Ranking the Top 15 Wings in the 2022 NBA Draft

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterApril 28, 2022

Ranking the Top 15 Wings in the 2022 NBA Draft

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    There is never a shortage of NBA interest in wings. The 2022 draft will have plenty, including a balanced mix of freshmen and breakout upperclassmen. 

    We ranked the top 15 NBA prospects who'll be mostly viewed as interchangeable shooting guards and small forwards. 

    This is Part 2 of a three-part series that will follow with our top-15 bigs on Saturday. Here are our top-15 guards.

Nos. 11-15

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    15. Keon Ellis (Alabama, SF, Senior)

    Signature strengths: Shooting, defensive toughness 

    Archetype/projected role: Three-and-D

    Ellis deserves second-round looks after totaling 67 threes and 64 steals. He graded in the 90th percentile as a spot-up player, and his role won't change jumping from Alabama to the NBA. On the other hand, he's a 22-year-old non-creator, so he won't have much margin for error. Still, for a 6'6" wing and tough defender, his three-point volume and 88.1 free-throw percentage should be enough for teams to picture a three-and-D role player.

           

    14. Harrison Ingram (Stanford, SG/SF, Freshman)

    Signature strengths: Physical tools, versatility

    Archetype/projected role: Connector

    Ingram's specific versatility may convince teams that he's worth staying patient with. Sporting a power forward's frame (6'8", 230 lbs), the freshman averaged 1.1 threes and 3.0 assists per game, demonstrating an appealing mix of shot-making and passing skills. He's still more of a second-round project, however, given the questions about his shooting legitimacy (31.3 percent 3PT, 66.3 percent FT) and athleticism limitations that led to a 43.2 two-point percentage. 

           

    13. Max Christie (Michigan State, SF, Freshman)

    Signature strengths: Physical tools, shot-making

    Archetype/projected role: Shot-maker

    The numbers don't paint Christie as a one-and-done NBA player. The eye test was more compelling, as he sports clean shooting mechanics and fundamentals for a 6'7" wing. Despite his 31.7 three-point percentage, he clearly has touch based on his 82.4 free-throw percentage and 8-of-14 made floaters. Christie also made 25 shots off screens, and assuming he's a better shooter than the 35-game sample size suggests, he could have a useful/translatable off-ball scoring skill set.  

          

    12. Leonard Miller (Fort Erie International Academy, SF, 2003)

    Signature strengths: Physical tools, scoring versatility

    Archetype/projected role: Scorer

    Miller made a real impression earlier in the month at the Nike Hoop Summit. Throughout the week from practices to the main game, he was consistently productive, using his athleticism and motor for easy baskets and perimeter skill to attack. At 6'9", Miller looked comfortable handling in the open floor, driving past closeouts and using touch around the key. He's likely to have trouble guarding smaller, quicker wings, and a low release on his shot comes with question marks. But for an 18-year-old with his size and potential scoring versatility, Miller is starting to look like an enticing gamble, assuming he's on the board in the late 20s or 30s.

          

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

    Signature strengths: Physical tools, versatility

    Archetype/projected role: Swiss Army knife

    Keels quickly earned a spot on NBA lists this season, looking like a fit for his shooting potential, ball-screen play and defensive tools. Scouts backed off a bit as his shooting cooled, and there are still valid questions to ask about his 31.2 three-point mark and 67.0 free-throw percentage for a limited creator. However, he still made 54 threes as a freshman, and he graded as one of the nation's most efficient pick-and-roll ball-handlers (88th percentile) thanks to his physical driving and passing skills.

Nos. 10-6

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

    Signature strengths: Positional size, shot-making

    Archetype/projected role: Scorer/playmaker

    Dieng turned a corner in February to help make the flashes of potential (since 2018) more believable. He's still a project at 6'9", 185 pounds. Teams shouldn't expect a rookie contributor or impact option for a few seasons. Long term, however, the 18-year-old's ball-handling and shot-making (26 threes, 23 games) remain intriguing for a wing with a significant height advantage. He's averaging 13.3 points over his last 12 games in a competitive NBL.

          

    9. Christian Braun (Kansas, SF, Junior)

    Signature strengths: Transition offense, pick-and-roll play, competitiveness

    Archetype/projected role: Two-way spark

    Braun was a constant in Kansas' lineup who consistently gave the team transition scoring, ball-screen offense, shot-making and a competitive edge. He was notably more effective finishing in the open floor than in traffic. And there are still questions about his shooting (1.5 3PTM per 40). But Braun's versatility checks enough boxes for a first-round pick, between his 6'6" frame and athleticism, pick-and-roll passing (97th percentile), improved accuracy from deep (38.6 percent) and defensive switchability/activity. 

          

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

    Signature strengths: Offensive versatility

    Archetype/projected role: Swiss Army knife

    Winner of the Julius Erving Award for the nation's best small forward, Moore made significant strides as a shooter and playmaker. Once a limited ball-handler without range, he just averaged 4.4 assists and shot 41.3 percent from deep. His new projected fit seems more appealing than his ceiling, which still doesn't appear high. Moore isn't an advanced self-creator, and he's still a lower-volume shooter (3.2 3PTA) who's vulnerable to taking a backseat.

         

    7. Nikola Jovic (Mega, SF, 2003)

    Signature strengths: Positional size, shot-making, secondary playmaking

    Archetype/projected role: Scorer/playmaker

    Jovic entered the season on the first-round radar after averaging 18.1 points at the U19 World Cup. He's done enough in the Adriatic League to validate the incoming hype, mostly by shot-making and playmaking. Jovic has averaged 1.7 threes and 3.4 assists, unique numbers for a 6'10", 18-year-old wing. The main questions center around how well he'll be able to create against NBA defenses, and if he'll have too much trouble defensively to be used in a full-time role. Jovic's practically non-existent defensive playmaking (14 steals, 10 blocks) highlights a lack of quick-twitch movement and physicality. 

          

    6. MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite, SF, 2001)

    Signature strengths: Off-ball scoring, defense

    Archetype/projected role: Two-way scorer

    Beauchamp likely earned a first-round contract in the G League after starting the season relatively unknown among scouts. He averaged 15.1 points on 51.2 percent shooting, mostly by scoring within the offense instead of frequently handling the ball. Being limited as a creator and shooter (27.3 percent 3PT) does raise some concerns. But at 6'7", Beauchamp has translatable off-ball scoring tools and instincts, as he often put himself in position for easy baskets off transition, cuts, drives and offensive rebounds. With promising defensive tools and good effort/energy, becoming an average open shooter could be enough for Beauchamp to justify regular NBA minutes.  

5. Kendall Brown (Baylor, SF, Freshman)

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    John E. Moore III/Getty Images

    Signatures: Explosiveness

    Archetype/projected role: Athletic weapon

    Positional 6'8" height and elite explosiveness set Kendall Brown apart from other wings. Fast and incredibly quick off the ground, he totaled 43 dunks in just 6.6 shots per game.

    Baylor was equipped with veteran guards and potential lottery forward Jeremy Sochan, and Brown played off them getting out in transition, cutting (38-of-48) and driving past closeouts. Of his 132 made field goals, 111 either came in transition or at the rim in the half court. 

    His weaknesses are obvious, with the 18-year-old barely a threat to create or make jumpers unless he's left open. He made a respectable 14-of-41 threes (34.1 percent) and 68.9 percent of his free throws, though bad misses, low volume, unorthodox mechanics and no pull-up game (5-of-20) make it tough to be confident. 

    Defensively, he was mistake-prone and vulnerable against more physical bigs. On the other hand, his speed, effort and athleticism led to turnovers and easy points the other way. 

    Whoever drafts him will have to accept passing on more NBA-ready players. A lot will be riding on Brown's shooting and defensive development. But he is just 18 years old with some incredible physical abilities and a potential valuable archetype if he can improve correctable issues like shooting and defensive awareness. 

4. Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee, SF, Freshman)

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    Alan Youngblood/Associated Press

    Signature strengths: Positional tools, shot-making

    Archetype/projected role: Shot-maker

    Buying Patrick Baldwin Jr.'s NBA potential means ignoring most of his freshman season at Milwaukee. 

    There is enough high school, AAU and FIBA tape to know he's a better shooter than his 26.6 three-point percentage suggests. Baldwin only lasted 11 games because of injuries, and he often had to create something out of nothing for a team that didn't have one player average more than 2.7 assists.

    He did come up short too often inside the arc, a result of poor spacing but also limited explosiveness that has scouts questioning his ability to put pressure on the rim or create separation at the next level. Even without the burst, there is still plenty of value tied to a 6'9" shot-making wing who also showed promising defensive movement and awareness. 

    There are certainly reasons to jump off Baldwin's bandwagon after watching him struggle against mediocre competition. But there are also reasons to think he'll look better on a more open NBA floor surrounded by creators and passers.

    During workouts, he should be able to help himself with his effortless shooting stroke that will make it easy for teams to look past the percentages from a small sample size. Last season, we saw the Memphis Grizzlies take Ziaire Williams No. 10 despite his 47.3 true shooting percentage.

    Assuming his jump shot becomes a more consistent threat, Baldwin figures to have a role and floor as a shot-making specialist, though there is more self-creation to build on based on the flashes of step-backs, ball-screen offense and post-ups.

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

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Signatures: Bounce, shooting, defense

    Archetype/projected role: Three-and-D

    A national champion and improved shooter each year at Kansas, Ochai Agbaji has reached a level where scouts now see an NBA three-and-D wing.

    He finished at 40.9 percent from deep and joined Mikal Bridges as the only NCAA players on record with 100 threes and 35 dunks in a season. 

    While shooting will have to be Agbaji's offensive moneymaker, he still excels at finding ways to score by tapping into athleticism for cutting, offensive rebounding and slashing. 

    Creating offense remains a challenge (1-of-8 isolation), and a career 9.4 assist percentage tells teams not to bank on Agbaji for ball-screen offense or playmaking. He also remains limited as a scorer off the dribble, having shot just 26.7 percent on pull-ups and an ugly 4-of-23 on runners.

    However, he has a translatable, simple package of skills for a defined role. The 22-year-old senior figures to jump right into an NBA rotation by playing to his strengths as a catch-and-shoot weapon, finisher (71.3 percent) and defender. 

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

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    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    Signatures: Explosiveness, shot-making

    Archetype/projected role: Shot-maker, off-ball scorer

    Bennedict Mathurin made a leap this year with an extra bump in usage to average 17.7 points and lead Arizona to a No. 1 NCAA tournament seed. 

    He did most of his damage in transition with explosive athleticism that creates easy finishes. Mathurin also shot 60.5 percent at the rim in the half court, mostly by cutting and crashing the offensive glass. 

    He still struggles to use his handle to get all the way to the hoop, as he totaled just seven successful drives to the basket on 134 pick-and-roll ball-handling possessions. He also shot 3-of-14 out of isolation for the season.

    Operating off the dribble, Mathurin showed improvement as a pull-up shooter and ball-screen playmaker. He hit 34 dribble jumpers and delivered 32 assists as a pick-and-roll passer. 

    Shot-making is still his signature scoring skill, even if the 36.9 percent three-point mark feels relatively average for a sophomore. Mathurin buried 83 threes with a confident stroke and rhythm. 

    His defensive results were mixed at Arizona, where too often his questionable awareness and intensity overshadowed his outstanding tools.

    Overall, he's still in position to receive rookie minutes in a simplified catch-and-finish role as a fast-break weapon, shooter and slasher. How much he can sharpen his pull-up (33.0 percent), floater (28.9 percent) and playmaking ability (2.5 assists per game) will dictate his offensive trajectory as a spot-up player or featured scorer. 

1. AJ Griffin (Duke, SF/PF, Freshman)

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    Brett Wilhelm/Getty Images

    Signatures: Physical tools, shooting versatility

    Archetype/projected role: Shot-maker, off-ball scorer

    With an outstanding physical profile (6'6", 222 lbs, 7'0" wingspan) for an 18-year-old wing, AJ Griffin also just put together one of the most impressive freshman shooting seasons in recent memory. With a wide base and easy stroke, he finished at 44.7 percent on 4.1 three-point attempts per game. Although, it was the shot-making versatility that felt more promising from a scouting perspective.

    Griffin shot 45.7 percent off the catch, including 62.5 percent off screens. He shot 45.3 percent on shots off the dribble and 8-of-18 on floaters. And he backed up the outside shooting accuracy with a 79.2 percent mark from the foul line. 

    With totals of 169 jump-shot attempts to 57 at-rim attempts and 53 free-throw attempts, Griffin was heavily perimeter-oriented at Duke (48.1 percent of possession spotting up). He lacks some explosiveness in making moves. However, he was a sharp off-ball scorer, even converting 14-of-16 cuts to the basket. And when given the chance to create, he was efficient finishing downhill as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and shooting off the dribble out of isolation.

    Defensively, Griffin didn't make many plays on the ball (20 steals, 22 blocks), and that may be tied to his lack of quick-twitch athleticism. But there is still a lot to like about his strength and length for guarding both forward spots. 

    Positional size, elite shooting and efficient production on just an 18.8 percentage usage create a high floor and easy fit. He's also one of the draft's youngest players. Flashes of isolation offense should allow teams to see a more multidimensional scorer for Griffin to grow into.

          

    Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports, Sports Reference.

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