2022 NBA Draft Big Board: Ranking This Season's Top 50 Prospects
With the NBA underway and college basketball tipping off, scouting for the 2022 draft has begun.
It's always interesting to look back over the summer at preseason rankings to see how prospects improve, disappoint or come out of nowhere. Changes to the board will inevitably be made throughout the season.
But there aren't many questions about the elite prospects in this upcoming draft, which immediately appears loaded with bigs and wings.
50. Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke, SG/SF, Junior)
Subtle improvements as a shooter and passer last season created hope for Moore, who only turned 20 years old in July and should have a high-usage role to break out in.
49. Jordan Hall (St. Joseph's, SG/SF, Sophomore)
Despite obvious athletic and scoring limitations, Hall remains too intriguing to write off, given his 6'7" size, point-wing playmaking skills (5.7 assists per game) and potential to improve as a shooter (35.1 percent 3PT).
48. Iverson Molinar (Mississippi State, PG/SG, Junior)
One of the nation's top pull-up (44.0 percent, 116 attempts) and off-screen shooters (51.7 percent, 58 attempts), Molinar could earn a spot on draft boards for his shot-making and pick-and-roll scoring alone.
47. Will Richardson (Oregon, PG/SG, Senior)
Looking at a green light with Chris Duarte and Eugene Omoruyi gone, Richardson could get himself noticed for his 6'5" size, shooting versatility, playmaking potential and finishing craft (70.4 percent at rim).
46. Jahvon Quinerly (Alabama, PG, Junior)
Without Herbert Jones, John Petty Jr. and Joshua Primo, Quinerly will have a chance to improve his reputation as a decision-maker while continuing to showcase his outstanding shooting skills.
45. Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga, PG, Senior)
NBA teams will value Nembhard's decision-making, IQ and poise at the point guard spot, but he'll need to improve his shooting to strengthen his image as a potential backup in the NBA
44. Drew Timme (Gonzaga, C, Junior)
With a second-round pick, some scouts may be willing to overlook Timme's outdated fit in today's NBA for his special post footwork, hands, instincts and passing.
43. Keegan Murray (Iowa, PF, Sophomore)
Joe Wieskamp leaving should create more scoring opportunities for Murray, an impact forward known for his hustle, defensive tools/instincts and IQ.
42. Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA, SF, Junior)
A crafty scorer and 39.4 percent three-point shooter, the 6'7", 225-pound Jaquez looks poised for a breakout after last year's six-game NCAA tournament run.
41. Ian Martinez (Maryland, PG/SG, Sophomore)
After shooting 59.3 percent inside the arc for Utah and blocking 17 shots at 6'3", Martinez will have an opportunity with Maryland to showcase his athleticism and defensive playmaking while building on the flashes of shot-making and passing.
40. MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite, SG/SF, 2001)
Beauchamp has the physical profile and three-level scoring skill set of an NBA wing prospect. How efficient he looks with shot selection and execution will determine where he deserves to finish on boards.
39. Marcus Bagley (Arizona State, SF/PF, Sophomore)
Despite only playing 12 games as a freshman and shooting 34.7 percent from three, Bagley still has a chance to draw NBA interest in his off-ball shot-making at 6'8", ability to attack closeouts and defensive tools.
38. Julian Champagnie (St. John's, SF/PF, Junior)
Even if Champagnie struggles to improve his self-creation or passing, for a 6'8" wing, his shooting range/touch (2.4 3PTM, 88.7 percent FT) should keep him in the second-round mix.
37. Michael Foster Jr. (G League Ignite, PF, 2003)
Foster's age and lack of feel will show in the G league, but so will his advanced scoring skills for self-creation and shot-making as a 6'8" forward.
36. Johnny Juzang (UCLA, SF, Junior)
Returning after last year's Final Four run, Juzang will try to sway NBA scouts with elite shot-making and get them to look past his athletic and defensive limitations.
35. Josh Minott (Memphis, SF/PF, Freshman)
As scouts flock to Memphis for Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates, Minott has the chance to impress with his 6'8" size, athletic play at the rim and flashes of perimeter skill as a shooter and driver.
34. Walker Kessler (Auburn, C, Sophomore)
Constant activity and production in a limited role at North Carolina (20.0 points, 14.8 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, 2.4 steals per 40 minutes) suggest Kessler could blow up as Auburn's full-time center.
33. Jabari Walker (Colorado, PF, Sophomore)
For a 6'9" forward, flashes of shooting, rebounding activity and defensive versatility point to a potential NBA fit. He's on breakout watch for 2021-22.
32. Taevion Kinsey (Marshall, SG/SF, Senior)
Greater three-point shooting volume could make Kinsey (19-of-46 3PT last year) a more believable prospect, since he hasn't generated first-round buzz despite elite athletic ability, efficient scoring (19.5 points, 53.2 percent FG) and secondary playmaking (3.0 assists).
31. Roko Prkacin (Cibona, PF, 2002)
Shooting 37.2 percent from three between Croatian and Adriatic League play, Prkacin, a 6'9" face-up scorer and cutter, will look to draw more interest this draft with improved shooting.
30. Hunter Sallis (Gonzaga, PG/SG, Freshman)
Sallis going in the 2022 first round will require persuasive flashes and an NBA team willing to buy them as true indicators. He won't have a ton of usage or on-ball reps to create and put up numbers, but his 6'5" size, athleticism and combo versatility to handle and make shots will keep scouts interested despite pedestrian production.
29. Nolan Hickman (Gonzaga, PG, Freshman)
Playing on a loaded Gonzaga team with an established, veteran point guard in Andrew Nembhard, Hickman may be more of a 2023 draft prospect. But long term, NBA scouts should still see an appealing ball-handling prospect given his slick passing, shooting and finishing craft.
28. Nikola Jovic (Mega Bemax, SF, 2003)
Named to the All-Tournament team at U19 World Cup, Jovic demonstrated unique guard and wing skills for a 6'10" forward. He's off to a slower start in the Adriatic League, and his athletic limitations raise questions about what will translate to the NBA. But his scoring versatility at his size is an obvious draw.
27. Mark Williams (Duke, C, Sophomore)
Williams closed strong last season, and he should look more capable of scoring in the half court, outside of just finishing lobs and putbacks. A 7'7" wingspan around the rim will always be the main draw for Williams, but sharper post moves and mid-range touch could raise his perceived ceiling.
26. Andre Curbelo (Illinois, PG, Sophomore)
Curbelo must show shooting improvement, but he could be the draft's most exciting playmaker. After averaging per-40 minute numbers of 16.9 points, 7.7 assists and 7.4 rebounds in a more limited role, he's expected to run the offense with Ayo Dosunmu gone.
25. Matthew Mayer (Baylor, SF/PF, Junior)
Versatility should earn Mayer a spot on boards, assuming he builds on last season's flashes of three-point shooting, pull-ups, pick-and-roll play, off-ball buckets and passing IQ. With Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler gone, and 4-star freshman Langston Love out for the season, Mayer should be looking at a huge uptick in minutes and shots.
24. Ousmane Dieng (New Zealand Breakers, SG/SF, 2003)
A 6'9" wing with guard skills and shot-making ability, Dieng has been on the NBA draft radar since he was 16 years old. He struggled from the floor last year in France, so scouting eyes will focus on his execution creating and shooting in the NBL.
23. Bryce McGowens (Nebraska, SG/SF, Freshman)
A 6'7" shooter, McGowens could have the NBA wing size, shot-making skills and enough usage to emerge as a one-and-done first-rounder. Scouting eyes will focus on how well he can create or finish in traffic at 179 pounds.
22. Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2003)
Daniels stands out mostly for his 6'6" size, ball-handling for creation, paint scoring/finishing and shot-making potential. But alongside Jaden Hardy, he should have a good opportunity to showcase his combo and playmaking skills, which we saw over the summer at the U19 World Cup (4.6 assists per game).
21. Trevor Keels (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)
Keels gives off NBA role-player vibes with shooting, passing IQ and feel for the game. He'll be a productive, key contributor to a lineup that has the talent to optimize Keels' versatility and intangibles.
20. Yannick Nzosa (Unicaja, C, 2003)
Special defensive flashes call for patience with Nzosa's offensive development. Though a limited scorer, he'll remain attractive with his rim-running speed, lateral quickness and athletic rim plays at both ends of the floor.
19. JD Davison (Alabama, PG/SG, Freshman)
Explosiveness for a ball-handler separates Davison and hints at upside. He'll be out to prove there is more playmaking and shooting to his game than just athletic takes and defensive plays.
18. Kendall Brown (Baylor, SF, Freshman)
Defensive tools and instincts will earn Brown fans, as the 6'8" forward has a knack for blowing up plays, jumping passing lanes and making plays on the ball. He's not as advanced offensively, but Brown can still slash through gaps, improvise on finishes and make open, catch-and-shoot jumpers.
17. Jaden Ivey (Purdue, SG, Sophomore)
Ivey appeared one season away from drawing NBA interest last year, and his performances this summer at the U19 World Cup only helped reinforce breakout expectations. Though not an advanced perimeter scorer, versatility could earn him NBA minutes with his athletic slashing, playmaking ability, defensive energy and capable shot-making.
16. Matthew Cleveland (Florida State, SF, Freshman)
A 6'7" slasher and cutter, Cleveland should thrive as an off-ball scorer in an offense that traditionally shares and moves the ball. Enough made threes and flashes of pull-ups could lead to lottery buzz for the versatile wing.
15. Max Christie (Michigan State, SG/SF, Freshman)
Though less of a creator and more of an off-ball scorer, Christie possesses a translatable skill set for a three-and-D wing. NBA teams should see a shot-maker and slasher with 6'6" size for finishing, defending and rebounding. He fits the mold of a Devin Vassell or Moses Moody-type lottery pick.
14. Daimion Collins (Kentucky, PF, Freshman)
While Collins figures to generate buzz with his special athleticism for finishing and shot-blocking, it's his shooting that could propel him into the 2022 lottery. NBA teams should see an NBA fit and upside, as long as his lack of strength doesn't appear too problematic.
13. Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee, PG, Freshman)
Scouts are waiting to see how Chandler's 6'0", 171-pound frame executes against bigger defenders. Otherwise, he could be the draft's most complete point guard prospect in terms of skill, IQ and impact. An advanced pick-and-roll passer and pesky defender, Chandler has also demonstrated real improvement as a pull-up and spot-up shooter.
12. Caleb Houstan (Michigan, SF, Freshman)
Since his sophomore season at Montverde Academy, Houstan has looked like a future pro with 6'8" size and projectable shooting ability. Since then, he's added more ball skills and shot-making versatility, and though he's still more of a spot-up scorer, NBA teams should see an easy fit who has room to improve as a creator.
11. Peyton Watson (UCLA, SF, Freshman)
A 6'8" wing, Watson has the type of positional tools, face-up skill set and defensive versatility to be a top-10 pick. He's still raw, and playing with forwards Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Johnny Juzang will mean inconsistent usage and production for the freshman. Given his body and age (18), however, enough flashes of creation and shot-making could make his offensive development worth betting on.
10. Jean Montero (Overtime Elite, PG/SG, 2001)
It has looked easy for Jean Montero early with Overtime Elite, and that may be the case all season as he faces high school defenders.
Having watched him score overseas since age 15, we're still buying the creation, shot-making and playmaking skills he's brought to Overtime.
Montero's defensive outlook seems questionable, and we could be waiting until NBA summer league for him to be seriously tested. But his handle and shiftiness, pull-up and floater games, shooting range and passing off the dribble have looked enticing for years.
9. Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona, SG, Sophomore)
Bennedict Mathurin earned a spot on watch lists last year with shooting and explosiveness. He'll enter his sophomore season as our top-ranked returner after flashing signs of improving creation and pull-up scoring this summer at the U19 World Cup (16.1 points per game).
He looks ready for more ball screens after struggling to convert in pick-and-roll ball-handling possessions last year. And with added confidence in his floater and the ability to read defenses once inside them, we should see more of Mathurin putting the ball down and attacking closeouts.
Slotting him this high ultimately means picturing a more dangerous in-between scorer off the dribble, though even a similar three-and-D wing as last year could still draw first-round interest.
8. TyTy Washington Jr. (Kentucky, PG/SG, Freshman)
The top-ranked NCAA guard on our preseason board, TyTy Washington Jr. should stand out with three-level scoring skills and enough playmaking ability to serve as a lead ball-handler.
He'll lose ball-screen reps to transfer Sahvir Wheeler, but a combo role won't mask the freshman's versatility and advanced offensive execution. Washington has the creation ability, pull-up and floater games, deep catch-and-shoot range and passing IQ to emerge as Kentucky's most dangerous, all-around player.
Convincing scouts he projects as a scoring point guard, rather than a 6'3" 2, will be Washington's ticket into the top 10. We're buying his chances.
7. AJ Griffin (Duke, SF/PF, Freshman)
A healthy AJ Griffin will climb draft boards, with most teams unsure what to expect from an 18-year-old who missed last season because of an ankle injury and early Duke practices because of a hurt knee.
He'll likely initially serve as a secondary or spot-up option in a deep, balanced rotation. But for one of the draft's youngest prospects, the combination of 6'6'", 222-pound size, self-creation and shot-making skill should scream NBA scoring potential.
Duke also figures to use him at the 4, a good position for Griffin's face-up game and strength.
He'll have to adjust to a different type of role, and it wouldn't be surprising if his usage and production fluctuated throughout the season. But with Griffin, you'll be buying the flashes and chances of them becoming consistent plays long term.
6. Jaden Hardy (G League Ignite, SG, 2003)
An explosive scoring guard in high school, Jaden Hardy is testing his creation and shot-making skills in the G League with Ignite.
Easily creating separation would go a long way toward his believability as a star NBA scorer because there aren't many questions about his shooting versatility and accuracy. His pull-up game seems tailor-made for the NBA, while his ability to spot up from deep and connect off movement suggests he'll find a way to fit alongside another ball-handler.
He's not the most explosive, and scouts will be eager to learn about his decision-making tendencies and whether he projects as a lead point guard or more of a combo/2. But he'll have an excellent opportunity and environment to develop and gain primary initiator reps against quality competition.
5. Jalen Duren (Memphis, C, Freshman)
Memphis' loaded roster of skill players will help Jalen Duren and illuminate his powerful finishing, catch radius and tools/athleticism for scoring at the rim.
There will be more interest directed toward his defensive impact and potential, fueled by size, strength, length, leaping and mobility. NBA teams should see a physical interior defender who can also slide away from the basket and contest guards' and forwards' jumpers.
He has obvious room to improve as a ball-handler, shooter and overall one-on-one player offensively in the half court. But enough flashes of mid-range shooting, post moves and passing could push Duren into the top-three mix on the big board.
4. Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee, SF/PF, Freshman)
Rare shot-making skill separates Patrick Baldwin Jr. from other forward prospects over 6'8". Shooting and the ability to hit jumpers off screens and movement should say he's an easy NBA fit and future valuable frontcourt scoring threat.
Playing for his father at Milwaukee, there will be no shortage of plays run for Baldwin, who still projects as more of an off-ball weapon than a high-usage creator.
Whether he skies into the top-five tier will come down to his effectiveness separating without explosiveness and defending wings in space. But positional size, a convincing shooting stroke, high release and the shot-making versatility to connect off different actions suggest Baldwin's signature offensive skill will translate.
3. Jabari Smith (Auburn, PF, Freshman)
At 6'10", 220 pounds, Jabari Smith will immediately stand out with NBA tools, advanced footwork, shooting touch and shot-making versatility.
Though not the flashiest face-up scorer or ball-handler, his core scoring skills appear translatable to an NBA floor. Franchises should be able to picture an option they can feature around the elbows, where he's a threat to rise and fire, rip through toward the rim or fall away into a speciality jumper. And at 18 years old, he's already developed into a reliable three-point shooter who Auburn figures to grant a green light to.
Smith lacks the initiator potential shared by Duke's Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren. He'll likely remain grouped into the next tier of prospects all season with size, a refined skill level, shooting ability and defensive tools that suggest high ceiling and high floor.
2. Paolo Banchero (Duke, PF, Freshman)
Though the 2022 NBA draft is missing a consensus No. 1 overall favorite, the conversation includes a few obvious candidates. And Paolo Banchero feels like the safest bet at 6'10", 250 pounds with a modern, perimeter skill set.
Duke figures to use him the same way it used 2019 Zion Williamson, the last power forward to go first in the draft. While Banchero should be able to play low-post ball through contact, he's bound to flash point-forward potential and ball-handling on coast-to-coast takes, creation in ball-screen situations and drives past closeouts.
With soft hands around the basket, his touch seems to be improving away from the basket as well. Comfortably hitting threes could help Banchero separate from Chet Holmgren and the pack.
1. Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga, PF/C, Freshman)
Questions about physical strength are valid, but they won't keep Chet Holmgren from handling the ball in the open floor, shooting threes, blowing by bigs and putting a lid on the rim defensively.
He's too fluid to bet against the skill plays carrying over, while a competitive edge should also help Holmgren overcome some disadvantages against stronger opponents.
Playing with quality guards/passers and a National Player of the Year favorite in Drew Timme should set Holmgren up for easy baskets, rhythm threes and freshman efficiency. The fewer possessions a defender bumps him off track, changes his shot or moves him under the boards, the easier it will be to buy No. 1 overall upside.