Taylor Hendricks is a huge two-way sleeper in the 2023 NBA Draft

NBA Draft prospect Taylor Hendricks (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Draft prospect Taylor Hendricks (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /

Taylor Hendricks may be the second-best big in the 2023 NBA Draft. 

Victor Wembanyama is clearly the best big man and prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft. But who the next best big is might be up for some debate. Taylor Hendricks is someone who can lay claim to that title, and he could be a sleeper 2-way star in this draft.

Hendricks is a 6-foot-9 power forward who played one year at UCF before entering the 2023 NBA Draft. This season he averaged 15 points, seven rebounds, and nearly 2 blocks per game. He’s a force on both sides of the ball.

What makes Taylor Hendricks so great

Hendricks is someone who has the potential to be a major offensive option on an NBA team. Taylor will immediately provide immense value in the NBA with his 3-point shooting. He shot a red-hot 39% from 3 on five attempts this year. His jumper is super smooth, and at his height, it’s hard to block. Hendricks is also very athletic and can finish above the rim with relative ease.

At UCF, he showed some ability to handle the ball and create his own shot. He’s someone who can certainly finish plays, but also someone who can start them. Offensively, he’s versatile and can fit multiple schemes ran by NBA teams.

Defensively, more of the same versatility catches your eye. I mentioned Taylor’s athleticism before offensively, and that is demonstrated once again on the defensive side of the ball. Hendricks can switch comfortably 3-5, but may at some stage be able to guard all the way down the lineup.

He’s a supreme help-side defender and rim protector, averaging 1.7 blocks per game this year. He could stand to become a little stronger but that will come with time. Really, Hendricks has no holes in his game. He reminds me a lot of Jaren Jackson Jr. JJJ was better defensively coming into the NBA, but Hendricks looks to have more offensive polish.

Hendricks’ combination of offensive and defensive versatility makes him someone who can be a real two-way star at the next level.

Who should look to pick up Taylor Hendricks?

Taylor Hendricks is really a player that should have no problem fitting any NBA team and he’ll be someone a lot of franchises could look to acquire. I look at three teams that will be primary candidates for Hendricks.

Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are coming off a season that surprised many with how competitive they were. With All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton in the backcourt, and All-Rookie First Team Bennedict Mathurin on the wing, it seems the Pacers will opt for some more help in the frontcourt. Hendricks can play the 3 or 4, two positions the Pacers are lacking supreme young talent.

Next to Myles Turner in the frontcourt, Hendricks could help create a frightening defensive tandem.

The Pacers hold the 7th pick in the draft, which should be early enough to snag Hendricks.

Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic are pretty loaded with young talent. But one thing they need to add to their roster is floor spacing. Although Paolo Banchero is a traditional power forward, he has played the 3 this year and could slide down to accommodate Hendricks, or vice versa. The Magic is already a long, athletic, switchable defensive team. Adding Taylor will only push this identity further.

The Magic possess the 6th overall pick where Hendricks will be available. But it’s undetermined what direction Orlando will go with this pick.

Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks are a team to watch come draft night and during the offseason. The Mavs were extremely disappointing after missing the playoffs this year, even after trading for Kyrie Irving. And a huge reason for their subpar play was their lack of quality bigs.

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Hendricks is someone who would add much-needed defense to Dallas and could be a reliable two-man partner with Luka Doncic. Dallas has the 10th overall pick, and Hendricks could be off the board, so if really want him, they might need to move up a few spots.