2022 NBA Mock Draft: First round predictions and pick projections
Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero are two of the top names in a pool of players hoping to be selected in the NBA Draft which begins today, Thursday June 23rd.
The NBA season may have only just wrapped up last Thursday night when the Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in NBA Finals, but the league will stay in the spot light with this years much anticipated Draft.
Orlando has the first pick in the Draft after winning the lottery for the first time since 2004. Oklahoma City has three picks, one of them being the second overall selection while the reigning champion Golden State Warriors with have the 28th pick in the NBA Draft.
The spot light is on the youngsters as four of the five top prospects are freshman making the jump to the league. Who will the Magic take with the first pick? Will it be Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero or will they go in another direction? This is how we at AS English think the first round will go.
1. Orlando Magic
Chet Holmgren - The Gonzaga big man who tore up the NCAA has the brightest upside in the draft. At 7′1″ he can shoot the three, take defenders off the dribble and bang down low on the boards. When his body fills out, watch out.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Jabari Smith Jr. - The Thunder went with a flashy perimeter player that they can build around last year. Josh Giddey will need some help especially down low and that’s where Jabari Smith Jr. comes in. He’s a big body that can shoot the lights out and bang on the boards.
3. Houston Rockets
Jaden Ivy - While Banchero might be the better player, I don’t see him fitting in down in Houston, so this is where the Rockets could go with Purdue’s Jaden Ivey. The Rockets haven’t had a game changing guard since James Harden left for Brooklyn. Ivy could be the one to change that.
4. Sacramento Kings
Paolo Banchero - Many people regard the Dukie as the best player in the draft and if he falls all the way to number four the Kings will have no choice but to take him. Offensively he will give the Sacramento production immediately, but is unreliable on the defensive end, which is why he may drop to the four spot.
5. Detroit Pistons
Keegan Murray - Detroit are building a base of young talent that could make some noise in the next few years. With Cade Cunningham showing signs of promise in his rookie campaign I think the Pistons beef up their front court with Murray who continue to grow exponentially as each year passes.
6. Indiana Pacers
Benedict Mathurin - The Pacers need a whole lot, and while I don’t think the former Arizona Wildcat has that sort of turn-a-team-around talent, he is a versatile guard with a long reach that can play any position in the back court.
7. Portland Trail Blazers -
Johnny Davis - The former Wisconsin Badger was a primetime scorer in the Big 10 getting almost 20 points a game, and could develop into a second or third option for the Blazers who desperately need to strengthen their squad if they want to keep Damian Lillard.
8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Los Angeles Lakers)
AJ Griffin - The Blue Devil forward was a 45% shooter from three point range for a forward, not bad at all. He was overshadowed by Banchero who could go first overall, but he is a fantastic long range trigger man.
9. San Antonio Spurs
Dyson Daniels - We know how coach Popovich loves his foreign players, and with the ninth pick he might take a chance on Daniels. He went to the G-League Ignite, but struggled averaging 11 points and shooting just 26% from the field.
10. Washington Wizards
Shaedon Sharpe - Even though he never dressed for Kentucky last year, Sharpe’s resumè in high school is enough to convince teams that he will be a hit.
11. New York Knicks
Jalen Duren - The Knicks would love to see Duren fall to the 11 spot. While he shot 60% from the field, and posted 12 points and 8 rebounds a night for the Memphis Tigers.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from LA Clippers)
Mark Williams - Williams upped his stock in the NCAA Tournament when the Dukies went all the way to the the title game, and he became a big part the Blue Devils success. He averaged 13.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks during March Madness.
13. Charlotte Hornets
Nikola Jovic - There is tremendous upside coming into this draft. While many are unfamiliar with the 6′10″ Serbian. Nikola Jokic has opened the eyes of NBA front offices, and while Jovic has a long way to go to reach that level he could be a fantastic fit in Charlotte. He has the vision, and the passing ability and as you can see here he can shoot the lights out.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers
Marjon Beauchamp - Instead of hitting the university ranks, he went to play with the big boys in the G-League Ignite. He put up impressive numbers averaging 15.1 points and 7.3 rebounds and averaged almost 60%.
15. Charlotte Hornets (from New Orleans)
Ochai Agbaji - The Jayhawk was the go to man for the Bill Self in the tournament, doing a bit of everything for Kansas. He showed he’s not afraid of the big moments in the Final Four, winning the Most Outstanding Player in the Tournament. He is a deadly shooter and the kind of guy who lays it all on the line on defense.
16. Atlanta Hawks
Isreal Kamagate - The Hawks may need a little more than just a big man to back up Clint Capela in order to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Frenchman can get up and down the floor, and is a brick wall around the rim. He’ll need to polish his shot off to fine tune his offensive game, but he can be a starting center in the league in a few years.
17. Houston Rockets (from Brooklyn Nets)
Malaki Branham - The former Buckeye shot 50% from the field as a guard, and gets to the basket for high percentage shots. The Rockets need to improve immediately, and Malaki could be that guy in his rookie year.
18. Chicago Bulls
Ousmane Dieng - Will lightening strike twice in the Windy City? They have already had a Deng in Chicago and it worked out pretty well for the Bulls. He played in New Zealand and the slasher can handle the ball, but he still needs to work on his jumper.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves
Kendall Brown - Kendall Brown might be the most athletic prospect in the draft. Minnesota need a bit of a bump up on the defensive end. They went up against the Grizzlies in the playoffs and struggled to stop Ja Morant and Memphis.
20. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto)
Jeremy Sochan - The former Bear was a crucial part of the campaign that had Baylor end the regular season with the best record in the nation. He’s a physical banger down low, but has limited potential on the offensive end.
21. Denver Nuggets
Tyty Washington - With Jamal Murray having missed most of the last two seasons, need someone to bring consistency at the position. He’s a combo guard, can shoot the three which will be useful when the defense converges on Nikola Jokic down low.
22. Memphis Grizzlies (from Utah Jazz)
E.J. Liddell- Liddell came on in the last half of season scoring almost 20 points and 9 rebounds for Ohio State. He could be a perfect fit for a Memphis who need a few more options on the offensive end.
23. Philadelphia 76ers
Kennedy Chandler - Combo guard can shoot the three. Sixers need some one on perimeter to punish defenses that double Embiid, and a kick out option for Harden.
24. Milwaukee Bucks
Kendall Brown - Brown’s near 7 foot wing span has helped him become an elite defender out of college. He is crazy athletics and can get the Fiserv Forum out of their seats with his areal spectacles.
25. San Antonio Spurs (from Boston)
Christian Koloko - Of all the centers coming out in this years draft class the former Arizona Wildcat has the most NBA ready body. He’s 7-1 and is still filling out his 230 lb. frame.
26. Dallas Mavs
Tari Eason - He is an NBA ready forward coming out of LSU and would fit in well with the Mavs. He shot 52% from the field and averaged 17 points and 6.6 rebounds. With Jalen Brunson potentially on his way out, he could be a fill in.
27. Miami Heat
Trevor Keels - With Kyle Lowry’s age starting to show, the Heat could be in the market to groom Keels into becoming their next starting point guard. He is a big, powerful perimeter player who can eat up other guards.
28. Golden State Warriors
Walker Kessler - The Warriors one weakness was physicality and rebounding. They could use a guy like Kessler who was a banger down low for Auburn averaging 11.4 points and 8.1 rebounds.
29. Memphis Grizzlies
Bryce McGowens - The Grizzlies don’t need much to reach the summit of the Western Conference. McGowen would be a perfect compliment to Ja Morant and the Grizzlies with his ability to shoot the ball and defend.
30. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix)
Patrick Baldwin Jr. - With their third pick of the first round the Thunder might take a chance on the former Wisconsin-Milwaukee man. His numbers were underwhelming after choosing to stay home and play for his dad despite being a top prospect.