The Best NBA Mock Draft Guide For 2022
Now that the 2021-22 NBA season is done and dusted with the Golden State Warriors winning the championship, every hoops fan is turning their attention to the Draft.
Scheduled to take place on Thursday June 23rd at the Barclays Center, New York, the 2022 NBA Draft is where we see how the basketball landscape will shift in the future. Here is another new crop of NBA stars that everyone hopes will become the next Michael Jordan, LeBron James, or Steph Curry for their own team.
We’re going to list the likely top 10 selections and what these young players could bring to their new organizations when drafted.
Who will be drafted No. 1 and which players can bring instant success?
Here’s our 2022 NBA mock Draft.
1. Orlando Magic – Jabari Smith – Age: 19
2004 was the last time that the Magic had the first pick in the Draft, so here’s a team that’s more than eager to change its fortune.
Smith is an active shooter of the ball and arguably one of the best in the Draft. At 6”10’, Smith made 42% of his three-pointers during his last season in college, but here’s a tall player with guard-like skills. Smith is great at running off screens, making transition pull-up shots, isolation stepbacks to shake off defenders, as well as fadeaways with the shot clock running down.
He’s young, super athletic, and brings intensity on defense that many players don’t have at his age. Smith brings just the right amount of talent and competitiveness that the Orlando Magic will crave.
Some scouts have expressed concerns over Smith’s ability or indeed desire to get to the rim, as he seems more comfortable shooting from the outside. But these worries must be waved away, as Smith is just too good to ignore and should develop the aptitude to drive and finish at the hoop with time.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder – Chet Holmgren – Age: 20
OKC is a franchise that is still rebuilding, but nothing will speed up that process better than the likes of 7-footer, Chet Holmgren. The Thunder typically does a good job of developing young players and coaching them well to prepare for the NBA, so Holmgren should find a good place here alongside rising star, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Holmgren has impressed scouts with his defensive versatility, as well as a strong competitive nature and good maturity. He’s a gifted scorer that is able to find space to shoot, but also get buckets underneath the rim and pass well for others on the team. The Thunder should snap him up fast.
Critics have pointed out his thin frame and concerns about nagging injuries, but Holmgren already looks like a star on the offensive and defensive ends, and as OKC is not in a “win now” mode, they have time to develop his body and be patient about any injuries that may arise.
Brandon Ingram and Kevin Durant have both flourished as skinnier athletes, so there’s no reason why Holmgren can’t as well.
3. Houston Rockets – Paolo Banchero – Age: 19
Anyone attending Duke already has a bit of a reputation, as the college produces some of the finest basketball players in the country. Banchero has shown he can handle the ball in traffic and score when needed, but also set up teammates for assists if it’s not happening offensively.
Having a player who can create his own shot, alongside a great talent like Jalen Green on the Rockets, would be such a thrilling duo to watch. The Rockets might have to place some better defensive players around Banchero, as the guarding aspects need a bit of work, but there’s a lot to like about this 6”10’ phenomenon.
It’s hard to see Houston going any other direction if Banchero is available at the third pick, as he is talked about in hushed whispers due to his exciting and clever play on the basketball court.
4. Sacramento Kings – Jaden Ivey – Age: 20
It’s always difficult to know what Sacramento will do, but if Jaden Ivey is available at the fourth pick, then they should pounce on him. Ivey is a point guard with athletic hops similar to Donovan Mitchell, and if he’s paired with Fox in Sacramento, then that’s a fast, talented backcourt with a promising future in mind.
5. Detroit Pistons – Keegan Murray – Age: 21
Murray would be a great selection at the fifth pick for Detroit, especially if forward Jerami Grant is traded for some younger players and future draft equity (the trade chatter has been going on since last season).
Murray might not have star potential like last year’s No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham, but he would fit in well with his outstanding shooting ability, rapidness in transition offense, and a high IQ on the defensive end.
NBA executives love the hustle and aptitude to defend nearly all five positions, so he’s a lock for the top 10, but whether he’s snapped up before fifth will be the big question.
6. Indiana Pacers – Bennedict Mathurin – Age: 19
Everyone has been impressed by Mathurin from the workouts so far, including both on-court and off-court demeanor. He’s displayed his talent at coming off screens and either rising up for a shot, driving to the lane, or setting up an open teammate.
The Pacers might already have a crowded guard area with Brogdon, Haliburton, and Duarte, so whether Mathurin or one of those names is traded on Draft night remains to be seen.
Mathurin is certainly more than just a 3 & D player, even if his shooting and defense are what make him stand out. He can also run well in transition and has shown a lot of talent at creating shots out of nothing.
7. Portland Trail Blazers – Dyson Daniels – Age: 19
The Blazers went from competing for a championship to rebuilding seemingly overnight, but somehow, the team still has star Damian Lillard on the roster (and Lillard has expressed no desire to be traded just yet). Portland needs to hit this selection out of the park, but you couldn’t do much better at Daniels at seventh.
Daniels is a rare player that is happy to play off the ball and get his shots if and when they come to him. He’s proved he can score when it’s his moment, as well as having solid rebounding, passing, and cutting talents. His ability to defend bigger forwards, particularly on the wing, would make him priceless in today’s modern NBA.
Many believe that Daniels could go way higher than seventh, especially with his playmaking abilities, but we’ll just have to see on the night whether teams value his basketball gifts.
8. New Orleans Pelicans – Shaedon Sharpe – Age: 19
New Orleans is still waiting on their 2019 No. 1 pick, Zion Williamson, to finally play up to his potential after the college star has struggled with injuries for most of his professional life. Selecting Sharpe would help the Pelicans’ young core to get better and gel together, especially with Brandon Ingram in the prime of his career.
Sharpe has been rumored to be the steal of the Draft if he goes above fifth place, as his speed and explosiveness off the dribble, not to mention his unique scoring skills, make him a fantastic addition to a rising squad like New Orleans.
Sharpe’s critics say there’s not as much information as they’d like for a top 10 pick, as he hasn’t played as much as other Draft possibilities on this list. It’s still likely he could drop a few places if teams feel like he’s too risky.
9. San Antonio Spurs – Jalen Duren – Age: 18
If the Spurs plan to part with big man, Jakob Poeltl (in the final year of his contract), then a younger, talented option like Duren would be a perfect replacement. At 6”10’ and 250 pounds, Duren should have the body to contend with some of the older, more experienced centers in the NBA, who certainly won’t go easy on the guy in his first season.
Teams will love his rim-protecting and rebounding skills, and if he can deliver on the offensive end too, then the Spurs will have a real treat on their hands. Duren can fly out to shooters in a flash when defending at the hoop, and as quality big men are hard to find, it would be a huge shame for the Spurs to pass on him.
10. Washington Wizards – Johnny Davis – Age: 20
The Wizards don’t seem to know which direction they’re going in lately, contend or rebuild? Bradley Beal is still on the roster and seems faithful to the team, but if the Wizards want to go younger, then now’s the time to trade Beal and reap the rewards. Davis can score from the get-go and also brings a defensive mindset and passing ability that any coach will go mad for. Davis at 10th would be a steal of the NBA Draft.
Davis seems quite polished at 20 years old, but there’s certainly room for growth, which is why the Wizards should take a swing at him and see how they can use his skills for the future.
Author: Joe Garland