No. 1 pick for the San Antonio Spurs. The Hornets appear to be keeping their pick at No. 2, but things could get interesting at No. 3 with Portland. There are rumors of a trade to the New Orleans Pelicans (crossing over to No. 14 and packing a few players for Scoot Henderson) and with all the guard options thrown at the top, Houston could be entertaining trade negotiations at the No. 4. A possible trade with Zion Williamson and the 14th pick could be on the table at No. 4 for Houston.

“I think this is the year we’ll see a lot of teams trying to make plays for trades and the players they want, whether it’s top of the draft or teams are trading,” said a NBA scout at Yahoo Sports.

The draft classes in 2024 and 2025 are widely seen as weaker with unique talent and potential star prospects. There’s a reason so many teams have put together multiple draft picks for this year, especially the rebuilding teams. There is no clear No. 1 (or even No. 2) prospect in the 2024 NBA Draft. There were 152 players who withdrew their names from the upcoming draft, with many anticipating a decline over the two upcoming draft rounds.

Scoot Henderson during the Rising Stars Game as part of the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City.  (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Scoot Henderson during the Rising Stars Game as part of the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

NBA staff have been able to go scout more and more high school events, getting early insight into these young draft prospects. Even before the draft, NBA scouts were present at Pangos All-American Camp, U16 USA Basketball Trials and U19 USA Basketball Trials for the past three weeks.

“It was important for us to have an eye on these players early on and follow their development,” said another NBA scout. “It’s a good benchmark for us; there’s a reason many teams have been targeting this class over the next two upcoming draft classes.

There will be virtually no tanking next season, drastically different from what we’ve seen this season with several teams making favorable moves to position themselves in a good spot to land a top draft pick this year.

After Wembanyama hears his name called first, it will most likely be Brandon Miller to the Hornets at No. 2 and after that several trades are expected as different teams try to maximize their resources in this stacked draft class.

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