NBA Draft 2022: Assessing Scouting Reports on Top Stars from Experts' Mock Draft
NBA draft season is bearing down on us.
With college basketball coming to a close, and the NBA's 2021-22 campaign into its final week, a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of scouting and draft-lottery positioning is already done.
While the actual talent grab is still a few months down the road, it's close enough that mock versions of it are popping up across the digital sphere. We'll examine three expert mocks—from B/R's Jonathan Wasserman, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor and The Athletic's Sam Vecenie—to see what they're saying about the draft's top prospects and where they have them landing.
More Rewards Than Risks with Chet Holmgren
All three experts have different top threes, and each puts Holmgren in a different spot. All of the spots are inside of the top three picks, though, so it's not like anyone is worried about a draft-night slide.
O'Connor is highest on Holmgren, mocking the big man No. 1 overall and likening him to "Rudy Gobert on defense—except in addition to scoring off lobs he also shoots threes and makes plays off the dribble." To further highlight his interest O'Connor added that Holmgren "is unlike any player the NBA has ever seen."
Vecenie is up next with Holmgren sitting No. 2, noting the 7-footer "is more polarizing for teams" than Jabari Smith. Vecenie noted Holmgren's supporters praise his defense and skill set, while detractors question his thin frame and limited shot creation.
Wasserman rounds out the group with Holmgren in the No. 3 spot. Wasserman attributed Holmgren's relatively low position 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."
Jabari Smith Closest to Consensus No. 1
This draft class doesn't have a clear-cut top prospect. If it did, though, Smith would probably be the pick.
He opens the mocks of both Wasserman and Vecenie and checks in at No. 2 for O'Connor.
"I think he checks the most boxes for teams right now and has the fewest holes in his game," Vecenie wrote. "There are few better 6'10" shooters have entered the NBA over the last decade."
Wasserman said NBA teams "view his elite shooting skill and defensive versatility as a translatable, valued combination." O'Connor described Smith as a "hard worker with an unblockable jump shot and elite versatility on defense."
Paolo Banchero Rounds out the Top Trio
Banchero has the lowest average ranking of the three, but that's hardly bad news when no one mocked him lower than No. 4.
Wasserman is the highest of the three with Banchero going second overall. Wasserman credited Banchero's "confident shot-making and self-creation," although he noted it's fair to question Banchero's "iso-heavy game, ball-stopping tendencies, defensive motor and why he's fourth on the Blue Devils in box plus-minus."
Vecenie slotted Banchero third overall and dubbed him "the last man standing among the elite prospects in the 2022 class." Vecenie praised Banchero's passing and "multifaceted game as a live-dribble creator" in the half court and said Banchero has "All-Star upside if everything comes together for him as a mismatch nightmare."
O'Connor was the only expert to not have Banchero rounding out his top three, instead slotting Purdue's Jaden Ivey into the No. 3 spot. While O'Connor described Banchero as being "perfectly geared for the positionless league," he did question the prospect's defensive effort, shooting consistency and shot selection.