2022 NBA Mock Draft: Updated 1st-Round Predictions Before NCAA Championship

Doric SamApril 3, 2022

Duke forward Paolo Banchero (5) celebrates during the first half of a college basketball game against Arkansas in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA men's tournament in San Francisco, Saturday, March 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The 2022 men's Final Four tipped off on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, giving a look at some of the prospects likely to be in the NBA draft later this year.

There's still quite a bit of time before the draft order is set, but many teams have already identified their top choices. Dukes Paolo Banchero and Kansas' Ochai Agbaji headline the projected first-rounders. Other players helped improve their stock, such as UNC's Armando Bacot and Villanova's Collin Gillespie.

Here's an updated look at the 2022 mock draft board ahead of Monday's national championship game between Kansas and North Carolina. 

1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith, F, Auburn

2. Houston Rockets: Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga

3. Detroit Pistons: Paolo Banchero, F, Duke

4. Oklahoma City Thunder: Keegan Murray, F, Iowa

5. Indiana Pacers: Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue

6. Portland Trail Blazers: AJ Griffin, F, Duke

7. Sacramento Kings: Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky

8. San Antonio Spurs: Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona

9. New Orleans Pelicans (from LAL): Jalen Duren, C, Memphis

10. Washington Wizards: Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin

11. Portland Trail Blazers (from NOP): Mark Williams, C, Duke

12. New York Knicks: TyTy Washington, G, Kentucky

13. Atlanta Hawks: Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas

14. Charlotte Hornets: Jeremy Sochan, F/C, Baylor

15. Oklahoma City Thunder (from LAC): Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee

16. Houston Rockets (from BKN): Tari Eason, F, LSU

17. Indiana Pacers (from CLE): EJ Liddell, F, Ohio State

18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Malaki Branham, G, Ohio State

19. Chicago Bulls: Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite

20. San Antonio Spurs (from TOR): MarJon Beauchamp, F, G League Ignite

21. Memphis Grizzlies (from UTA): Kendall Brown, F, Baylor

22. Denver Nuggets: Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame

23. San Antonio Spurs (from BOS): Walker Kessler, C, Auburn

24. Brooklyn Nets (from PHI): Wendell Moore Jr., G/F, Duke

25. Golden State Warriors: Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite

26. Dallas Mavericks: Christian Braun, F, Kansas

27. Milwaukee Bucks: Nikola Jovic, F, Mega Bemax

28. Miami Heat: Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee

29. Memphis Grizzlies: Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite

30. Oklahoma City Thunder (from PHX): Bryce McGowens, G/F, Nebraska 

The consensus belief is that the top three of this year's draft will feature Banchero, Auburn's Jabari Smith and Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren. The main question is what order will they be selected, and that will be determined when the top of the lottery is set.

There's also a question of whether Banchero has done enough to propel himself ahead of Smith as the most coveted prospect. While Banchero has been impressive during Duke's tournament run, for now the answer is no.

Despite a dismal 3-of-16 performance in Auburn's second-round loss to Miami, Smith remains the player with the most upside. He has displayed elite shooting and strong defense, which set him apart from Banchero.

Even though he's taken over for the Blue Devils during key stretches in tournament games, Banchero has a questionable defensive motor and shoots just 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. He is a capable scorer, but he relies heavily on isolations that hinder Duke's ball movement. Still, Banchero won't fall out of the top three prospects in this year's class.

Banchero isn't the only Blue Devils player likely to hear his name called early in the draft. AJ Griffin boosted his stock with his 18-point performance on nine shots in the Elite Eight. His 45.8-percent three-point shooting this year likely has teams in the top 10 salivating.

Duke center Mark Williams has worked his way into a lottery pick by averaging 14.5 points and 4.0 blocks through his first four tournament games. His defensive prowess and simple offensive game have him considered as one of the top centers in this year's class.

Blue Devils wing Wendell Moore Jr. is also likely to go in the first round. Moore has had a consistent tournament, scoring in double figures for four straight tournament games.

Kansas has a pair of projected first-rounders in Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun. Senior guard Agbaji has been the Jayhawks' best player this season and will be able to contribute right away if he's drafted to the right situation.

Braun has seen his stock rise thanks to his strong shooting and passing throughout the tournament, totaling 14 assists and six threes in four games. He has enough upside to warrant late-first round consideration.

While UNC and Villanova have talented and experienced players, none of them are projected as first-rounders. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman doesn't have any players from either team being selected in his latest two-round mock draft. Wasserman recently described players like Bacot, Gillespie, Caleb Love, Brady Manek and Jermain Samuels as "NBA hopefuls."