2022 NBA Mock Draft
The NBA Draft lottery and combine are now behind us, so it is time for an updated 2022 NBA Mock Draft. This is a very top-heavy class with most of the talent in the early lottery. There is a clear-cut top three, but after that, it is not very clear, so I will be going over what I think every team in the lottery should do on draft night.
1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith
Auburn, PF, Freshman
- 16.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 42 3PT%
This is the Magic’s first time winning the lottery since selecting Dwight Howard in 2004. The Magic are in desperate need of offense and shooting as they had the NBA’s 29th ranked offense and are ranked 28th in three-point shooting.
This is a perfect fit for Smith as he is an elite shooter who also possesses good athleticism and shot creation ability. There are very few players in the NBA who have Smith’s combination of size and shot-making ability. At Auburn last season Smith was tasked with handling the ball and running the offense at times, which he was very comfortable doing. Smith is the odds-on favorite to go first overall at BetMGM.
Not exactly a surprise stat but Jabari Smith only 6'10"+ freshman ever to make 70 threes and 100 FTs.
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) March 18, 2022
Smith has the potential to be an All-Defensive level player who can guard all five positions. Sets the tone on defense bringing constant energy and effort on that side of the ball. He has the upside to be a positionless weapon at 6″10 with quickness and versatility. He needs to improve his finishing, but there are many signs that it is something that will improve. He did show flashes in college. He fits into this Magic team very well as someone who Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs can kick out to for a three, or run the pick and roll with.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren
Gonzaga, PF/C, Freshman
- 14.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, 3.7 BLK
This is an ideal fit for both Holmgren and the Thunder, who will get to play with two premier playmakers in Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Holmgren is one of the best rim protectors college basketball history and averaged 4.9 blocks a game per 36 minutes.
The one slight people bring up when discussing Holmgren’s potential is that he is too skinny and weak to be an NBA rim protector at only 195 pounds. He makes up for this with fantastic positioning, timing, and anticipation in the post. He is also very mobile and can be someone who can switch onto NBA guards. Should he be able to put on more weight he has Defensive Player of the Year upside.
chet holmgren is 7 feet, shooting 90% at the rim (56% unassisted), 12% block rate, fifth highest freshman bpm ever and does stuff like this. don't overthink him! pic.twitter.com/la8xRZug6c
— Ben Pfeifer (@bjpf_) January 14, 2022
On offense, he’s a great shooter for his size who shot 39% from three last season. He also handled the ball at times last season for Gonzaga even sometimes grabbing a defensive rebound, then going end to end for a layup or pull-up three. His best attribute on offense is his elite interior finishing with either hand. Holmgren will bring a defensive presence and a rim protector that OKC is in desperate need of.
3. Houston Rockets: Paolo Banchero
Duke, PF, Freshman
- 17.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.1 STL
This is one of the easiest picks in the draft, and I think just about every mock draft has Banchero in this spot. Paolo is a true three-level scorer who can get buckets just about any way he wants. Despite this, his interior scoring is where he really shines. The Duke product is a strong and skilled post-up player with an excellent face-up game as well. He is a matchup nightmare for most defenders as he stands at 6″10 with a 7″1 wingspan, while also being very quick with a fluid handle and a solid jump shot.
Banchero provides the Rockets with another creator and scoring threat to pair with Jalen Green. Additionally, he can be the long-term replacement for Christain Wood who is entering the final year of his contract. He and Jalen Green are an ideal pairing as they can work with and without the ball, as well as run the pick and roll together.
One of the main flaws that people point to in his game is his defense or lack thereof. He was a subpar defender in college, but if he can continue to develop in the NBA he has the potential to be a strong and versatile defender. Banchero is also very underrated as a passer and the Athletic even says, “There’s a case that he’s the best passer in the lottery.” There is no argument that Banchero will be able to score in the NBA, should he improve in other areas, he has All-NBA potential.
4. Sacramento Kings: Shaedon Sharpe
Kentucky, SG, Freshman
Sharpe is one of the most interesting players in the draft. Firstly, he left Dream City Christian high school during his senior year and joined the Kentucky Wildcats in January. Despite that, he did not play a minute for Kentucky in 2022, so he will be entering the draft with no college experience. This is obviously something that has worked for players such as Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard, but has failed for so many others. So what makes Shaedon Sharpe different than all those great high school draftees who failed in the NBA?
Sharpe is an elite athlete and reportedly has a 49-inch vertical jump. He is 6″5 with almost a 7-foot wingspan and loves playing above the rim skying for dunks, alley-oops, and blocks. He’s a shifty ballhandler and a willing and capable passer who can get to his spots with ease.
He has an advanced layup package and can offer many different moves in the paint. He is also an elite shooter who can shoot off the dribble, or on a catch or screen. Should Sharpe’s game translate to the NBA as most people expect he could become a premier scorer in the NBA with the potential to be a top-tier playmaker and defender as well. This is a selection where the Kings are picking the best available and the player with the highest upside.
5. Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey
Purdue, PG/SG, Sophmore
- 17.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, 0.9 STL
Ivey is the fastest and potentially the most athletic player in this draft class. He is a dynamic shot creator who excels in isolations and pick-and-rolls. He has the quickest first step in the draft and thrives when attacking the rim, reminiscent of Ja Morant.
He can play both on and off the ball which should bode well with Cade Cunningham’s style of play. Ivey is a good shooter and drastically improved between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Shooting 26% from three as a freshman, to 36% on five attempts a game as a sophomore.
The main problem with Ivey is his defense. The good part is that it is more of an effort issue on defense, as he often falls asleep and can lose track of his man. He shows no motor on defense and often seems tired or disinterested on that side of the ball.
With that being said, he has made some exceptional defensive plays this season, which showcase his untapped defensive potential. Additionally, Ivey has fallen in mock drafts because he is not seen as a true point guard but a combo guard, who only averaged three assists a game in college. This is something that does not matter on the Pistons as he and Cade Cunningham can share ballhandling and playmaking duties.
6. Indiana Pacers: Keegan Murray
Iowa, PF, Sophmore
- 23.5 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 55 FG%
Murray is one of the most NBA-ready prospects in this draft. He was an excellent scorer in college and that is something that should transition well to the NBA. He can score in a variety of different ways. He excels in off-ball cutting, rolling, and earning catch-and-finish buckets. He improved his three-point percentage from 29% to 40% between his freshman and sophomore seasons. He is a versatile defender who can guard both wings and bigs.
Crazy Keegan Murray stat-
“Murray is the only college player on record to make 60 dunks and 60 3-pointers in the same season. Even when lowering that threshold to 45, no other player in a high-major conference has accomplished that in the past decade.”#Hawkeyes
— Hawkeye State (@hawkeyefbl) May 16, 2022
Murray is one of the safest picks in this draft as he has no apparent weaknesses. He fits very well with the Pacers and could help provide for them right away. He and Tyrese Haliburton would be a great duo, and Murray is someone who could fit well next to Myles Turner. Haliburton and Murray would make a great pick and roll or pick and pop combination as those are things that Murray excels at. One knock on him as a prospect is that he is already 22 years old, but I do not see that as a major negative. This is because he has shown drastic improvement throughout his college career and that is something I think will continue in the NBA.
7. Portland Trail Blazers: Jeremy Sochan
Baylor, SF/PF, Freshman
- 9.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.3 STL
This is the first real surprise of the draft. Sochan is an elite defensive prospect who will be able to guard one through five on his first day in the NBA. He has terrific defensive instincts and averaged 1.8 STL and 1.0 BLK per 36 minutes. On offense, he handles the ball well and is a high-level playmaker. He is an effective finisher around the rim, with many different moves once he gets into the paint. Sochan is someone who I could see rising on draft boards throughout the pre-draft process with his immense athleticism and potential.
His one major flaw is his three-point shooting, where he shot 30% in his one year of college. He also only shot 59% from the free throw line this past season. He has hit some very tough turnaround or fadeaway shots which makes his potential as a shooter so tantalizing should he be able to tap into it. The Blazer’s front office in the past has tended to draft young upside-driven players, and that trend will continue with this pick.
8. New Orleans Pelicans (Via Lakers): Bennedict Mathurin
Arizona, SG/SF, Sophmore
- 17.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.0 STL
Mathurin is coming off a season where he won Pac-12 player of the year and was a consensus All-American. He is a knockdown shooter who also possesses shotmaking ability off the catch or the dribble. He is very athletic and loves playing above the rim, throwing down explosive dunks. He shows lots of potential as a defender with his long arms, quick feet, and strong frame. His biggest issue on defense is consistency with his effort and his footwork at times. Additionally, he has a tendency to foul too much which gets him in trouble.
He is not someone who projects as a lead playmaker, but I don’t think he is expected to be. His role on the Pelicans at the beginning of his career would most likely be to provide a scoring punch off the bench. As he develops his ball-handling, shot-creation, and consistency on defense he could be a great 3 and D+ wing in the model of Caris Levert or a prime Victor Oladipo.
9. San Antonio Spurs: A.J Griffin
Duke, SF, Freshman
- 10.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.0 APG, 45 3PT%
Shooting and shot-making are the name of the game with Griffin. He shot an absurd 45% from three last season on more than four attempts a game. He shoots threes in a variety of ways and can rain it in off the dribble or the catch. He has a chance to be an elite shot creator with his combination of height, length, and strength. He’s 6″6 with a 7″0 wingspan and weighs 222 pounds.
Here's the synergy breakdown of AJ Griffin as a jump shooter:
– all half court jumpers – 1.272 PPP (97th percentile)
– off screens – 1.56 PPP (98th pctl)
– off the dribble – 1.125 PPP (95th pctl)
Absolutely incredible numbers for a Freshman. An all time shooting season
— Draft Dummies (@DraftDummies) May 20, 2022
Griffin’s floor is a 3 and D role player, which he displayed at an elite level for Duke all season. He has the on-ball skills that could turn him into a go-to scoring presence. He is a good ball-handler and is very creative with his moves when trying to get a bucket. His scoring and ability to draw contact are resemblant to Jimmy Butler at times.
He was hurt for two years in high school and had knee and ankle injuries at Duke as well. He has some medical question marks, but should his medicals come back clean I don’t think that will be an issue for teams. The issue is his experience in some aspects of the game like defense and playmaking. Despite this, he has immense defensive potential because of his frame and strength which I mentioned before.
10. Washington Wizards: Dyson Daniels
G League Ignite, PG/SF, 2003
- 11.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.9 STL
Daniels has been described by some as a versatility specialist. He is a 6″8 ball-handler who is an advanced playmaker with terrific defensive tools and instincts. He is potentially the best defender in the draft and should be elite on that side of the ball right away. His draft stock is trending upwards after his performances at the NBA combines and interviews. The main question when drafting Daniels is whether or not his shooting will improve in the NBA. He shot just 26% from three last season for the G league Ignite.
Dyson Daniels 2.95 shuttle run time would have been fastest at last year’s combine. 10.8 lane agility time same as Scottie Barnes’. Daniels measured 6’7.5” in shoes, 6-10 WS. Averaged 2 steals in G League at 18 y/o. Exciting defensive guard prospect. pic.twitter.com/vmjml3Bbtl
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) May 18, 2022
The Wizards could use Daniels in a multitude of ways including running the point, scoring off the ball, running point forward, and operating from the post. He’s a very smart player who won’t need plays run for him to make an impact. He has drawn comparisons to fellow Australian Josh Giddey and Derrick White due to their unselfishness, high IQ, and passing ability.
11. New York Knicks: Johnny Davis
Wisconsin, SG, Sophmore
- 19.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 STL
Davis is coming off a season where he won Big Ten Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American. From his freshman to his sophomore season he improved his scoring from 7 PPG to 19.7 and his 4.1 RPG to 8.2. He is a very tough and competitive guard who was Wisconsin’s offense last season. For the first half of the season, he was fantastic at not only scoring but also showing he was an elite rebounder for a guard. On the other side, later in the season, his numbers fell off quite a bit and he only shot 22% from three in his final 12 games.
Davis at the very least will provide another source of creation and shot-making for a New York team in desperate need of that. He is a very tough defender and makes up for his lack of great athleticism with hustle and desire. He has just about every move in the book and even works in the post at times. He may not be the most efficient scorer at times, but he will be a player who should add value in whatever role he is thrown in.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (Via Clippers): Ousmane Dieng
New Zealand Breakers, SF, 2003
- 8.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.6 STL
Dieng is the biggest boom or bust prospect in this draft. That is something that Thunder General Manager, Sam Presti has made a habit of drafting in the past. He will require patience in the NBA, but the Thunder can provide that as they are in no need to win and Dieng can take his time to develop. He has a special blend of size, defense, ball-handling, and shot creation. He shows good passing vision and has the length to get passes around defenders.
His best skill is his ball handling. Despite his size, he has a quick first step and can get to where he wants on the court. The only problem is he can’t make the shots when he does get open which is happening a lot. He shot 40% from the field and 27% from three in his last season in the NBL. There is no doubt Dieng is a project, but at his best, he has looked very similar to Brandon Ingram or a prime Chandler Parsons.
13. Charlotte Hornets: Jalen Duren
Memphis, C, Freshman
- 12.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 2.1 BLK
Duren has limited shooting and creation skills but is a top-tier rim protector. He is a very intriguing athletic prospect at 6″11, 250 pounds with a 7″5 wingspan and good leaping ability. He is a typical rim-running, shot-blocking center in the mold of Dwight Howard or Deandre Jordan.
He was a very good finisher around the rim last season and shot 60% from the field. He has not played with a real playmaker in college or high school so it will be interesting to see how much that could help him in the NBA. Duren is also likely the youngest player to get drafted and is still only 18. His upside lies within his shot-blocking ability and whether or not he can dominate the paint the same way he has in college and high school.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers: Malaki Branham
Ohio State, SG, Freshman
- 13.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 50 FG%
Branham was one of the most efficient players in college basketball last season. He excels in self-creation, pull-up shooting, pick and roll play, and is one of the youngest players in the draft. Branham won the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year award and was an outstanding shot creator in the final portion of the season, as Ohio State gave him more control of the offense.
Malaki Branham’s second half of the season stats:
17.3p, 3.8r, 2.1a
53 FG / 43 3FG / 84 FT
LOTTERY PICK pic.twitter.com/DKhuWdjxke
— Matt Pennie (@matt_pennie) April 15, 2022
Branham is not an elite athlete but makes up for it with advanced ball handling and body control. He can beat his defender with a variety of different moves and has a pure midrange jumper. He is a fairly safe prospect with a high floor as a 3 and D player who can also create for himself on offense.