2022 NBA Mock Draft: Full 2-Round Predictions Ahead of Final FourMarch 29, 2022
2022 NBA Mock Draft: Full 2-Round Predictions Ahead of Final Four
There will be plenty of prospects for NBA teams to scout at the Final Four.
Executives' eyes will be on Duke and Kansas, who have a combined six players in our first-round projections.
This mock draft order was based on the standings heading into Monday, and players with write-ups deserved mentions for their recent play or haven't been talked about enough lately in the draft discussion.
1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith (Auburn, PF, Freshman)
2. Detroit Pistons: Paolo Banchero (Duke, PF, Freshman)
3. Houston Rockets: Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga, PF/C, Freshman)
4. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jaden Ivey (Purdue, PG/SG, Sophomore)
5. Indiana Pacers: Keegan Murray (Iowa, PF, Sophomore)
The 2022 draft will start with Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren ranked No. 1 on different boards across the league. It's a rare situation wherein three players may have an equal chance to be picked first (depending on the lottery results), and not because the class is missing an obvious star like in 2013.
It sounds like confidence in Holmgren has wavered a bit, at least for a No. 1 pick. Chalk it up to lingering fear about his frame (7'0", 195 lbs) but also a complementary skill set that leaves him more reliant on teammates and vulnerable to quiet offensive stretches. Smith and Banchero are better suited for lead-scoring roles.
Banchero has Duke in the Final Four after averaging 18.5 points through four NCAA tournament games. He's taken over key stretches with confident shot-making and self-creation while also getting teammates involved throughout games. It's worth questioning his iso-heavy game, ball-stopping tendencies, defensive motor and why he's fourth on the Blue Devils in box plus-minus.
We're still guessing Smith has an edge at No. 1 despite his 3-of-16 dud in a loss to Miami. It shouldn't affect his stock and projection after the season he had. It brought back memories of Franz Wagner's 1-of-10 showing during Michigan's departure from last year's NCAA tournament. The Orlando Magic are presumably thrilled they didn't overthink that single performance.
Still 18 years old, Smith just became the only freshman 6'10" or taller to make 70 three-pointers and 100 free throws. NBA teams view his elite shooting skill and defensive versatility as a translatable, valued combination. Throw in his age and room for growth, recent rebounding and passing and reputable character, and Smith may have the most going for him.
6. Sacramento Kings: AJ Griffin (Duke, SF, Freshman)
Griffin's 18 points on nine shots helped lift Duke over Arkansas and into the Final Four. He continues to build a near flawless shooting profile, making 45.8 percent of his threes, 46.0 percent of his pull-ups and 62.5 percent (24 attempts) of his shots off screens. And despite lacking explosion, he still manages to generate and finish opportunities at the rim by dancing off the dribble and moving without the ball. He's seemingly solidifying himself as a top-10 pick with a ceiling at No. 4.
7. Portland Trail Blazers: Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
Coach John Calipari said Sharpe should explore the draft process, so it's safe to assume he won't return to Kentucky. NBA lottery teams will be motivated to convince him to stay in the draft, whether it's to grab him or push someone else down the board. Sharpe's bounce, shot-making and takeover scoring stretches led to his rise to No. 1 by recruiting services. He's poised to impress during workouts and be selected in the top 10, even without having played a single game at Kentucky.
8. San Antonio Spurs: Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona, SG/SF, Sophomore)
Mathurin struggled to make shots against Houston, but his 30 points against TCU and 27 against UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament final were persuasive. Scouts see a safe bet based on his physical profile (6'6", 210 lbs), explosiveness and smooth jumper. Still, the flashes of pull-up shooting and ball-screen playmaking hint at another level of creation and upside to unlock.
9. New Orleans Pelicans (via Lakers): Johnny Davis (Wisconsin, SG, Sophomore)
10. Portland Trail Blazers (via Pelicans): Jalen Duren (Memphis, C, Freshman)
11. Washington Wizards: TyTy Washington Jr. (Kentucky, PG/SG, Freshman)
12. New York Knicks: Mark Williams (Duke, C, Sophomore)
Averaging 14.5 points and 4.0 blocks through four NCAA tournament games, Williams has been a difference-maker around the rim with his easy-basket tools and defense. But he's also flashed coordination, footwork and touch for scoring unassisted. He's starting to change the narrative that he's just a dunker on offense. The late lottery looks like a realistic range, and the New York Knicks are seemingly a possibility given Mitchell Robinson's unrestricted free agency, durability issues and unpredictability.
13. Atlanta Hawks: Ochai Agbaji (Kansas, SG, Senior)
14. Houston Rockets (via Nets): Jeremy Sochan (Baylor, PF/C, Freshman)
15. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Clippers): Tari Eason (LSU, PF, Sophomore)
16. Charlotte Hornets: Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee, PG, Freshman)
Chandler closed strong, particularly by making 56.7 percent of his threes over Tennessee's final seven games. It was potentially a key development for a 6'0", 171-pound guard whose size and pull-up game had been questioned by scouts. For a creative ball-handler, high-level finisher and pesky defender, Chandler showed enough shot-making skill and toughness to alleviate the obvious concerns. He should hear his name called in the Nos. 15-30 range.
17. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite, SF, 2000)
18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Malaki Branham (Ohio State, SG, Freshman)
19. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): E.J. Liddell (Ohio State, PF, Junior)
During a breakout junior year, Liddell made 46 threes and doubled his block rate to 8.5 percent. The improvement made it easier to picture a more modern forward for today's NBA. His game still doesn't scream upside, but a high floor should earn Liddell interest in the mid- to late first round.
20. Chicago Bulls: Blake Wesley (Notre Dame, SG, Freshman)
Teams who can afford to stay patient with their first-round pick will consider Wesley. Even when he struggled to put the ball in the basket at different points of the season, his long-term potential was evident. At 6'5", Wesley has an explosive first step, takes long strides, makes shots from three levels and gets into passing lanes. It just may take a few years before he becomes a more nuanced finisher and consistent shooter.
21. Denver Nuggets: Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2003)
The early 20s may be a worst-case outcome for Daniels, who is reportedly measuring 6'7" in socks. His workouts will be important considering he shot 25.5 percent from three in 14 G League games. Otherwise, he checks an appealing mix of boxes. Giving him a set position seems pointless. Daniels offers attacking, paint scoring and two-way playmaking. There is a sense of maturity to his approach that NBA teams will admire.
22. Memphis Grizzlies (via Jazz): Kendall Brown (Baylor, SF, Freshman)
Brown's draft case will revolve around impact and flash plays since he averaged just 9.7 points with 14-of-41 three-point shooting. He seems relatively vulnerable on draft boards as a wing who doesn't create or shoot. But he also possesses an unteachable mix of 6'8" size, special athletic ability and quick processing. And at 18 years old, he has plenty of time and room to improve skill-wise if a team is willing to wait on offensive results.
23. Dallas Mavericks: Nikola Jovic (Mega Bemax, SF, 2003)
24. Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers): Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke, SG/SF, Junior)
25. Milwaukee Bucks: Walker Kessler (Auburn, C, Sophomore)
26. Miami Heat: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee, SF/PF, Freshman)
One of the more interesting predraft storylines will feature Baldwin, who played just 11 games on a losing team and shot 34.4 percent. The eye test always looked better than his numbers. And since his early high school days, there is evidence of special shot-making. Will teams ignore the small sample size of inefficiency, like the Memphis Grizzlies did last year with Ziaire Williams? Baldwin was the Panthers' lone threat to create or generate offense. Or did he turn too many teams off with his casualness and heavy dose of missed jumpers? Baldwin could go anywhere from the late lottery to the second round.
27. San Antonio Spurs (via Celtics): Christian Braun (Kansas, SF, Junior)
During Kansas' Final Four run, Braun has flashed his finishing ability at the rim along with budding passing and shooting skills. In four games, he's totaled 14 assists and made six of 11 threes. The versatility and competitiveness he brings to the table always appear to have a positive impact in wins. He's gradually improved his stock throughout the season, and he'll have another opportunity or two this weekend to continue strengthening his first-round case.
28. Golden State Warriors: Bryce McGowens (Nebraska, SG/SF, Freshman)
29. Memphis Grizzlies: Jean Montero (Overtime Elite, PG, 2003)
30. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Suns): Jaden Hardy (G League Ignite, SG, 2002)
31. Orlando Magic: Christian Koloko (Arizona, C, Junior)
32. Toronto Raptors (via Pistons): Ousmane Dieng (New Zealand Breakers, SG/SF, 2003)
The idea of Dieng has always been more enticing than his numbers. But now he's starting to deliver results, coming off a season-high 20-point game Sunday. Operating as a 6'9" guard, Dieng has gotten more comfortable from three and using his handle to get into layups and floaters. He still seems a few years away from earning regular NBA minutes because of his frame (185 lbs), reliance on finesse and rawness.
33. Indiana Pacers (via Rockets): Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky, PF, Junior)
There are Tshiebwe skeptics, but all it takes is one team to see value in adding a specialist to bring energy, physicality and offensive rebounding. Despite Kentucky's first-round exit from the NCAA tournament, he went off for 30 points and 16 boards, marking his third 30-point double-double of the season.
34. Oklahoma City Thunder: Max Christie (Michigan State, SF, Freshman)
35. Orlando Magic (via Pacers): Trevor Keels (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)
36. Sacramento Kings: Ismael Kamagate (Paris Basketball, C, 2001)
37. Portland Trail Blazers: JD Davison (Alabama, PG, Freshman)
38. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Spurs): David Roddy (Colorado State, SF/PF, Junior)
39. San Antonio Spurs (via Lakers): Jaylin Williams (Arkansas, PF/C, Sophomore)
In consecutive games against Gonzaga and Duke, Williams combined for 34 points, 22 rebounds and six assists. He's stuck between a rim protector and perimeter forward, but he flashed enough face-up driving, mid-range touch, passing skill and defensive IQ (taking charges) for teams to ignore questions about his fit in the second round.
40. Charlotte Hornets (via Pelicans): Josh Minott (Memphis, SF/PF, Freshman)
Minott will test the waters after playing just 14.6 minutes per game for Memphis. We would have had him as one of our top-returning prospects, as the 6'8" forward made exciting athletic plays and high-level passes while registering strong steal (3.1 percent) and block rates (5.4). It will be key to his stock to show teams in workouts that he can shoot.
41. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Wizards): Orlando Robinson (Fresno State, C, Junior)
42. New York Knicks: Justin Lewis (Marquette, SF/PF, Redshirt Freshman)
43. Los Angeles Clippers: Alondes Williams (Wake Forest, PG, Senior)
44. Atlanta Hawks: Hugo Besson (New Zealand Breakers, SG, 2001)
45. Charlotte Hornets: Gabrielle Procida (Bologna, SF, 2002)
A 6'7", 19-year-old wing, Procida is up to 42.9 percent from three in Italy's top league. Aside from his positional size and shooting, he has delivered enticing flashes of step-back jumpers and open-floor athleticism.
46. Detroit Pistons (via Nets): Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana, PF/C, Junior)
From the Big Ten tournament to the NCAA tournament, Jackson-Davis scored 117 points over a five-game stretch. No shooting and limited handles are obviously a turnoff for today's NBA, but Jackson-Davis may be skilled enough in the post to make money. His athleticism, touch and use of angles are outstanding.
47. New Orleans Pelicans (via Cavaliers): Terquavion Smith (NC State, SG, Freshman)
Smith made a last charge into the draft discussion by averaging 23.8 points over North Carolina State's final five regular-season games. He shot only 39.8 percent for the season, but athleticism and shot-making confidence form a potent combination.
48. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jabari Walker (Colorado, PF, Sophomore)
Walker shot 47.6 percent from three over Colorado's final 11 games after a promising freshman year and rough start to 2021-22. His perimeter-skill translatability is key to his NBA chances, but for a power forward, he has had some eye-opening flashes of open-floor handles, pull-ups and drives.
49. Golden State Warriors (via Raptors): Julian Champagnie (St. John's, SF, Junior)
50. Sacramento Kings (via Bulls): Caleb Houstan (Michigan, SF, Freshman)
51. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Nuggets): Matteo Spagnolo (Cremona, PG, 2003)
52. New Orleans Pelicans (via Jazz): Drew Timme (Gonzaga, PF, Junior)
We didn't learn anything new about Timme this year, but games like the three he had (27.3 PPG) in the NCAA tournament will make him tempting in the late second round. Despite almost no plus athletic trait or jumper, he torched Memphis with touch, footwork, counters and instincts. One NBA team may want to find out if those will work in a second-unit scorer role.
53. Washington Wizards (via Mavericks): Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA, SF, Junior)
There were first-round hopes for Jaquez entering the season. It won't happen after a down shooting year (27.6 percent 3PT). It's possible that will make him a value pick if last season's 39.4 percent mark is more accurate and his two-point scoring versatility and defensive toughness carry over. Jaquez ranked in the 93rd percentile out of the post, the 77th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and shot 25-of-50 out of isolation.
54. Milwaukee Bucks: Forfeited
55. Miami Heat (via 76ers): Forfeited
56. Boston Celtics: Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers, SF, Senior)
Improved three-point shooting to 39.8 percent has helped Harper enter the draft discussion. There is enough belief in his IQ, maturity and impact that a spot-up jumper may be all he needs to stick.
57. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Heat): Keon Ellis (Alabama, SG/SF, Senior)
58. Golden State Warriors: Johnny Juzang (UCLA, SF, Junior)
59. Portland Trail Blazers (via Grizzlies): Julian Strawther (Gonzaga, SF, Sophomore)
60. Indiana Pacers (via Suns): Dereon Seabron (NC State, SF/PF, Redshirt Sophomore)
Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports and Sports Reference.