Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

NBA Mock Draft 2022: Edition 1 (Lottery Edition)

Jabari Smith, Auburn to Oklahoma City

1. Orlando Magic

Chet Holmgren, F/C, Gonzaga

Looking up and down this Orlando roster, it's hard to know how many of these pieces are going to be here for the long-term. This is simply a bad basketball team the way its currently constructed and the franchise has not been a serious contender since the Dwight Howard days. With that being said, drafting a game-changing big may just be the solution to wake the Magic from their slumber. I'm not as sold on Holmgren as others, but he's got a good chance to go No. 1 and would reunite with Jalen Suggs, his former high school teammate.

2. Houston Rockets

Paolo Banchero, F, Duke

Armed with future draft picks and with a rising star in Jalen Green, Houston's rebuild post-James Harden continues. They have a long-term need in the frontcourt that could be solved by drafting any of the next two available forwards, Paolo Banchero or Jabari Smith. My pick would be Banchero; he's got the type of game that translates well to the league and seems like a good fit in Houston.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

Jabari Smith, F, Auburn

The Thunder have been openly tanking for several seasons now, without a ton to show for it beyond Shai Gilgeous-Alexander just yet. However, they have a Top 3 selection to spend and shouldn't hesitate to snag Jabari Smith. The Auburn product does a lot of things well, and seems to only be scratching the surface, perfect for a team that can afford to be patient.

4. Sacramento Kings

Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue

Sacramento's another team that's really difficult to figure out. They dealt away Tyrese Haliburton for Domantas Sabonis so they clearly want to contend, but the roster has significant holes. Drafting Jaden Ivey at four wouldn't solve all of them, but it would pair an explosive scorer with De'Aaron Fox in the backcourt.

5. Detroit Pistons

Jalen Duren, C, Memphis

It's been awhile now since Detroit had a dominant low post presence, which would be immediately addressed by selecting Memphis center Jalen Duren. Duren's still a bit unpolished; he reclassified prior to the 2021-22 campaign, but could have been a high school senior. Even so, he's a forceful offensive specimen with rim running potential.

6. Indiana Pacers

Shaedon Sharpe, F, Kentucky

There's probably not going to be a larger storyline in this Draft than Shaedon Sharpe. Sharpe was a consensus five-star prospect who reclassified and joined Kentucky in 2021-22, but he didn't play a single minute in Lexington. You can understand how young and raw he is, but the fact John Calipari didn't want to use Sharpe at any point during the season has to make you a bit wary. Yet, NBA teams adore his upside and the wing has a super good shot to land somewhere early on in the lottery.

7. Portland Trail Blazers

Keegan Murray, F, Iowa

I'm not entirely sure what the future holds in Portland. They traded C.J. McCollum this season and bottomed out, but Damian Lillard remains. Trade rumors have swirled around Lillard for some time and he's not getting younger, but both sides remain committed for now. The frontcourt has lacked playmaking for some time, so adding a high-scoring forward like Keegan Murray just makes sense.

8. New Orleans Pelicans

A.J. Griffin, F, Duke

If you're looking for a guy who is going to rise in this Draft process, look no further than A.J. Griffin. As an elite shooter and skilled defender, he fits exactly what the NBA wants: the "3-and-D" player. Griffin had a strong one season at Duke and would provide much-needed floor spacing to an offense that boasts Brandon Ingram and C.J. McCollum.

9. San Antonio Spurs

Bennedict Mathurin, G, Arizona

Bennedict Mathurin enjoyed a huge season for an Arizona team that rose all the way to a top seed and Pac-12 Title. He's likely to land somewhere in the later-half of the lottery and San Antonio seems to make plenty of sense. The Spurs have an elite playmaker in Dejounte Murray, but the rest of the offense falls a bit flat. Mathurin, who averaged 17.7 PPG in 2021-22, offers immediate help.

10. Washington Wizards

Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor

Jeremy Sochan was a major beneficiary of Baylor's late-season injury problems, playing big minutes and commanding a lead role. He's a safe bet to land somewhere in the lottery, as he's an elite defender, solid rebounder, and plays with limitless energy. Sochan's the type of guy you love having on your team, but hate playing against, the type of guy Washington could use.

11. New York Knicks

Tari Eason, F, LSU

New York was a great story back in 2020-21 but coming off a disappointing year, they could be undergoing changes. Up front, Mitchell Robinson is set to become a free agent and Julius Randle could be a trade possibility. Even if those guys don't head elsewhere, investing in a combo forward with high upside like Tari Eason is understandable. Eason had a breakout season coming over from Cincinnati and should be a lottery pick.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder

Ousmane Dieng, F, New Zealand

Right now, the international group in this draft class seems fairly pedestrian, but New Zealand's Ousmane Dieng could be a riser. The 19-year old has an interesting offensive game, as a skilled ball-handler and distributor for his size. He'll need plenty of work, but Oklahoma City is a team willing to wait and Sam Presti has never shied away from big moves.

13. Charlotte Hornets

Walker Kessler, F/C, Auburn

This could be a bit high for Walker Kessler, an Auburn product who most peg as a mid-to-late first-rounder. Yet, Kessler is already a tremendous rim protector his offensive game has a lot of promise. Charlotte undoubtedly needs a center this offseason, so selecting the former UNC transfer fits.

14. Cleveland Cavaliers

Malaki Branham, G/F, Ohio State

Despite entering the season without a lot of fanfare, Malaki Branham was a key contributor for Ohio State this winter. He's risen into lottery consideration and would make sense for a team like Cleveland, who could use a wing to pair with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. Originally from Columbus and after one year with the Buckeyes, Branham gets to stay in the state of Ohio for the next phase of his basketball career.

15. Charlotte Hornets

Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas

Just two picks after adding an impact big in Walker Kessler, Charlotte adds a scorer in the form of Ochai Agbaji, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year. Agbaji doesn't have the ceiling of other wings in this Draft considering he's already 22 years old, but he's a proven isolation scorer with good size and a nice touch. He makes a bunch of sense for a Hornets roster that is short on weapons on the perimeter.

16. Atlanta Hawks

Mark Williams, C, Duke

Clint Capela signed an extension with Atlanta in September of 2021, but don't be surprised if he becomes a potential trade chip over the offseason. If so, the Hawks can find his replacement in a hurry in the form of Mark Williams out of Duke. Williams has a limited offensive game but he can rebound, block shots, and most importantly, defend the pick-and-roll.

17. Houston Rockets

Dyson Daniels, G, Australia

Teams eager to add an exciting young playmaker should look no further than Dyson Daniels. Originally from Australia, Daniels spent this past season in the G League and put up solid numbers across the board as a 19-year, averaging over five assists per game in 32 minutes. His shot mechanics need work, but at the very least he provides a proven distributor just scratching the surface of what he can be.

18. Chicago Bulls

Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin

With Zach LaVine's future in doubt, Chicago stays in the Midwest and adds one of the breakout stars from this college basketball, Johnny Davis. Davis doesn't project to the NBA as well as you might expect; despite the fact he has good size, he's not much of a ball handler and didn't shoot great from three in 2021-22. However, he's well worth this pick right after the lottery for a Bulls team trying to push themselves into NBA Title contention.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves

Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame

This is almost uncharted territory for the T-Wolves, who are so used to picking in the lottery. They should be looking at either adding a rim protector to pair with KAT, or seriously considering adding a combo guard to replace D'Angelo Russell. I've generally been a Russell fan, but is he ever going to be a top piece on a championship team? Blake Wesley isn't as flashy, but he's a crafty offensive weapon who would be a superb fit next to Anthony Edwards.

20. San Antonio Spurs

Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia

Certainly not to be confused with the reigning MVP, Nikola Jovic is a prototypical San Antonio draft pick. He's an international combo forward who can step outside and hit the three ball and he's an elite passer for his position. The funny thing is, Jovic plays a similar brand of basketball to Nikola Jokic, but he's not as big or as skilled.

21. Denver Nuggets

TyTy Washington, G, Kentucky

Few teams in the NBA have drafted better in the past decade than Denver and they're looking for another steal this summer. Perhaps they could luck out and have Kentucky's TyTy Washington slide to them. Washington has Top 10 talent but injuries crippled his effectiveness late in the year. He's well worth a selection year, gifting the Nuggets another Calipari-coached guard in their backcourt.

22. Memphis Grizzlies

Kendall Brown, G/F, Baylor

Memphis is a team one or two pieces away from being an NBA Finals frontrunner, so this Draft could be very important for them. They could use another rim protector, but there's not an obvious one available at this spot, so instead they add a versatile wing in Kendall Brown. Brown will have no problem playing a supporting role, where he can add valuable defense and shooting.

23. Brooklyn Nets

Jaden Hardy, G/F, G League

Who knows what Brooklyn is going to look like after this offseason? Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons both have uncertain futures and key role players such as Patty Mills and Bruce Brown could leave in free agency. In response, the Nets add a dynamic, but untested, playmaker in Jaden Hardy from the G League. Hardy was a big-time recruit before going the G League route, but had major ups-and-downs. He's a fluid athlete and you can see the potential in his jumper, so this is worth the risk.

24. Milwaukee Bucks

Max Christie, G, Michigan State

You can never have too many shooters in the modern NBA, especially when your roster includes Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks invest in one here in the form of Max Christie, who had a productive lone season with Michigan State. Christie has a smooth stroke and a well-built frame, with a game that actually reminds me a lot of Khris Middleton.

25. San Antonio Spurs

E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State

Despite being undersized, E.J. Liddell is simply too good of a player to slip any further in this Draft. He plays much larger than 6'7" with a bulldog mentality underneath and he's never been afraid to step outside and hit a three ball. 

26. Dallas Mavericks

MarJon Beauchamp, G, G League

MarJon Beauchamp is a relative unknown to most basketball fans, unless you're a hardcore NBA Draft or G League fan. He went to several different high schools and spent a year at a junior college before flashing upside in the G League ranks. He's a good athlete with ideal size for a modern wing, with the potential to grow into a capable two-way contributor. Beauchamp is worth a flier in the late first round for a Dallas team that could use another perimeter defender.

27. Miami Heat

Wendell Moore, G/F, Duke

Few organizations in the NBA excel better than Miami at identifying under-the-radar talent and plugging it into their system. They regularly find late gems in the Draft and could add another by taking Duke's Wendell Moore. Moore has been overshadowed during his time in Durham by the insane collection of talent around him, but he's a skilled defender, good teammate, and his three-point shot has come a long way. 

28. Golden State Warriors

Moussa Diabate, F/C, Michigan

Golden State remains hopeful that James Wiseman will eventually figure out and evolve into a dominant low post presence, but there's no guarantee. It wouldn't be shocking to see them invest in a high upside big in the late first, such as Michigan's Moussa Diabate. Diabete had some real growing pains during his time with the Wolverines, but has the raw physical tools to become a skilled offensive player.

29. Memphis Grizzlies

Jalen Williams, F, Santa Clara

After adding Max Christie earlier, Memphis adds a player that can play either forward spot in Jalen Williams from Santa Clara. Williams was a highly productive player in the collegiate ranks and checks a lot of boxes; he shot nearly 40% from three, can score in a variety of ways, and pass the ball. He actually reminds me a decent amount of a current Memphis player, Brendon Clarke.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder

Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee

With yet another first-rounder, Oklahoma City invests in their backcourt by taking Kennedy Chandler out of Tennessee. The former highly touted recruit can play either guard spot and is a smooth ball-handler with the poise and maturity of a veteran. He still has plenty of things he needs to work on to round out his game, but is worth a pick here.

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.