NBA Draft 2022: Latest Mock Predictions from Industry Experts amid NBA Finals
Only one week remains before the 2022 NBA draft.
This is peak mock draft season, in other words.
With draft plans coming clearer into focus and reporters working every source to sniff those strategies out, experts continue getting closer to their final predictions.
That makes this a perfect time, then, to round up the latest industry mocks and see what lessons can be learned from them.
Near-Consensus in Top Five
Each draft has a different inflection point. If the pre-draft hunches of B/R's Jonathan Wasserman, ESPN's Jonathan Givony and The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor prove prescient, it could take a handful of picks to reach that point this year.
All three experts start with the same trio at the top. First, the Orlando Magic grab Auburn's Jabari Smith. Then, the Oklahoma City Thunder take Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren. Finally, the Houston Rockets grab Duke's Paolo Banchero.
Only after these three picks are in the books do the disagreements start. Sort of. Wasserman and Givony are actually in lockstep for the entire top 10.
The pivot point is the No. 4 pick, which both Wasserman and Givony report rival teams expect to be in play for a trade. Purdue's Jaden Ivey is arguably the best prospect on the board at that point, but he's an awkward fit for the Sacramento Kings, since their backcourt is presumably set with De'Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell. Still, Wasserman and Givony have Sacramento snatching up Ivey anyway if a trade doesn't come together.
O'Connor, meanwhile, has the Kings going with Iowa's Keegan Murray, whom Wasserman and Givony both mocked to the Detroit Pistons at No. 5. O'Connor, conversely, has the Pistons taking Ivey.
Top-10 Prospects to Watch
While teams are the ones who officially shake up a draft, the wheels are really put in motion by the prospects themselves.
Every class has a few players who effectively shape the direction of the draft. This year, those prospects seem to be Kentucky's Shaedon Sharpe and Dyson Daniels of the G League Ignite.
Both are top-10 picks for all three experts, though the order differs a bit. Wasserman and Givony each linked Daniels with the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 7 and have Sharpe going one spot later to the New Orleans Pelicans. O'Connor sent Sharpe to the Indiana Pacers at No. 6, then agreed on Daniels to Portland at No. 7.
There is a mystery element with Sharpe, who never played a game at Kentucky but was regarded as a top-three recruit before his arrival, per 247Sports. Daniels, meanwhile, has been one of the fastest risers during the pre-draft process because of his versatility and well-rounded skill set, which essentially features everything other than a consistent three-point shot.
Mock Draft Disagreements
There has been a good deal of chatter leading up to the draft about how wide-open and unpredictable this talent grab is. If these experts are accurate, though, it might be a lot more straightforward than it seems.
As previously mentioned, Wasserman and Givony have identical top 10s. Givony and O'Connor, meanwhile, have the same 14 prospects going in the lottery, although they differ on the order a bit.
In fact, there are only four prospects who are lottery picks for some prognosticators and not for others.
Both O'Connor (No. 9) and Givony (No. 12) have the New Zealand Breakers' Ousmane Dieng as a lottery pick. Wasserman, on the other hand, doesn't have Dieng landing until the No. 17 pick. Baylor's Jeremy Sochan is the No. 12 pick for O'Connor, the No. 13 pick for Givony and just outside of the lottery at No. 15 for Wasserman.
Wasserman's two lottery prospects who don't land there for the other experts are Ohio State's Malaki Branham (No. 11) and Duke's Mark Williams (No. 13). Williams is the No. 15 pick for both Givony and O'Connor, while Branham is the 16th pick for Givony and the 17th for O'Connor.