In the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft, there’s Victor Wembanyama and then there’s everyone else. The Los Angeles Lakers are not in a position to snag even one of the best non-Wembanyama prospects, as they are sitting on the 17th spot of the first round and on the 47th slot overall. That doesn’t mean they can’t get lucky though. The Denver Nuggets got Nikola Jokic in the 2014 NBA Draft 41st overall. Speaking of the two-time league MVP, his success in the NBA has been a welcome development for former Gonzaga Bulldogs star Drew Timme, who is regarded as one of the best college basketball players not just in Spokane and in the WCC, but in NCAA history as well.

However, Timme is not viewed as a can’t-miss prospect. He’s so much further away in the talent and potential spectrum from the likes of Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, and Brandon Miller.  Nevertheless, the Lakers have given him a look, having hosted the big man in a workout this week. Whether the Lakers honestly loved what they saw of Timme or not, he’s glad that Jokic has helped open the eyes of many that unathletic, high-IQ bigs will always have a place in the big leagues.

“I owe him a lot,” Timme said about Jokic’s indirect positive effect on his NBA stock ahead of the draft, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I think he’s making me a little more appealing than I was probably perceived before.”

Without Timme, it’s doubtful that Mark Few would have had Gonzaga teams that constantly wreaked so much havoc on offense the last several seasons. In each of Timme’s four seasons with the Zags, the Bulldogs ranked inside the top five nationally in terms of adjusted offensive efficiency. Gonzaga plays in a weak WCC conference where they have made a habit of destroying the likes of the Portland Pilots, San Diego Toreros, and Pacific Tigers, but even in non-conference games against ranked programs, the Bulldogs feasted offensively in large part because Timme was such a juggernaut on that end of the floor. Timme posted an incredible 62.4 effective field goal percentage and 63.7 true shooting percentage. He was such a talented and cerebral table-setter too, as evidenced by the fact the led Gonzaga last season with a 19.3 percent assist rate. 

We’re not saying Timme is going to be the next Jokic. For every Jokic, there are probably 20 Luka Garzas. But fundamentally speaking, it’s easy to see the similarities between Timme and Jokic.