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NBA Draft 2023: Kobe Bufkin might be reach at ten but could be a valuable option if the Mavericks trade back

A high-IQ rookie who understands defense could be the perfect player for Jason Kidd.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Kobe Bufkin, a young, raw prospect out of Michigan, would be a stretch pick for the Dallas Mavericks at pick ten in the NBA draft. However, if the Mavericks were to move down in the draft and acquire additional assets, Bufkin might be an interesting gamble.

The Basics

The 6’4” sophomore shooting guard, named after NBA and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, improved from 10.6 minutes per game on average the previous season to 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 three-pointers in 33.9 minutes per game in 2022–23. Bufkin, who was selected for the third team of the All-Big Ten, assisted Michigan’s backcourt by providing some much-needed scoring.


Bufkin is excellent in several defensively-related aspects, but there is still plenty of room for growth. He is an intelligent defender who constantly poses a chance of stealing the ball due to his lightning-quick hands. Kobe led Michigan with 43 steals during his sophomore season.

According to Cerebro Sports, Bufkin is one of three high major Division I players with 30+ minutes per game, 30+ games played, and usage over 20% to score over 60 in each of their individual metrics.


At 195 pounds, Kobe Bufkin is not the ideal size to effectively guard wings at the next level. But since he’s just 19, Kobe has plenty of time to visit the gym and add the necessary weight, but without the extra bulk, Kobe will find it difficult to compete against bigger shooting guards in the NBA.

Fit with Mavericks

As we learned throughout the Jason Kidd coaching experience, he favors good fundamentals on the defensive end. Bufkin continues to put effort into defense; even if he loses, it won’t be for lack of trying. He knows how to contest shots without chasing blocks.

NBA Comparison

This was challenging because more intelligent draft nerds than I had Kobe’s comp from anyone to Willie Green to Immanuel Quickley. I finally settled on Gabe Vincent.

The worst case scenario, Bufkin might be a seventh or eighth man who comes off the bench to play defense and score a few baskets. If the Miami Heat have shown us anything during the NBA playoffs, it’s that sometimes you just need dudes who can go out there and play ball.