NBA Draft Big Board: Updated Top 50 Prospects

Jonathan WassermanJune 21, 2022

NBA Draft Big Board: Updated Top 50 Prospects

0 of 5

    College Basketball: NCAA Final Four:  North Carolina Paolo Banchero (5) in action, dribbles vs Duke at Caesars Superdome. 
New Orleans, LA 4/2/2022
CREDIT: Greg Nelson (Photo by Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
(Set Number: X164001 TK2)
    Set Number: X164001 TK2

    Our final 2022 NBA draft board is locked in, and the No. 1 prospect has changed since opening night.

    It sounds like Bleacher Report's rankings also differ from the Orlando Magic's. The players they're rumored to be considering at No. 1 are No. 2 and No. 3 on our board.

    This year's class is ultimately perceived to be top-heavy, though there are a handful of wild cards outside the top four that could have sneaky upside.

Nos. 50-41

1 of 5

    TOLEDO, OH - MARCH 16:  Toledo Rockets guard Ryan Rollins (5) drives to the basket past Dayton Flyers forward R.J. Blakney (23) during a first round basketball game of the National Invitational Tournament between the Dayton Flyers and the Toledo Rockets on March 16, 2022 at Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio.  (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    50. Dominick Barlow (Overtime Elite, PF, 2003)

    49. Dereon Seabron (North Carolina State, SF, Sophomore)

    48. Michael Foster Jr. (G League Ignite, PF, 2003)

    47. Aminu Mohammed (Georgetown, SG/SF, Freshman)

    46. Christian Koloko (Arizona, C, Junior)

    45 Jabari Walker (Colorado, PF, Sophomore)

    44. Caleb Houstan (Michigan, SF, Freshman)

    43. David Roddy (Colorado State, SF/PF, Junior)

    42. Justin Lewis (Marquette, SF, Redshirt Freshman)

    41. Ryan Rollins (Toledo, SG, Sophomore)

    Houstan's Archetype

    Despite Houstan's disappointing season and obvious limitations as an athlete and creator, it's still worth taking a second-round gamble on a 6'8", 19-year-old shooter. He made 60 threes (35.5 percent) in 34 games and shot 78.3 percent from the line. Having a big-wing shooting threat who can make passing reads could be useful in a limited role.

    Mohammed's Unconventional Sleeper Potential

    On paper, it's tough to love a wing who isn't a plus creator or shooter. Mohammed's path to success is different. Defensive tools (212 lbs, 6'11" wingspan) and toughness will give him a chance to stick. The hope will be for him to offer enough value as a transition weapon and an eventual, threatening spot-up shooter. He made 38.9 percent of his catch-and-shoot jumpers.

    Seabron's Outlier Potential

    Seabron has outlier potential tied to his ball-handling and driving. He might not need a jumper to cause some problems for defenses. The most productive scorer during NBA combine scrimmages converted 125 shots at the rim in the half court this year. Attempting 258 shots at the rim is also impressive, even if it highlights inefficient finishing. It's worth using a second-round pick to see if he'll have an easier time with more NBA space.

Nos. 40-31

2 of 5

    EVANSTON, IL - FEBRUARY 22: Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Bryce McGowens (5) is guarded by Northwestern Wildcats forward Robbie Beran (31) during a college basketball game between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Northwestern Wildcats on February 22, 2022, at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, IL. (Photo by Chris Kohley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Chris Kohley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    40. Jaylin Williams (Arkansas, PF, Sophomore)

    39. Max Christie (Michigan State, SG/SF, Freshman)

    38. Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee, SF/PF, Freshman)

    37. Bryce McGowens (Nebraska, SG, Freshman)

    36. Ismael Kamagate (Paris Basketball, C, 2001)

    35. Jean Montero (Overtime Elite, PG, 2003)

    34. Trevor Keels (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)

    33. Nikola Jovic (Mega, SF, 2003)

    32. Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga, PG, Senior)

    31. Walker Kessler (Auburn, C, Sophomore)

    Buy Low?

    Early in the season, Baldwin and Montero were in the top 10 and Christie was in the top 20. Now they're in our 30s and all likely second-round picks. Baldwin must be an elite shooter to offset the creation and finishing limitations he'll have because of a lack of burst. Christie, known for shot-making over creation and athleticism, didn't make shots regularly. And Montero's inefficiency and defensive outlook for a ball-dominant guard turned scouts off.

    On the flip side, Baldwin is roughly 6'10" in shoes and still has high-level shot-making skills. The eye test on Christie's jumper suggests it should eventually start falling as his reps and confidence increase. And Montero showcased the quickness off the dribble and passing instincts for his playmaking to translate.

    Likable Williams

    Advanced passes, face-up flashes and a knack for taking charges make Williams highly likable, even if he doesn't project as an exciting scorer or rim protector. It was easy to picture him returning to a loaded Arkansas team and flying up the 2023 board, mostly due to him being a high-impact role player on a winning squad. It may make sense to reach a year early, and it wouldn't be shocking if a playoff team views Williams as an energizer and a value in the late-first round.

    Risk, Reward with Walker

    Walker just had the best shot-blocking season of any prospect on record. Will it translate? He runs the floor well but isn't much of a vertical athlete. Offensively, he's limited to catching and finishing, although his attempt to add a three-point shot remains admirable, even if he only went 10-of-50. Best case, he's a Brook Lopez type who can eventually stretch the floor and protect the rim. Worst case, he's a backup center, and there are guard and wing prospects in the 20s whose potential trajectories will feel more enticing to bet on.

Nos. 30-21

3 of 5

    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 02: Wendell Moore Jr. #0 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts in the second half of the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal at Caesars Superdome on April 02, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    30. Jaden Hardy (G League Ignite, SG, 2003)

    29. Kendall Brown (Baylor, SF, Freshman)

    28. Josh Minott (Memphis, SF/PF, Freshman)

    27. MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite, SF, 2000)

    26. Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee, PG, Freshman)

    25. Ochai Agbaji (Kansas, SG/SF, Senior)

    24. Christian Braun (Kansas, SG/SF, Junior)

    23. Blake Wesley (Notre Dame, SG, Freshman)

    22. Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke, SG/SF, Junior)

    21. EJ Liddell (Ohio State, PF, Junior)

    Hardy, from Overhyped to Value Pick

    Most of the talk around Hardy this year has been negative, thanks to the high preseason expectations. He still averaged 19.5 points a game in the G League, an impressive feat for a teenager. He did have more freedom than most college guards, however, and athletically, he doesn't have many exciting traits. But Hardy now looks more like a potential value pick in the 20s or 30s, assuming his shooting is better than the percentages say, and he continues to build on his creation.

    Moore Still Slept on

    A perceived lack of upside has kept the buzz around Moore in check. He deserves to be on steal watch if a playoff team grabs him and offers minutes. He improved in the right areas, finishing his junior year averaging 4.4 assists and shooting 41.3 percent from three. Between the improved playmaking and shooting, plus Moore being one of the draft's better cutters, he looks like he offers enough on and off the ball to fill a role.

    Invest Early on Minott

    Minott would have been near our 2023 lottery projections had he returned to college. It's worth investing early in his explosiveness and passing and waiting/betting on some shooting improvement. For a 6'8" forward, he posted strong defensive playmaking rates with a 3.1 steal percentage and a 5.4 block percentage. Those are promising indicators of functional athleticism, while his motor and age (19) are pluses. The fact that he showed up to the combine with tweaked jump-shot mechanics reflects some acknowledgment of a need to improve.

Nos. 20-11

4 of 5

    College Basketball: NCAA Playoffs:  Baylor Jeremy Sochan (1) in action vs North Carolina at Dickies Arena. 
Fort Worth, TX 3/19/2022
CREDIT: Greg Nelson (Photo by Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) 
(Set Number: X163985 TK1)
    Set Number: X163985 TK1

    20. Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest, PF, Junior)

    19. Ousmane Dieng (New Zealand Breakers, SG/SF, 2003)

    18. TyTy Washington Jr. (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)

    17. Dalen Terry (Arizona, G/F, Sophomore)

    16. Mark Williams (Duke, C, Sophomore)

    15. Jalen Williams (Santa Clara, PG/SG, Junior)

    14. Johnny Davis (Wisconsin, SG, Sophomore)

    13. AJ Griffin (Duke, SF, Freshman)

    12. Tari Eason (LSU, PF, Sophomore)

    11. Jeremy Sochan (Baylor, PF, Freshman)

    Will the Idea of Sochan Work out?

    Everyone loves the idea of a 6'9" big who can legitimately guard and switch onto any position. But is Sochan's defense valuable enough to justify starter minutes if he's not creating or shooting? He did show signs of a three-ball and being able to finish off drives and cuts, but realistically, he's never likely to score a lot. He should look more appealing to a playoff team that will value his defense and can let him play off quality creators who'll feed him high-percentage catch-and-shoot/finish passes.

    Washington's January Injury Clouds Evaluation

    We had Washington in the top 10 for the first half of the season, but he looked like a different, less effective player after suffering an ankle injury in January. How much did it affect him? He does lack burst to begin with, which is worrisome for a lead ball-handler. But Washington has a terrific touch to compensate, and our eye test buys his perimeter shot-making as an eventual plus. Still, he's top 20 for his playmaking IQ and potential to incorporate enough facilitating and opportunistic scoring from either backcourt position.

    Williams Worthy of a Rise

    That Williams had his way with the opposing team during NBA Combine scrimmages was assuring. He hadn't faced the stiffest competition throughout the season while playing in the WCC. Physically and statistically, his scouting report is practically hole-less. He shot 55.1 percent inside the arc, including 25-of-50 on runners and 39.6 percent from three, while totaling 137 assists to 69 turnovers. And a 7'2" wingspan for a guard or wing is obviously a bonus. A lack of burst does create questions about how easily he'll be able to blow by defenders, but his tools and skill versatility seem tailor-made for an NBA connector role.

Nos. 10-1

5 of 5

    Duke forward Paolo Banchero (5) shoots a three point basket against Arkansas forward Trey Wade (3) during the first half of a college basketball game 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

    10. Malaki Branham (Ohio State, SG, Freshman)

    9. Jalen Duren (Memphis, C, Freshman)

    8. Keegan Murray (Iowa, PF, Sophomore)

    7. Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

    6. Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona, SG/SF, Sophomore)

    5. Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2003)

    4. Jaden Ivey (Purdue, PG/SG, Sophomore)

    3. Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn, PF, Freshman)

    2. Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga, PF/C, Freshman)

    1. Paolo Banchero (Duke, PF, Freshman)

    Explaining Banchero over Holmgren, Smith

    Shot-creation, off-the-dribble playmaking and physicality give Banchero an edge over Smith on our board. And while Holmgren has a case as the class' highest-upside prospect, the risk of drafting a 195-pound big and limited creator feels too great at No. 1.

    Over Duke's last 11 games, Banchero shot 45.0 percent from three and averaged 4.2 assists. His shot-making, point-forward skills and ability to take over late in games became too assuring.

    Regardless, a lack of strength shouldn't stop Holmgren from handling in transition, stretching the floor, finishing and shot-blocking. And there is no real risk at all with Smith, arguably the best shooting freshman big man the draft has ever seen.

    Daniels' High Floor

    Daniels might not have obvious All-Star potential, but we're valuing his floor and the chances he can play a Marcus Smart-like role, only as a bigger guard/forward who can facilitate at the point, shot-make from the wings and guard four positions. He turned 19 years old in March, oozes maturity, continues to grow physically and possesses easy-fit versatility.

    Love, Hate with Duren

    No ball-handling or shooting range makes it tough to fall in love with Duren. But as we're seeing in the playoffs, centers like Robert Williams III can still make a serious impact. And Duren, who's still 18 years old, possesses a spectacular physical profile for such a big leaper. Even if he never develops a shot or go-to post game, his finishing and defense could be enough to raise a team's ceiling. There is also a decent chance he develops into a plus-passer, particularly as a short roller.