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It’s time to set the stage for the 2022 NBA Draft as the season gets fully off the ground this month. International teams have started playing competitive games. College teams have started practicing. Pro days have occurred at Memphis, Nebraska and other universities.
The G League Ignite and Overtime Elite have set a portion of their schedules and started training. This thing is about to gear up in an enormous way.
In that vein, it’s worth noting that NBA teams are going to have to cast an extremely wide net this year to find talent. There is much more uncertainty regarding this draft class than any in recent memory, in large part because this is the class that will be most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of losing summer basketball developmental time as well as evaluation opportunities for scouts to discover exactly where their games are.
On top of that, the 2021 recruiting class is a bit weaker overall than many others that have come through in recent years. (That also stands to be true for the 2022 class for the most part, as we’re about to have back-to-back questionable classes of American prospects in the grand scheme.) Teams have real questions about how much depth there will be in this class. And on top of that, most of the elite prospects this class has to offer are bigs in an era where there are fewer places for bigs on NBA rosters than ever before.
This class is going to be a strange one. I can’t emphasize enough: This mock draft isn’t necessarily a total shot in the dark — it’s informed by more than 100 conversations with college coaches, NBA executives and scouts, agents and grassroots evaluators — but it’s definitely much more guesswork than I’ve had in the past.
The level of due diligence that had to be done here is real in order to figure out just where teams are heading into the season. And of course, for more in-depth thoughts on this and on the players listed below (and many more), I’ve done preseason deep dives into the bigs, wings, guards and forwards of this class with Matt Pennie on my podcast, which you can listen and subscribe to here.
The order of teams below is based on the market for win total over/unders as set by our sportsbook partners at BetMGM. The lowest win total numbers are higher in the draft order as a proxy of standings projection. This seems like the fairest way to go about ordering teams in the preseason. Therefore, if your team is lower in these rankings than you would like to see, I want to be clear that I do not hate your team. Rather, the betting market does.
Additionally, note that the 2022 NBA Draft features only 59 selections. The Milwaukee Bucks have forfeited their second-round pick due to sanctions from the league following the ill-fated Bogdan Bogdanović tampering kerfuffle.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
Paolo Banchero | 6-10 forward | 18 years old, freshman | Duke
I’ve adjusted my preseason No. 1 player yet again, back to Banchero, who was my initial choice in the way-too-early mock draft the Friday after the 2021 draft. Why the change? Simply put, I think he’s the well-rounded player who has the fewest holes in the class. The 6-foot-10 forward has morphed over the last year into a genuine shot creator as a four-man. He’s developed his game off the bounce to where he can get into a stepback series. He’s a mismatch nightmare offensively because of that fluidity and coordination as well as his overall strength level at somewhere between 240 and 250 pounds.
He can legitimately take guards and wings onto the block and score over the top with ease, meaning you can’t switch him without getting hurt. And while he doesn’t necessarily have the best tools in the class as an athlete — he’s not wildly explosive and doesn’t have outlier length — he’s a really smart defender who is terrific positionally and has great reactions. His frame also looks very well proportioned for the NBA, as a sturdy, strong player who not only absorbs physicality but actually initiates it. He’s one of my favorite prospects I’ve evaluated out of high school, and Banchero is in for an enormous year at Duke.
2. Orlando Magic
Chet Holmgren | 7-1 forward/center | 19 years old, freshman | Gonzaga
Banchero is at No. 1 because I think he’s, in many ways, the safest prospect in the class right now. If you made me pick the prospect that I think has the highest upside, though, I think I would say Holmgren. He’s just so skilled at 7-foot-1 while also providing genuine plus defensive potential. He can step away and shoot the 3. He handles the ball well for someone his size. He can drive and attack closeouts, as well as occasionally create his own shot (although he’s not quite as adept in terms of pure creativity off the bounce as Banchero is).
Defensively, though, is where Holmgren outstrips Banchero. He’s the class’ best rim protector, an absolutely terrific shot blocker who tries to contest everything and can swat shots both as a primary rim protector and as a weakside last line of defense. Why I have him at No. 2 is simply that NBA teams just aren’t quite sure yet how to react to his frame. Holmgren is under 200 pounds at 7-foot-1 and has a long way to go before he reaches the NBA.
For reference, Evan Mobley struggled with the physicality of summer league, and he’s about 25 pounds heavier than Holmgren is right now. Holmgren doesn’t back down from anyone and plays extremely aggressively. He’s not afraid of anyone on the court and has the kind of mentality needed to overcome that concern, but it’s going to be a long road. Still, he’s in the perfect situation at Gonzaga, and I would anticipate he ends up having an absolutely monster season.
3. Detroit Pistons
Jalen Duren | 6-10 center | 17 years old, freshman | Memphis
Duren is kind of the middle ground between Holmgren and Banchero on defense. He’s strong enough to hold his own, as he’s built like an NBA player right now, but he also has the elite length that someone like Holmgren has that allows him to be a real rim protector at the center position. He moves well on defense, but he doesn’t quite have the twitchy burst of a forward like Bam Adebayo. He’s more power-based and a bit more heavy-footed than the Miami Heat big to whom he often invites comparisons.
The reason I’ve slid him down to No. 3, though, is that I don’t think his offensive game is quite as well-defined at this point as the other two ahead of him. He’s about 18 months younger than Holmgren, so on some level, it’s to be expected that he’s not as refined. But he does show enough interesting tools as a passer and potential high-post playmaker to where I’m intrigued with how he could fit into the modern NBA. He also finishes everything around the rim with his length, leaping ability and power. He profiles as a long-term, top-seven or so starting center in the NBA with All-Defense upside if things break right.
4. Houston Rockets
Jabari Smith Jr. | 6-10 forward | 18 years old | Auburn
This is where things get very complicated. Whereas I have faith that all of the top-four players are lottery-level guys, we’re starting now to get into a class of player where there are just far more questions. Smith is a skilled, pure four right now, a skinny, floor-spacing, 6-foot-10 forward who can do a little bit of everything. He’s a good weakside rim protector on defense who also has the mobility to go out and defend wings and perimeter bigs.
His ability to fluidly slide his feet has caught the eye of evaluators who have delved into high school tape. On offense, he’s comfortable going out and playing as a face-up four. He’s not an elite shot creator, but he’s comfortable getting to his spots and getting to his pull-up game. Right now, he seems a bit more confident from the midrange, but most evaluators I’ve spoken with on the NBA side believe in him as a consistent 3-point shooter within the next few years.
Auburn is going to be one of the hottest destinations for NBA scouts this year, as the team has Smith, Walker Kessler and Allen Flanigan as guys NBA teams have high on their watch lists to get eyes on. Flanigan will miss the early portion of the year, so teams should get a chance to see Smith in a couple of separate roles, one where he’s a bit more centralized early and one where he plays as more of an ensemble by the midpoint of the season.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jaden Hardy | 6-4 guard | 19 years old | G League Ignite
The guards are a bit of an open question right now in this class, but Hardy is the name most evaluators have atop their watch lists heading into the season. A 6-foot-4 combo guard, Hardy profiles much more toward the scoring side of the equation. He has all sorts of craft as a ballhandler and can get into a series of pull-ups with ease. Whereas Jalen Green is more of a Zach LaVine-style elite athlete who also has craft and can get into his pull-up game, think of Hardy more as a Bradley Beal-style scorer who uses change of pace and terrific footwork to get into his shots. His body control is superb.
He has a terrific crossover game mixed with all sorts of hesitation moves. He has NBA 3-point range off the bounce. How his playmaking translates to the G League is what NBA teams will want to see, as he gets a bit dribble-happy and tries to do too much outside of the flow. But Hardy has some real game that should translate to him having success in the G League. He’s, by far, the player I trust most within this version of the Ignite to have a successful run.
6. San Antonio Spurs
Patrick Baldwin | 6-9 forward | 18 years old | Milwaukee
Baldwin is heading to Milwaukee to play for his father this season. He is one of the better young shooters I’ve evaluated. Below is a clip from the summer of 2019 when Baldwin played for Phenom University on the Nike EYBL circuit. Within these three shots, you’ll see a player whose game looks extremely projectable to what a role in the NBA could look like.
He understands how to use off-ball screens and moves pretty consistently. He’s comfortable taking shots both off the hop or off a left-right one-two step. His range is real, and his rhythm throughout the jumper is pristine. On top of that, he’s 6-foot-9 and has a high release point that is hard to contest.
Just want to note how much I love Patrick Baldwin Jr.’s shooting mechanics. This is from 2019. So pure with great rhythm off the hop. Hits them off of movement. Just extremely pure and projectable. pic.twitter.com/ZDDJskG3oO
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) October 4, 2021
7. Washington Wizards
AJ Griffin | 6-6 forward | 18 years old | Duke
Griffin is the wild card of the draft. He hasn’t been seen in many competitive settings in the past 18 months. He missed some of his junior season with a knee injury, and for his senior season, he moved to Tampa to work out with his dad, Adrian Griffin, who is the Toronto Raptors’ lead assistant. He played at the Iverson Classic — an event in May that was attended by a bevy of NBA scouts — and physically looks ready to play in the NBA right now with a 7-foot-plus wingspan.
He can knock down shots with real touch and plays well around the basket. Scouts who have gone back to watch his 2019 U16 FIBA Americas tape believe he has a genuine chance to morph into a legitimate top-three pick in the draft due to his two-way potential both as a shot creator and disruptive defender. But again, evaluators just haven’t seen enough of him to feel real confident.
Eighteen months is a lifetime in prospect development. Griffin is one of the true swing guys, and scouts will look to get eyes on him early in the draft cycle. And now, he’s out with a knee injury that’ll hold him out for about a month. Hopefully, he gets healthy and we get to see him sooner rather than later.
8. Minnesota Timberwolves
Jaden Ivey | 6-4 guard | 19 years old | Purdue
Ivey is my top prospect that returned to college basketball. He had an absolutely spectacular close to last season. He averaged 16 points, four rebounds and two assists in his final 10 games, leading Purdue down the stretch. He followed that up with an All-Tournament performance in the U19 World Cup this summer as the lead guard of the gold medal-winning team. More of a scorer than a distributor, Ivey has a terrific first step and lives in the paint.
The big question for evaluators is the jumper after he shot just 25.8 percent from 3 last season then made just 28.6 percent from 3 at the U19 event. However, there is real reason to believe that was a small sample size issue. Prior to last season, Ivey was a consistent 40 percent 3-point shooter over his career. He made over 40 percent in his three years at Marian High School in Indiana on more than 300 attempts, then over 40 percent again as a senior at La Lumiere. If he reverts to that shooting trajectory, Ivey will be a lottery pick.
9. Sacramento Kings
Peyton Watson | 6-8 wing | 19 years old | UCLA
Watson is a fascinating prospect that has both NBA evaluators and college coaches a bit all over the map in terms of what to expect this season. Everyone certainly believes in Watson’s long-term upside as a 6-foot-8 wing with tremendous passing skills and high-level effort on the defensive end. He’s something of a point wing who can run offenses due to his vision and athleticism. He leaks out in transition and gets points that way, and his jumper looks projectable long-term. However, there is some polish that is missing right now in terms of ballhandling craft and consistency with his shooting.
On top of that, he’s still pretty skinny and playing for a coach that prioritizes toughness. Watson won’t have a problem playing defense, which is critical playing for Mick Cronin. Having said that, UCLA is going to be one of the oldest teams in the country this year and already has both Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez ahead of him on the wing. Watson is extremely talented, but it might take a bit more time than you’d expect for a five-star recruit — and that’s OK.
10. Toronto Raptors
Bennedict Mathurin | 6-6 wing | 19 years old | Arizona
This is officially where I have very little in the way of strong opinions. I like Mathurin, and he would have had around a late first-round grade for me had he entered the 2021 draft. He averaged nearly 11 points and hit 42 percent from 3 at Arizona last year as a freshman and will step into an even larger role this year as the team’s go-to perimeter player along with Ąžuolas Tubelis inside.
At 6-foot-6 with about a 6-foot-9ish wingspan, he has ideal measurements for the NBA as a 3-and-D guy. He just needs to get a bit more comfortable putting the ball on the ground against pressure and making reads — something he looked a bit better doing at the U19 World Cup this summer. Mathurin was pretty limited as a freshman and needs to show that he is capable of taking on a bit more in Tommy Lloyd’s first season at the helm. Late lottery feels high for him right now, but I feel reasonably confident at this point that he’s at least a first-round talent.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Nikola Jović | 6-10 forward | 18 years old | Mega
Jović is the next great prospect out of Serbian hoops factory Mega Basket. He was the MVP of the Next Generation Tournament in Belgrade and made the All-Tournament team at the U19 World Cup this summer despite Serbia finishing fourth in the competition. In the limited time he got with Mega’s senior team this year, he was terrific. He’s in the 6-foot-9 to 6-foot-10 range and has legitimate perimeter skills mixed with an awesome feel for the game. I buy him as a shooter long-term.
The idea here is something of a Dario Saric type, something that sounds bad on its surface until you remember Saric was a starter who averaged almost 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists per game on a 50-win 76ers team in his second season before being traded to Minnesota, where he wasn’t really a fit. Much like Saric, though, Jović is going to have to prove he can do anything on defense. That’s where the concern is right now. I see him more as a latter half of the first-round grade even though he sits in the lottery here.
12. New Orleans Pelicans
TyTy Washington | 6-3 guard | 18 years old | Kentucky
This is just a pure bet on my end. All the sources and reports out of Kentucky have said Washington looks terrific. He’s shooting the heck out of the ball in the way that you would expect given his high school play, a critical skill that will allow him to see the floor in a crowded backcourt with Sahvir Wheeler, Kellan Grady, CJ Fredrick and Davion Mintz.
He has great handle and change of pace to separate from defenders, and he plays with real toughness and physicality. He absorbs contact at the level you would hope for from a young player. He makes some real high-level passing reads at times. I’m a big fan of what I’ve seen of his skill level.
The ultimate question is simply how athletic he is. He doesn’t have a ton of explosiveness and doesn’t really blow by defenders, so he’ll need to rely solely on craft. He might just have enough of it, though, to make it work.
13. Chicago Bulls
Caleb Houstan | 6-8 wing | 18 years old | Michigan
I’m very interested in what Houstan has the potential to be. Similarly to Baldwin above, he’s a big wing at 6-foot-8 with some length. He has a good looking jumper, but there isn’t quite enough consistency yet to feel completely confident every time he steps in to shoot. He attacks closeouts well off an advantage and makes good passing decisions. As he showed at the U19 tournament this summer, he comes off screens well, particularly knowing how to come off pindowns either off a curl or a flare out to the 3-point line.
His body control is real. On top of that, he’s a good defender who takes that end of the court seriously. He’s also on the younger side for the class with a 2003 birthday, so Houstan will absolutely be someone NBA teams want to get eyes on early.
14. Memphis Grizzlies
Dyson Daniels | 6-6 wing | 18 years old | G League Ignite
Daniels is an all-around wing who has a great attitude defensively and is extremely aggressive and tough on that end of the floor. He’s a legitimate one through three defender right now who creates steals and plays physically. The best skill Daniels brings to the table offensively is his passing ability. He often played point for the Australian U19 team this summer and showcases a terrific understanding of how to create open angles for passes to his teammates.
I expect he’ll become a solid 3-point shooter in time because his release is clean, although right now everything tends to come up short because he doesn’t get enough involvement from his lower half. As a driver, he’s excellent at getting into the middle of the floor and tries to get to his floater game regularly as opposed to getting all the way to the rim. He needs to finish better through physicality and keep improving his handle. But the combination of defense plus passing at 6-foot-6 is enough to make me think he goes in the first round at some point.
15. New York Knicks
Ousmane Dieng | 6-8 forward | 18 years old | New Zealand Breakers
A big, skinny, 6-foot-8 wing who has some real playmaking tendencies, Dieng is most comfortable as a ballhandler, playing with real high-level pace. Playing on the same youth team in France as 2023’s projected No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama, NBA scouts have gotten a chance to see Dieng for a few years and are very intrigued. The upside here is outstanding, as he can hit high-level passing reads and has some real potential to become a genuine shooter.
It’s rare to find guys with this much craft who are this big and long. At this point, he really just needs to get stronger, but in that vein, I’m a bit more worried about what this coming year looks like for him. He’s moved to the Australian NBL’s Next Stars program, where he’ll play for the New Zealand Breakers. How he handles the physicality of the league will be interesting, as he could be a similar situation to the Breakers’ last high-level prospect, R.J. Hampton, as a skinny guard who struggles to be efficient in a pro league. Still, his upside is very high, and scouts will want to trek over to Australia as soon as the borders open.
16. Indiana Pacers
Max Christie | 6-7 wing | 19 years old | Michigan State
Having spent the last couple of months really diving into the incoming freshman class, I can’t quite figure out why Christie doesn’t have more hype behind him. He’s a 6-foot-7 wing with pristine shooting mechanics and legitimate offensive feel. He can attack off the bounce if a team closes out way too heavily, and he makes smart passing reads.
Defensively, he’s attentive and generally in the right spot even if I wouldn’t quite call him a difference-maker yet. Isn’t this what every NBA team is looking for? Maybe it takes him a bit of extra time to get acclimated, but he looks every bit the part of a top-20 pick.
17. Chicago Bulls (via POR)
Roko Prkačin | 6-9 forward | 18 years old | Cibona
Prkačin decided at the last minute to pull out of the 2021 draft. I had a late first-round grade on him had he decided to stay in, and he stays in the first round to start the year in what looks like a bit of a weaker draft with less depth. He is a 6-foot-9 forward who has a very professional mindset. He emerged on the scene as a legitimate prospect back in 2018, when he won the U16 Euro Championship MVP award.
He was extremely productive last season as a 17-year-old in the Adriatic League and already had a monster game in his Adriatic League opener, scoring 24 points and grabbing six rebounds while hitting two 3s. Proving that he can knock down perimeter jumpers and defend in space will be the two critical parts of his game this season. But Prkačin is about as accomplished as any European player entering this draft cycle.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (via LAC)
Bryce McGowens | 6-7 wing | 19 years old | Nebraska
McGowens has a lot of the tools NBA teams look for from shot-creating wings. He’s just a shade under 6-foot-7 and has the kind of long frame that tends to portend strong future development. He has a terrific game off the bounce, playing with great rhythm and shake. And despite being in the ballpark of 185 pounds, he’s completely fearless. There is a genuine toughness level to how he operates on the court.
Ultimately, the big question for him comes down to efficiency. Most evaluators do believe he’ll shoot it well at some point, but he has a bit of an unnatural lean right now that leads to inconsistent results from 3. And around the basket, he gets tossed around a bit because he doesn’t have enough core strength. But the light will come on for McGowens at some point, and he’s going to be a legitimate first-round prospect. The question is whether it’s this season or next. On the plus side, he’ll play in a wide-open, NBA-style scheme under Fred Hoiberg.
19. Boston Celtics
Yannick Nzosa | 6-11 center | 17 years old | Unicaja Malaga
I had Nzosa as a top-10 guy in my original rankings, but I think that was very high even in a class that I have significant questions about. Right now, I think I’d have a higher grade on Usman Garuba, who went No. 24 to Houston last year (and whom I had at No. 12 on my personal board in last year’s draft class).
Originally from Congo, Nzosa keeps it pretty simple. He’s a long, lean, athletic big man who defends at a high level and plays well above the rim, He’s 6-foot-11 with very long arms and a real athletic twitch that allows him to make an impact all across the court defensively for Unicaja. He has the body control and lateral quickness to guard ball screens in a variety of ways. He has earned his way into a real role in the ACB and EuroCup levels, which is very impressive for his age. But the more tape I’ve watched, I have some pretty significant questions about his offensive game.
Early this season, Nzosa has shown some attempts to step away and shoot to poor results. He’s also tried to make some passing reads on the move to mixed results that have involved turnovers. I don’t love his hands, as he seems to struggle to catch the ball at times. But he’s very toolsy and has some real upside on defense as a big man.
20. Atlanta Hawks
Kennedy Chandler | 6-1 guard | 18 years old | Tennessee
I’m not sure where to place Chandler. He’s a tremendous backcourt option and someone who I think will really succeed running an offense at some point. He has great feel for when to get a bucket, but he’s at his best distributing to teammates. If any freshman guard is going to work under Rick Barnes, this is the one.
He makes good decisions and plays an extremely unselfish brand of basketball. Still, after the experience this past season of Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson, I’m a touch worried about how freshman guards look in this non-ball-screen-heavy scheme, especially given the presence of upperclassmen in the backcourt, such as Santiago Vescovi, Justin Powell and Victor Bailey.
On top of that, it’s really hard in the NBA to be a very skinny 6-foot-1 guard. Still, Chandler has a lot of talent, and he’ll make an impact for the Vols.
21. Denver Nuggets
Mark Williams | 7-0 center | 19 years old | Duke
This is a pure bet on a late-season breakout translating to the following season. Very few big men in college basketball were better than Williams by the time March rolled around last season.
Williams dominated his final six games, averaging 17 points, eight rebounds and over 1.5 steals and blocks, respectively. He completely shut down the interior for Duke. Even over his final 13 games, Williams averaged 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks if you want twice as big of a sample. He’s a real rim protector and a solid rebounder on the offensive end, and he finishes everything on the interior.
He’s very limited to just playing inside, but he’s big enough, strong enough and long enough to do just that. Scouts who have seen Duke practice have come away very excited about Williams due to his length and long-term upside in terms of frame.
22. Golden State Warriors
Jean Montero | 6-2 guard | 18 years old | Overtime Elite
Montero is an absolute blast to watch. If we’re talking about the players whom I find myself just popping tape on most often, Montero is up there. He’s so technically gifted as a ballhandler and bucket-getter. He gets into his pull-up game with ease and tremendous craft while also possessing real quickness and speed.
There are definitely some similarities to Tre Mann, who was selected 18th in the 2021 draft. Having said that, Montero is going to have to keep working through defensive parts of his game to reach his ceiling. He will also benefit from continuing to improve as a distributor.
After playing last season in lower divisions of Spain, this Dominican Republic native has signed with Overtime Elite and will look to become that project’s first first-round pick.
23. Houston Rockets (via MIA)
Jaime Jaquez Jr. | 6-7 wing | 20 years old | UCLA
Jaquez is another of my favorite returning college players due to the well-rounded and tough nature of his game. He’s an awesome defender, having made the All-Defense team in the Pac-12 due to his instincts away from the ball and ability to body up two through four. On top of that, he’s a terrific team player who does exactly what’s asked of him across the court, including spacing and knocking down shots in addition to creating his own shots off the bounce.
He averaged 12 points and shot 39 percent from 3 last year. He profiles really well as a rotational piece in the NBA, and he’s my favorite to be Pac-12 Player of the Year. He’ll play for an extremely high-profile team at UCLA this season, one that I expect will compete for a national title behind him and Johnny Juzang.
24. Dallas Mavericks
Daimion Collins | 6-10 forward | 18 years old | Kentucky
Collins is another total wild card, as he’s this season’s high-upside, low-floor prospect. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone this big who can high-point the ball as Collins can. He isn’t just a good leaper for a 6-foot-10 player; he’s an elite one. Not only does he get extremely high off the ground, but he’s twitchy and gets up quickly. He also has tremendous length with a near 7-foot-5 wingspan.
This allows him to be a terrific rim runner and shot blocker from the weakside. But it’s really going to take some time offensively, and things will have to be kept simple early for Collins. He can’t really handle the ball and doesn’t make great passing decisions yet. On top of that, he’s very thin, coming in at 200 pounds. With Oscar Tshiebwe and Keion Brooks around as older prospects, don’t be surprised to see Collins come off the bench early despite the five-star status.
There will be some wow moments, but will they be consistent? I’m not sure. He might end up in the lottery, or he might end up in Lexington for a second season.
25. Philadelphia 76ers
Keegan Murray | 6-8 forward | 21 years old | Iowa
Murray is a really interesting two-way prospect who is coming off an All-Freshman team appearance in the Big Ten. He’s a legitimate weakside rim protector at 6-foot-8 who has a great sense of timing and real length that allows him to high point the ball on defense. His activity and mobility, despite having a big 220-pound frame, are impressive.
Offensively, he only hit about 30 percent from 3 last year, but his mechanics look very projectable and he has great touch. As a driver, his body control is real and allows him to contort around the rim for high-level finishes. With Joe Wieskamp, Luka Garza and CJ Fredrick all gone, I anticipate Murray stepping into an enormous role at Iowa and breaking out in a big way.
Having said that, he’s a little bit older than you’d think at 21 years old, and the track record isn’t exactly long of breakouts happening after being a non-starter at that age. But I believe in the talent in a big way, enough to project him as a top-25 guy.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder (via PHX)
JD Davison | 6-3 guard | 19 years old | Alabama
It’s hard to imagine a freshman point guard stepping into a better offense than this one. Alabama is going to spread it out and run essentially a pro-style high-ball-screen attack, which is why the Tide have had back-to-back years of first-round picks. Davison played at a small high school in Alabama. Because of that, scouts aren’t totally sure what to make of the tape they’ve seen of him at that level.
He was just so much more drastically talented than anyone else he played against. Early on, the reports from scouts who have been down to Alabama for practice and have spoken to me are that it’s going to take some time for him to adjust to the competition level, and that he might be more of a two-and-done guy as opposed to a one-and-done. However, scouts also saw him at the Iverson Classic, where his ability to run an offense out of ball screens and defend at the point of attack really stood out.
He needs to iron out his jumper, but Davison has terrific tools at 6-foot-3 with a tremendous burst to help him live in the paint. He tries to dunk everything. Athletically, he’s up to the lead guard standard in the NBA. But he also might end up behind Jahvon Quinerly, another legitimate NBA draft prospect.
27. Memphis Grizzlies (via LAL)
Terrence Shannon Jr. | 6-6 wing | 21 years old | Texas Tech
Shannon had his fans in the 2021 draft cycle who thought he was worthy of a first-round pick. Ultimately, he decided to return for another year at Texas Tech to improve his all-around skills. Shannon is one of the best defensive prospects in the 2022 cycle now, a guy who’s extremely aggressive playing against the toughest opposing wings while also possessing real one through four switchability.
The key will be continuing to show evaluators he can be a legitimate shooter. If he makes 38 to 40 percent from 3 on good volume this year, it’s extremely likely he’ll be a first-round pick. It would also really help him if he can continue to show growth as a decision-maker off drives.
28. Memphis Grizzlies (via UTA)
Hyunjung Lee | 6-7 wing | 20 years old | Davidson
Lee is another one of my personal favorites in this class. He’s the best shooter in the 2022 class, the only returning player to college basketball to go 50/40/90 last season while averaging at least 10 points per contest.
He shoots it off movement with ease. He hits shots off flare screens and pindowns. He hits relocation jumpers both from 3 and from the midrange off a single bounce. He’s also a really sharp passer who makes really good decisions when he is forced to attack a closeout. Ultimately, the only concern here is that Lee might not quite be able to hold up defensively in the NBA.
He knows where to be, but he hasn’t showcased enough quickness or strength yet to be a plus on that end. Still, I’d expect him to be a breakout player in the Atlantic 10 this year.
29. Milwaukee Bucks
Johnny Juzang | 6-6 wing | 20 years old | UCLA
Juzang is the breakout guy from this past season’s NCAA Tournament, a tough shot-making wing at 6-foot-6 who takes and makes contested shots. But his breakout didn’t just start during the tournament.
Over Juzang’s final 17 games last season at UCLA, he averaged 19 points per game while shooting 46/37/86 in terms of shooting splits. Juzang couldn’t quite get his draft stock to take off because teams were just a bit too worried about whether he could hold his own defensively.
If he can prove that he can defend his man, Juzang should stick as an NBA player in a rotation. There is always space for more shooting in today’s NBA.
30. Miami Heat (via BKN)
Marcus Bagley | 6-8 wing | 19 years old | Arizona State
Bagley chose to withdraw from the 2021 draft at the last minute. I had him as a top-45 guy had he gone through with the process. The pluses here are that he’s 6-foot-8 with some length and real athleticism.
He looks every bit like an NBA player with a long, lithe frame and some explosiveness out in transition. Additionally, he projects as a high-level shooter. Bagley hit 35 percent from 3 last year and has a strong stroke that should continue to iron itself out long-term.
On top of that, he has real defensive traits and tools that allow him to be versatile and switchable onto multiple player types from the two through the four. After playing 12 games last season, evaluators are hoping Bagley gets a better chance for some runway after battling some injuries.
21 more names
31. Oklahoma City Thunder: Gui Santos | 6-7 wing | 19 years old | Minas
32. Orlando Magic: Taevion Kinsey | 6-5 guard | 21 years old | Marshall
33. San Antonio Spurs (via DET): Allen Flanigan | 6-6 guard | 20 years old | Auburn
34. Cleveland Cavaliers (via HOU): Kadary Richmond | 6-5 guard | 20 years old | Seton Hall
35. New Orleans Pelicans (via CLE): Julian Champagnie | 6-8 forward | 20 years old | St. John’s
36. Cleveland Cavaliers (via SAS): Michael Foster | 6-9 forward | 18 years old | G League Ignite
37. Minnesota Timberwolves (via WAS): Carlos Alocén | 6-5 guard | 20 years old | Real Madrid
38. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tristan Vukčević | 6-10 forward | 18 years old | Real Madrid
39. Sacramento Kings: E.J. Liddell | 6-7 forward | 20 years old | Ohio State
40. Golden State Warriors (via TOR): Isaiah Mobley | 6-10 forward | 22 years old | USC
41. Charlotte Hornets: Matthew Mayer | 6-9 forward | 22 years old | Baylor
42. New Orleans Pelicans: Mojave King | 6-5 guard | 19 years old | Adelaide 36ers
43. Sacramento Kings (via CHI): Kofi Cockburn | 6-11 center | 22 years old | Illinois
44. Utah Jazz (via MEM): Drew Timme | 6-10 center | 21 years old | Gonzaga
45. New York Knicks: Ochai Agbaji | 6-5 wing | 21 years old | Kansas
46. Orlando Magic (via IND): Gabriele Procida | 6-7 wing | 19 years old | Fortitudo Bologna
47. Portland Trail Blazers: Buddy Boeheim | 6-6 wing | 21 years old | Syracuse
48. LA Clippers: Iverson Molinar | 6-3 guard | 21 years old | Mississippi State
49. Boston Celtics: Jordan Hall | 6-8 guard | 19 years old | St. Joseph’s
50. Atlanta Hawks: Jabari Walker | 6-8 forward | 19 years old | Colorado
51. Minnesota Timberwolves (via DEN): Malcolm Cazalon | 6-6 wing | 20 years old | Mega
52. Golden State Warriors: Max Abmas | 6-1 guard | 20 years old | Oral Roberts
53. Indiana Pacers (via MIA): Jahvon Quinerly | 6-2 guard | 22 years old | Alabama
54. Dallas Mavericks: Hugo Besson | 6-3 guard | 20 years old | New Zealand Breakers
55. Miami Heat (via PHI): Scotty Pippen Jr. | 6-2 guard | 20 years old | Vanderbilt
56. Phoenix Suns: Ąžuolas Tubelis | 6-11 center | 19 years old | Arizona
57. San Antonio Spurs (via LAL): Keon Ellis | 6-6 wing | 21 years old | Alabama
58. New Orleans Pelicans (via UTA): Olek Balcerowski | 7-1 center | 20 years old | Mega
59. Detroit Pistons (via BKN): Trayce Jackson-Davis | 6-9 forward | 21 years old | Indiana
2022 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Australian Dyson Daniels climbs into lottery territory | NBA.com Australia Source link 2022 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Australian Dyson Daniels climbs into lottery territory | NBA.com Australia