Pro Comparisons for Top Projected 2022 NBA Draft Picks

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJune 13, 2022

Pro Comparisons for Top Projected 2022 NBA Draft Picks

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    NBA front offices often discuss prospect-player comparisons to help them paint a picture of how a player will fit and what his trajectory may look like.

    In some cases, a comparison to multiple pros can be used to describe the more unique prospects.

    The following players (in alphabetical order) are good bets to go in the 2022 lottery, so we pinpointed the pro stars and role players they each mirror.

Paolo Banchero (Duke, PF, Freshman)

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    NBA comparisons: Carmelo Anthony/Blake Griffin

    Paolo Banchero seems to take a little from both Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin, while also possessing some of their weaknesses.

    Athletically, Banchero is closer to Anthony. They're skilled scorers, not explosive ones, and both love operating in the mid-range and shooting off the dribble. They have smooth rhythm rising and firing into their jumpers. And they're both strong around the paint, where they can score out of the post or through contact at the rim.

    Banchero offers more playmaking and passing, however, like Griffin, who was once used as a frontcourt facilitator. The ability to handle in pick-and-rolls and set up teammates should be a value booster and differentiator when comparing Banchero to other No. 1 overall candidates Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren.

    Banchero did struggle at times defensively, mostly with effort and focus, but like Anthony and Griffin, he'll make All-Star teams with his scoring production and ability to lead a team as a No. 1 option.

Malaki Branham (Ohio State, SG, Freshman)

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    NBA comparison: Khris Middleton

    Malaki Branham's movement, three-level scoring and on/off-ball versatility are reminiscent of Khris Middleton.

    Ohio State used Branham to create or space the floor, similar to how Middleton operates with the Milwaukee Bucks. Neither is super athletic. They're efficient, skilled scorers. Branham shot 41.6 percent from three, 43.6 percent on dribble jumpers, 46.5 percent in the mid-range and 61.4 percent at the rim.

    Most teams should view Branham as an easy fit with his spot-up shooting and flashes of creation upside.

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

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    NBA comparison: Lonzo Ball/Marcus Smart

    Dyson Daniels is closer in height to Lonzo Ball, but his game is more similar to Marcus Smart's.

    Daniels and Smart aren't pure point guards or traditional 2-guards. Neither should they be labeled a scorer or lead playmaker. They can be used at practically any position and valued for their ability to handle, pass, make shots and play tough defense.

    Similar to Ball and Smart, Daniels isn't an explosive athlete. But all three use their physical tools and IQ at both ends. These are versatility specialists who can be used on and off the ball.

    Daniels needs to improve his shooting, but based on his made threes rather than his percentages, the 19-year-old can reach Smart's threat level (career 1.5 3PTM per game).

Johnny Davis (Wisconsin, SG, Sophomore)

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    NBA comparison: Josh Hart

    Johnny Davis and Josh Hart share similar physical tools and scoring styles. Neither is wildly explosive or has the easiest time creating separation. Davis struggled from three, and Hart hasn't been an efficient three-point shooter throughout his career. But they beat defenses with strong driving and three-level shot-making.

    Davis, who only took 3.9 threes in 34.2 minutes per game last year, figures to be more comfortable in the NBA as a two-point weapon on drives, post-ups and mid-range pull-ups.

    Still, flashes of shooting confidence and passing IQ suggest Davis has room and time to improve his range and playmaking—just as Hart did this year in 13 games for the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 2.4 threes and 4.3 assists.

Jalen Duren (Memphis, C, Freshman)

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    NBA comparison: Derrick Favors

    With physical profiles that mirror each other's, Jalen Duren (6'10", 250 lbs) and Derrick Favors (6'10", 245 lbs at 2010 NBA combine) put up similar numbers during their one-and-done seasons.

    At Memphis, Duren averaged 12.0 points, 8.1 boards and 2.1 blocks with 59.7 percent shooting and 62.5 percent from the line, over a decade after Georgia Tech's Favors averaged 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks, shooting 61.1 percent overall and 62.9 percent on free throws.

    The appeal of Duren stems mostly from his physical tools and athleticism for finishing and defense around the basket. Over time, Favors added some touch and post polish, and considering Duren won't turn 19 until after the draft, it's safe to bet on offensive improvement.

AJ Griffin (Duke, SF/PF, Freshman)

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    NBA comparison: Saddiq Bey/Patrick Williams

    AJ Griffin's strong frame, shooting skills and athletic limitations resemble Saddiq Bey's. They're both valued for their spot-up scoring. Neither offers much creation yet.

    Like Bey, Griffin should make an immediate impact with his three-ball and pull-up game. Inside the arc, they use their strength on drives more than anything else.

    But Griffin doesn't turn 19 years old until August, and flashes of ball-screen play and passing suggest he could offer more versatility that's similar to Patrick Williams'. While both players have room to grow defensively, they also have standout tools for guarding wings and physical forwards.

Chet Holmgren

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    NBA comparison: Evan Mobley/Kristaps Porzingis

    Scouts are trying to determine what translates for Chet Holmgren, who possesses a unique, valuable skill set but also an unusually skinny frame.

    Offensively, he showed enough comfortable shooting to potentially match Kristaps Porzingis' career average of 1.8 threes made per game. Like Porzingis and Evan Mobley, Holmgren will also add value as a finishing target.

    The comparison to Porzingis stops there, however. Holmgren's ability to handle in the open floor and pass mirrors Mobley's. And like Mobley, he's a special defender in terms of possessing the versatility to protect the rim and slide his feet away from the basket.

    Holmgren isn't as threatening as Mobley attacking closeouts or creating his own shot in the half court. But his defense should translate the way Mobley's did, while his catch-and-shoot game and finishing will resemble Porzingis'.

Jaden Ivey (Purdue, PG/SG, Sophomore)

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    NBA comparison: Victor Oladipo/De'Aaron Fox

    While it's fair to compare Jaden Ivey's burst to Ja Morant's, his projected role and skills align more closely with Victor Oladipo's.

    If it turns out Purdue masked some of Ivey's playmaking, he's more likely to resemble and peak as De'Aaron Fox, who's similarly fast and explosive but a notch below Morant in the facilitating department.

    Like prime Oladipo did, Ivey still scores first with a mix of athletic ability and shot-making. Pre-injuries, Oladipo developed into a guard who averaged between four and five assists, and Ivey can get there based on his elusiveness off the dribble and improved passing.

    Ideally, his defensive awareness and effort improve to reach Oladipo's, and he starts to develop more floor general habits to mirror a point guard like Fox or Morant.

Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona, SG, Sophomore)

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    NBA comparison: Tim Hardaway Jr.

    Shot-making should be Bennedict Mathurin's moneymaker. At 6'6" in shoes with bounce, shooting confidence, a jumper-heavy attack and some streakiness to his scoring, he could resemble Hardaway.

    Like Tim Hardaway Jr., Mathurin is optimized as a secondary/complementary option, given their struggles to create high-percentage shots. Their games are predicated on drilling shots off spot-ups and one-dribble pull-ups and playing above the rim in transition.

    Mathurin should be best in a role where he's releasing or finishing off the catch and not over-dribbling or making too many decisions. Improving his defensive effort and concentration could also help raise his value.

Keegan Murray (Iowa, PF, Sophomore)

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    NBA comparison: T.J. Warren/De'Andre Hunter

    Like T.J. Warren, Keegan Murray is a wide-framed forward with outstanding scoring instincts. Neither needs ball screens, isolation or athletic plays to put up points. They rely on outstanding instincts, body control in transition and shot-making versatility within the flow of their offenses.

    And like De'Andre Hunter, Murray can operate from the post and shoot off screens.

    Murray isn't the sharpest creator in the half court, so he may be best playing with and feeding off more skilled scorers and playmakers as a secondary option in the NBA. With his off-ball finishing, back-to-the-basket feel, catch-and-shoot game and constant activity, he figures to produce in any role.

Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

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    NBA comparison: Zach LaVine

    Bounce and shot-making skills are Shaedon Sharpe's signatures. Like Zach LaVine, Sharpe projects as a scoring 2-guard with range, an ability to create his own jumper and springs for elevating above the rim on drives and in transition.

    Shot selection and defense have always been question marks that hold LaVine back, and Sharpe could also struggle with both areas in the league.

    On the flip side, both have a knack for catching fire and scoring in bunches, even if it's on low-percentage pull-ups or step-backs. At worst, Sharpe should give a team a spark of instant offense who can generate his own.

Jabari Smith (Auburn, PF, Freshman)

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    NBA comparison: Jaren Jackson Jr./Michael Porter Jr.

    Special shot-making skills for a 6'10" forward are behind Jabari Smith's rise to No. 1 on NBA boards. Similar in size to Michael Porter Jr. and Jaren Jackson Jr., Smith is also comfortable from behind the arc, where it's difficult for defenders to effectively challenge his jumper.

    Not many players their height can average over two threes a game, and Smith, Porter and Jackson each can.

    Like Porter and Jackson, Smith can also hit shots off different actions from various spots, and he isn't an advanced off-the-dribble threat.

    He's closer to Jackson defensively with the versatility to guard around the perimeter.

Jeremy Sochan (Baylor, PF/C, Freshman)

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    NBA comparison: Franz Wagner/Jarred Vanderbilt

    Even without creation or proven shooting skills, Jeremy Sochan could earn an immediate role with a team that values his defensive IQ and versatility. In that regard, he's similar to Jarred Vanderbilt, who became an important piece for the Minnesota Timberwolves by providing energy, stops and switchability.

    Like Vanderbilt, he's mostly limited to off-ball finishing offensively. But for a 6'9" forward, he teased some Franz Wagner potential with flashes of spot-up threes, drives past closeouts and passing.

    Regardless, NBA teams see offensive development worth betting on for a 19-year-old with translatable defense that creates a high floor.

Mark Williams (Duke, C, Sophomore)

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    NBA comparison: Clint Capela

    Mark Williams figures to have the same role and type of impact as Clint Capela.

    Williams will be similarly valued for his aggressiveness and toughness in rim protection and catch radius for easy baskets. He led the nation in dunks, shot 76.1 percent around the basket and averaged 2.8 blocks in just 23.6 minutes.

    Like Capela, the negative with Williams is that certain matchups may call for his team to go small, and neither provides any versatility. They are rim runners, finishers and rim protectors, though Williams has the edge in post play and touch.

    Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports and Sports Reference.