B/R's Final 2022 NBA Mock Draft
The NBA draft smoke has felt thick this week. More teams than not have been mentioned in trade discussions.
There is even disagreement about how the top three will play out. "Expect the unexpected" is a thought shared by many.
And then there is the Sacramento Kings' No. 4 pick, which is being discussed in multiple trade situations. The Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards and New York Knicks have been mentioned as interested parties.
While the lottery picks mostly seem obvious, predicting their order is not.
1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith (Auburn, PF, Freshman)
2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga, PF/C, Freshman)
3. Houston Rockets: Paolo Banchero (Duke, PF, Freshman)
4. Sacramento Kings: Jaden Ivey (Purdue, G, Sophomore)
5. Detroit Pistons: Keegan Murray (Iowa, F, Sophomore)
Though the Magic are believed to be considering Holmgren and Banchero, Smith remains the favorite. The team picking first never wants to worry about risk, and Holmgren's body and slower delivery when creating have evaluators a tad bit nervous. Smith, a year younger and widely praised for his maturity and approach, feels safe to everyone, and he's perceived to offer the same level of upside as anyone in this draft with a skill set that Orlando could use.
The Rockets are believed to be feeling stress-free at No. 3, where they'll take any of the freshmen power forwards—most likely Banchero. Houston already made room for a rookie big by trading Christian Wood. Between Banchero and Jalen Green, the Rockets will have two high-level creators to run offense through and build around.
Everyone around the league is waiting to see how Sacramento handles the trade offers coming its way.
Teams looking to move up will have their sights set on No. 4 and Ivey. It's not known what the Kings think of Ivey or his fit with De'Aaron Fox, though the Purdue guard never worked out with Sacramento.
That could also mean nothing. The Kings didn't work out Tyrese Haliburton or Davion Mitchell before drafting them.
Considering Ivey is widely thought of as the best prospect after the Big Three of freshmen, the Kings could pick him and test his fit or post-draft trade value. Or they could just select a cleaner fit such as Murray or Shaedon Sharpe, though I'd bet against it.
Sacramento also worked out Jeremy Sochan, which suggests it has thought about trading down into the back end of the lottery.
6. Indiana Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona, SG/SF, Sophomore)
7. Portland Trail Blazers: Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
8. New Orleans Pelicans (via Lakers): Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2003)
9. San Antonio Spurs: Jeremy Sochan (Baylor, PF, Freshman)
10. Washington Wizards: Johnny Davis (Wisconsin, SG, Sophomore)
11. New York Knicks: AJ Griffin (Duke, SF, Freshman)
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Clippers): Jalen Duren (Memphis, C, Freshman)
13. Charlotte Hornets: Ousmane Dieng (New Zealand Breakers, SG/SF, 2003)
14. Cleveland Cavaliers: Ochai Agbaji (Kansas, SG/SF, Senior)
The Pacers and Blazers have been mentioned by rivals teams as being active in trade discussions.
Sticking at No. 6 seems most realistic for Indiana. If anything, one would think it would be looking to add another pick by using a veteran such as Malcolm Brogdon or Myles Turner. Neither are likely enough when packaged with No. 6 for the Packers to move into the top three.
The Blazers seem more likely to deal their No. 7 pick for a win-now player. The Atlanta Hawks have been mentioned as a team looking to move up, so that's a trade partner to monitor.
Mathurin has seemingly locked himself in to the top eight. Griffin could fall outside the top 10, especially if the Spurs take Sochan, Duren or Dieng.
The Hornets seem more likely to trade one of their two first-round picks (No. 13, No. 15). Charlotte could deal No. 13, knowing Cleveland at No. 14 isn't likely to draft Mark Williams, who makes sense for the Hornets roster.
Teams believe Dieng could go as high as No. 8 and that he's become an option for teams in the late lottery.
15. Charlotte Hornets (via Pelicans): Mark Williams (Duke, C, Sophomore)
16. Atlanta Hawks: Jalen Williams (Santa Clara, SG, Junior)
17. Houston Rockets (via Nets): Tari Eason (LSU, PF, Sophomore)
18. Chicago Bulls: Malaki Branham (Ohio State, SG, Freshman)
19. Minnesota Timberwolves: Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke, SG/SF, Junior)
20. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Dalen Terry (Arizona, PG/SG, Sophomore)
21. Denver Nuggets: MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite, SF, 2000)
22. Memphis Grizzlies (via Jazz): Walker Kessler (Auburn, C, Sophomore)
23. Philadelphia 76ers: EJ Liddell (Ohio State, PF, Junior)
24. Milwaukee Bucks: Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest, PF, Junior)
25. San Antonio Spurs (via Celtics): Nikola Jovic (Mega, SF, 2003)
26. Houston Rockets (via Mavericks): TyTy Washington Jr. (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)
27. Miami Heat: Jaden Hardy (G League Ignite, SG, 2003)
28. Golden State Warriors: Christian Braun (Kansas, SG/SF, Junior)
29. Memphis Grizzlies: Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee, PG, Freshman)
30. Denver Nuggets (via Thunder): Blake Wesley (Notre Dame, SG, Freshman)
It's possible another team will pick at No. 16, as the Hawks have been named as a team looking to move up.
Eason's camp doesn't believe he'll fall into the 20s. Even though he has a questionable jump shot, analytics departments will like him, coaches will admire his toughness and scouts like his versatility as a big who can handle in transition or face up and attack.
It's not often a player earns a green room invite after scrimmaging at the combine. Jalen Williams pulled that off. He originally felt like a prospect for whom teams would want to trade down. But at this point, with interest in Williams high and widespread, he is well regarded enough for a team to justify selecting him in the teens.
Liddell has not received an invite to the green room, which bodes well for teams' chances of getting him in the 20s.
LaRavia finished the predraft process on a workout tour, visiting teams in the 20s. He's had multiple callbacks for second workouts and should hear his name called in the first round.
31. Indiana Pacers (via Rockets): Ismael Kamagate (Paris Basketball, C, 2001)
32. Orlando Magic: Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga, PG, Senior)
33. Toronto Raptors (via Pistons): Bryce McGowens (Nebraska, SG, Freshman)
34. Oklahoma City Thunder: Trevor Keels (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)
35. Los Angeles Lakers (via Magic): Justin Lewis (Marquette, SF, Redshirt Freshman)
36. Detroit Pistons (via Blazers): Christian Koloko (Arizona, C, Junior)
37. Sacramento Kings: Kendall Brown (Baylor, SF, Freshman)
38. San Antonio Spurs (via Lakers): Jaylin Williams (Arkansas, PF, Sophomore)
39. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Spurs): David Roddy (Colorado State, PF, Junior)
40. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Wizards): Ryan Rollins (Toledo, PG/SG, Sophomore)
41. New Orleans Pelicans: Max Christie (Michigan State, SG/SF, Freshman)
42. New York Knicks: Josh Minott (Memphis, SF/PF Freshman)
43. Los Angeles Clippers: Jean Montero (Overtime Elite, PG, 2003)
44. Atlanta Hawks: Caleb Houstan (Michigan, SF, Freshman)
45. Charlotte Hornets: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee, SF/PF, Freshman)
The entire Lakers staff was at the combine in May, so it's not a huge surprise the team jumped into the draft by obtaining the Magic's No. 35 pick on Thursday. It's possible L.A. will make a safe bet on a player ready to contribute now, such as the 235-pound Lewis. If it's leaning toward drafting the best long-term bet, Houstan could be in play.
Braun has fans and could be chosen in the first round. Nembhard is also a candidate to be one of the last players taken in the 20s.
Keels, Brown and Baldwin seem to be viewed more as second-rounders despite points when most thought they could creep into the lottery discussion.
The Magic have two of the first five second-round picks, so No. 32 or No. 35 figures to be available.
46. Portland Trail Blazers (via Nets): JD Davison (Alabama, PG, Freshman)
47. Memphis Grizzlies (via Cavaliers): Jabari Walker (Colorado, PF, Sophomore)
48. Minnesota Timberwolves: Gabriele Procida (Bologna, SF, 2002)
49. Sacramento Kings (via Bulls): Peyton Watson (UCLA, SF, Freshman)
50. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Nuggets): Michael Foster Jr. (G League Ignite, PF, 2003)
51. Golden State Warriors (via Raptors): Karlo Matkovic (Mega, F, 2001)
52. New Orleans Pelicans (via Jazz): Hugo Besson (New Zealand Breakers, SG, 2001)
53. Boston Celtics: Dereon Seabron (North Carolina State, SF, Sophomore)
54. Milwaukee Bucks: Forfeited
55. Miami Heat (via 76ers): Forfeited
56. Washington Wizards (via Mavericks): Alondes Williams (Wake Forest, PG/SG, Senior)
57. Golden State Warriors: Dominick Barlow (Overtime Elite, PF, 2003)
58. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Heat): Yannick Nzosa (Unicaja, C, 2003)
59. Portland Trail Blazers (via Grizzlies): Trevion Williams (Purdue, PF/C, Senior)
60. Indiana Pacers (via Suns): Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers, SF, Senior)
The 50s should feature a number of international players who get picked and stashed. Matkovic, an athletic big who played with projected first-rounder Nikola Jovic, was added to this mock draft after his last-minute decision to stay in the draft, which may hint at a team's commitment to him.
Seabron is interesting because of his ACC production, combine production and glaring weakness as a shooter. Big wings who can handle and play-make are in, though Seabron's knack for getting to the hoop hasn't translated to widespread interest.
Watson could be drafted in the 30s by a team that sees too good of a buy-low opportunity, but I'm still betting on a more serious slide.
Foster looks to be in good shape, and he was also productive as an 18- and 19-year-old in the G League. There are questions about who he will defend in the NBA, though in the Nos. 45-60 range, it feels like nitpicking. A team should find his combination of strength, effective scoring against pros and age worthy of a draft pick.
Nzosa started the year as a potential lottery pick. Now he'll just be hoping to hear his name called, though his defensive talent seems undeniable.