2022 NBA Mock Draft Update

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Update 6/24/22

It was an eventful night last night  in the NBA with the draft surprises starting just before the draft kicked off, with Paolo Banchero suddenly becoming the favorite to be selected no.1 by the Magic and then Jabari falling to no.3 to the Rockets.

For a closer look at all the happenings on draft night you can click here for the latest blog post.

The next step for the prospects is to be introduced to their new cities and then to get ready for Summer League, which kicks off in just over two weeks, starting on July 7th.  Most of the top prospects will be playing and it’ll be a great to get an early glimpse at the stars of tomorrow in their new uniforms.

It always feels a little strange the day after the draft, with all of the speculation and projections out the window and cold hard facts staring us in the face. We can’t judge a draft class until a few years later but for now we can see if our assumptions about the draft values were on or off.

For the most part the board fell as expected, with a few minor surprises here or there. As I discussed here seeing E.J. Liddell slide and John Butler go undrafted were both a bit surprising.

You can view the full draft results here.

Update 6/23/22

With just a few hours until the draft it looks like the OKC Thunder are making a big push to trade up from no.12 in hopes of landing Shaedon Sharpe (to pair with Giddey, Shai and Chet!). A trade with the Blazers, who hold the no.7 overall pick, could be in the works with Lu Dort among the assets going to Portland. This would be a major move for the Thunder, adding two more elite talents to an already talented young core.

The Blazers are also reportedly seeking to acquire OG Anunoby from the Raptors in exchange for that no.7 pick.

The Lakers have acquired the no.35 pick in tonight’s draft for a future second rounder and cash. The Lakers need to add low-budget players to fill out their roster and so look for them to target a more NBA-ready player with this pick.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired the no.49 pick from Sacramento for the rights to Sasha Vezenkov, who was drafted in 2017. Vezenkov could come in and provide meaningful minutes for the Kings after a very success past season in which he was named to the All EuroLeague first team.

The next few hours leading up to the draft will be full of more rumors and possibly more trades as teams position themselves for the draft and for the upcoming season.

Update 6/22/22

The latest green room invite is Auburn center Walker Kessler. This is an interesting one, as it seemed his draft stock had taken a bit of tumble during the pre-draft process, with many mocks, including this one, moving him down to the second round. He could still be a second rounder – being invited to the green room doesn’t guarantee a first round selection – still this suggests that NBA teams might have him rated a bit higher than the public consensus.

Other recent green room invites include Jaden Hardy and Blake Wesley. Both could come off the board in the late teens to mid twenties…possibly a little earlier. And both have really intriguing upside.

Wesley seems like he might be a year or two away from being NBA ready but his athletic ability is best-in-class, he’s an absolute menace with his ability to blow by defenders and get into the lane and he’s got lock-down ability as a defender. If the shooting touch comes around he could be a steal later in the first round.

Jaden Hardy started out the year projected as a top 5 pick and he’s got the type of offensive firepower to carry a team for stretches of time. He doesn’t have ideal height or crazy burst, struggles to finish at the rim and is a bit older than some in his class but he’s a shot-maker par excellence. At the very least he should be a microwave scorer/first guard off the bench type of player. And his ceiling is a 20+ PPG scorer built in the Tyrese Maxey mold.

With so many guards/wings projected to go in the mid to late first round some will have to fall down the board. And there will be some big time values to be had at this point in the draft.

With the draft just one day away expect the news and rumors to keep pouring in.

Update 6/21/22

The trade rumors are really heating up today. I doubt we see a trade in the top 3 picks but all the action could start at no.4 with the Kings. They are supposedly very high on Keegan Murray but taking him over Ivey at no.4 seems like a reach. Instead, the Kings could look to trade down a few spots to get Murray, with another team taking Ivey at no.4. 

There are rumors surrounding a Kings trade with the Wizards at no.10, the Knicks at no.11 or the Hawks at no.16 (a deal that could involve Hawks forward John Collins).

The Knicks trading up to take Ivey would be a fascinating draft day story. He’s the type of player that could electrify Madison Square Garden and would pair well with R.J. Barrett, giving the Knicks two downhill, rim attacking wings who would wreak havoc on opposing defenses.

The Blazers at no.7 are also a potential trade down team that could be looking to add a win-now player instead of a draft pick.

There are also a number of NBA vets who could be on the move on draft day or in the near future. The Pacers are supposedly open to moving Myles Turner and/or Malcolm Brogdon

The Suns are reportedly open to moving DeAndre Ayton (which I think is kind of crazy, given his long-term upside).

Clint Capela has been rumored to be on the block, with the Timberwolves as a potential landing spot.

Kevon Looney and Dennis Schroder could also be on the move.

There could also be a number of teams looking to trade out of this year’s draft in favor of landing a 2023 first rounder. Next year’s draft is looking really strong and could entice teams to pass on the solid but unspectacular talent in the mid round this year in hopes of landing a star in 2023.

Expect a lot of action between now and the end of draft night. And enjoy! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Update 6/19/22

It’s draft week baby! We’re just four days away from the 2022 draft and there’s a lot of smoke in the air (as in smokescreens). And we’ve already seen one trade involving a first round pick, with the Mavs sending no.26 to the Rockets in exchange for the bouncy power forward Christian Wood.

This trade makes sense on a few fronts. First the Rockets had no use for Woods who doesn’t really fit with their timeline and who will be an unrestricted free agent after the 22/23 season. The Rockets are almost guaranteed to select a big man with the no.3 pick and could add another front court player at no.17 and/or no.26.

For the Mavericks the trade for Woods adds offensive fire-power to the roster and didn’t cost them much. The 26th pick in this draft could turn into a decent player but not a player who would help a contending team in the near term.

On the mock draft front there’s not a ton of movement right now but over the course of the next 4 days we’ll all get some “inside scoops” and “sources say” reporting that could alter the draft projections. Of course a lot of “news” that comes out this time of year is misleading and has an agenda, so shouldn’t be taken at face value.

My latest big board is out (Patreon preview) and a new post about how trying to predict the NBA Draft leads to just as many misses as hits. And being wrong is OK. It’s just part of the business of doing mock drafts. You can read that here.

The “Green Room” invites have also been announced. See the full list here.

Happy draft week! Can’t wait for the show to start Thursday night!

Update 6/8/22

With just over two weeks to go until the 2022 NBA Draft the rumors and smokescreens are swirling. Most of the noise can be ignored. As we found out once again last year, the draft will unfold far differently than all the “intel” suggests it will. Remember all the rumors of the OKC Thunder targeting James Bouknight at no.6?

This latest mock draft update features the same no.1 overall pick and a few notable risers.

Jalen Duren has moved up to no.7 to the Blazers (although the team picking Duren at no.7 might not be the Blazers if the trade rumors are to be believed). 7 is about as high as Duren is likely to go – although crazy things can happen on draft night.

Dalen Terry continues to move up the mock as well, landing at no.25 to the Spurs in this update.

Meanwhile Shaedon Sharpe falls to no.8, which is about the middle of his draft range. He has the talent to go top 5 but teams could shy away from picking a guy who didn’t play college ball and has had less than stellar communication on his way through Kentucky.

Ryan Rollins drops a few spots  to no.30, to make way for the rise of Dalen Terry. Rollins is a smooth offensive talent with good length who should be a productive scorer in the NBA.

Besides the battle for no.1 overall, the most intriguing thing to watch the top of the draft is where Jaden Ivey lands. He’s got a game that seems tailor-made for the NBA and is the most explosive athlete in the draft. The success of Ja Morant will make it hard for teams to pass on Ivey, who is build in the small mold as Ja.

Update 5/26/22

With less than a week to go until the NCAA deadline to withdraw from the draft and maintain college eligibility there are still many undecided players. Some of the most prominent undecided players include Caleb Houstan, Moussa Diabate, Trevor Keels, Josh Minott, Patrick Baldwin Jr., Dalen Terry and Drew Timme. It should be a busy few days of announcements before June 1.

In the most recent update I mocked Dominick Barlow no.30 overall to the Thunder. I feel like he’s being drastically overlooked as a prospect. He’s a got all of the size, length, skill-set and intangibles to develop into a really good NBA player. Maybe he won’t end up going in the first round but he deserves to be in that conversation.

One of the most polarizing prospects in the draft, Shaedon Sharpe, is now mocked no.5 overall to the Pistons. It’s hard to know what to do with Sharpe. He looks great in an empty gym but we haven’t seen him play basketball this year and the way he handles the situation at Kentucky has certainly rubbed people the wrong way.

Sharpe’s talent is real but it’ll take a leap of faith for a team to draft him top 5.  If he does end up on the Pistons he’d be an ideal running mate to Cade but of course comes with all the uncertainty and risk. This will be one of the most interesting stories to watch on draft night.

The other story I’ll be watching closely is the Kings at no.4. If Jaden Ivey falls to them it’ll get really interesting. He doesn’t seem like a great fit with Fox and Mitchell, which makes you think they could look to trade down in the draft.

Another trade that is rumored is the Blazers trading no.7 to the Pistons for Jerami Grant. This could be a smart move for the Blazers (and for the Pistons) but it’s not as exciting as drafting a young stud at no.7 and seeing if he develops into a star player. Grant is a nice piece but might not move the needle too much for Portland.

Update 5/17/22

The Orlando Magic win the NBA Draft Lottery and will pick no.1 on June 23rd.  In some years it would be an easy choice but this is a year with no clear top prospect. I have Jabari Smith Jr. mocked to the Magic but it will be very tempting for the team to reunite Jalen Suggs with his high school teammate Chet Holmgren. Either of these players will be a great fit in Orlando.

If Chet doesn’t go first it’s hard to imagine him falling past the OKC Thunder, who landed the no.2 pick. The Thunder love drafting high upside youngsters and Chet definitely fills a position of need.

New post: Thoughts on the Top 7 Picks

Update 5/15/22

The NBA Draft Lottery is coming up this Tuesday – one of the most exciting days of the draft season! With no clear no.1 prospect this year, the team that lands the no.1 overall pick will have some added pressure to get it right. It won’t be an easy decision, with at least 3 or 4 possible candidates to choose from. Jabari Smith Jr. remains no.1 overall on my big board but the battle for the first pick is wide open.

Meanwhile, draft season is in full swing and we’re starting to see videos come out of prospects working out (looking like superstars in empty gyms).

In the latest mock I’ve moved Dyson Daniels ahead of Adrian Griffin Jr., all the way up to no.8. Daniels seems to have a good amount of momentum heading into the home stretch and comes with fewer question marks and injury concerns than AGJ.

This draft remains wide open all the way through the first round. The group of players in the 10-30 range are very close and could go in just about any order. Expect mock drafts to be a little less accurate this year compared to years past.

And stay tuned for a mock draft update on Tuesday evening immediately following the lottery drawing.

Update 4/25/22

The early entry deadline has come and gone and things went mostly as expected. Many of the top freshmen are testing the draft waters while also maintaining their college eligibility. This makes a ton of sense – go get the feedback from NBA teams and then make a final decision to stay in the draft or return to school.

One notable addition to this draft class his Canadian high school-er Leonard Miller – who is old enough and apparently eligible for the 2022 draft. Miller has been the fastest rising prospect over the past few months, going from a virtual unknown to a possible first round pick. The 6-10 wing had a big week at the Nike Hoops Summit, which vaulted him into the first round discussion.

Normally players make an announcement about entering the draft or returning to school but things were eerily quiet from two Michigan forwards Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate. We’re getting word this morning that Diabate has entered the draft while maintaining college eligibility…so far no word about Houstan.

I argued previously that this draft class is not as weak as people are saying it is and now, with all of these names entered into the draft (at least for now) I’d argue that it’s a strong and fairly deep group of prospects. There’s still no generational talent at the top but the rest of the class is strong and a lot of big time NBA players will come out of this class. We’ll still need to wait and see which players withdraw and return to school but for now the 2022 draft is looking good.

One player moving up my mock is French forward Ousmane Dieng, who had an up and down year in the NBL but showed a marked improvement. He’s super intriguing with his size and ball-handling ability on the wing – he’ll be hard for teams to pass on in the mid to late lottery.

Another new addition to the 2022 mock is Arizona guard Dalen Terry, who opted to enter the draft while maintaining college eligibility. I’m hoping he goes back to school and makes himself into a top 20 pick but if he stays in this year he’ll get drafted…probably in the 30-50 range.

Update 4/22/22

After so much speculation we finally have the announcement:

Shaedon Sharpe is entering the draft, while maintaining college eligibility.

This was the expected outcome all along, even though there were mixed messages throughout the season and a few question marks about his eligibility.

Sharpe adds a tremendous amount of firepower to this draft, which was considered weak by many (more on that here). He’s going to look great in workout settings and will generate a lot of buzz. As a likely top 8 pick it’s hard to imagine him pulling out of the draft and going back to school next season. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see him play in college but at the end of the day who can be mad? This is just a young man chasing his dreams.

Big news from the Big 10 as Kofi Cockburn has officially entered the draft and given up his college eligibility. He’ll get a look in the second round and could stick in the league as a situational big. I think he can bring valuable minutes as a back up center but will probably have to play in short spurts to help him keep-up with the pace of the game.

Oscar Tshiebwe is returning to Kentucky for his senior season, just a massive decision, which will have big implications for college basketball next year. He probably would have gotten drafted in the 25-45 range this year but he now has the opportunity to raise his draft stock – while reaping the benefits of the NIL rules.

Wendall Moore has entered the draft as expected. He’s not a star, you won’t see his name in many headlines but he’s a damn good player who I could see outplaying his draft position. His passing, versatile defense and vastly improved scoring make him a great fit into day’s game.

Johnny Juzang has entered and is staying in the draft. I see him as a borderline second rounder, maybe undrafted, but he does have an in-demand skill, being a scorer. He doesn’t show a lot of burst to get past defenders and isn’t a great defender himself but could benefit from NBA spacing. He’ll have to be an elite 3pt marksman to make it.

Christian Koloko is in, while no word yet from his Arizona teammate Dalen Terry.

Update 4/17/22

The deadline to declare for the 2022 NBA Draft is April 24th and so far we’ve seen a ton of underclassmen decide to test the waters. A few weeks ago I published a list of freshmen I thought should declare for the draft, and who should go back to school. So far we’ve already seen a few players leave school, that I thought should stay, most notably UCLA wing Payton Watson and Alabama guard J.D. Davison. Both are high upside prospects who will get every opportunity to make it in the league, even if they have to spend some time developing in the G League first.

There are still plenty of decisions left to be made including one of the most intriguing stories of this draft cycle, the decision from Shaedon Sharpe. It seems likely that he’ll at least test the draft waters and get feedback – and it’s easy to imagine that feedback being that he’s a top 10 pick. Sharpe has one week left to decide.

His Kentucky teammate Oscar Tshiebwe also has yet to decide. After an incredible season he certainly helped his draft stock but is considered a borderline first rounder who could very well fall to the second, if he enters this year. If he spends another year at UK he could have another dominant college season while working to expand his game and become more of a mid-range threat.

N.C. State freshman Terquavion Smith has entered the draft to get feedback, while maintaining his college eligibility. I think this is one of the more interesting decisions this year. Smith is a scoring fiend who has a clear NBA skill but at only 160lbs he’s very skinny and could be a liability on the defensive end. If he stays in the draft I could see him developing for a year in the G League (and probably leading the G League in scoring).

Update 3/29/22

The NCAA Tournament has been sensational baby but it has not helped clarify the question of who should go no.1 overall in June. At this point it looks like a wide-open 4-way battle between Paolo, Chet, Jabari and Jaden. I might throw Shaedon Sharpe into that group too, although it seems likely he’d rise all the way to the top of this draft class.

Of the top 4 Paolo has had the best tournament (and still going) and has certainly helped his draft stock but there was nothing that happened this March that greatly alters the landscape. Jaden Ivey had a tough last game, getting stymied by the St. Peters defense, but will benefit from the pace and space of NBA play and is still right there at the top of this draft class.

Chet went out with some decent play and a bunch of bogus foul calls. He showed the same highlights and areas of concern that he’s shown all season, but might have really made a statement if it wasn’t for all the foul calls against him (vs Arkansas and Memphis)

Speaking of the aforementioned Shaedon Sharpe, Coach Cal has stated that Sharpe will be exploring the draft and it seems very likely he’s gone to the league. He’ll be one of the most interesting prospects to watch through the draft process; I’m sure we’ll get lots of videos released of him going nuts in workouts.

One name that I moved from 2023 to 2022 in this latest update is Jaylin Williams of Arkansas. The 6-10 do-it-all center had a really strong sophomore season and really stood out in the tournament, matching up well with Chet in the sweet sixteen and holding his own against Paolo and Mark Williams in the elite eight. Jaylin lands in the late first round (and I love the idea of him on the Golden State Warriors).

A few (likely) second round talents that had strong finishes to their seasons are Trayce Jackson-Davis and Gabe Brown. Both players are moving up my board into the mid second round area.  Trayce is just a beast of an athlete and it looks like he could carve out a role in the league. Gabe is the prototypical 3&D wing who doesn’t need the ball in his hands. His 3pt shot looks real.

One player falling down the board is Zach Edey of Purdue. The 7-4 giant has had some big college games but just looks too slow for the NBA level. It’ll probably be best for him to stay in school at least another year and see if he can expand his game and add some agility but he’ll always be a slow giant of a man. Two other Big 10 centers that fit the same mold are Hunter Dickenson and Kofi Cockburn. It’s easy to imagine all 3 of these guys falling out of the second round.

Drew Timme is built in a different mold than those listed above but also faces the challenge of being a slow-footed player trying to keep up with NBA pace. He’s also very much a below the rim player who is crafty as hell but will likely have a hard time replicating his success against NBA size. He’s also not a player who stretches the floor very well and will be a liability on the defensive end. He’s a star at Gonzaga but will have to fight to find a role in the league. The junior will have an interesting decision to make to stay in school or enter the draft this year.

Update 3/17/22

Happy March Madness! It’s the best time of the year, when the stars come out to shine and when obscure teams and off-the-radar players emerge to win the hearts and minds of the nation. Every year we see draft stocks rise and fall in the tournament and, even though we know we shouldn’t change our prospect rankings based off of a few games, it’s always hard to resist the urge to go with the momentum of March.

My latest Top 60 Big Board is out and it’ll be interesting to see how much these rankings change over the next few weeks. I’d like to think that much of it is pretty much set in stone but experience tells me that March does matter and will have an impact on all draft boards.

Enjoy the Tournament and stay tuned for updates and overreactions!

Update 3/9/22

It’s nearly March Madness time and by this point of the season the make-up of the 2022 draft is starting to become clear. There will still be a few late risers, a few March Madness heroes who capture the nation’s attention and, as always, a few international names that start to get a lot of buzz later in the draft season. But for the most part we have an idea of the talent available in 2022.

There have been a few recent additions to the mock draft including Overtime Elite league player Dominick Barlow who just capped off a successful season in which he proved himself worthy of being at least a second round pick. The 6-9 (maybe 6-10) forward has a modern game, a lot of versatility and is on a nice trajectory over the course of the past two seasons. He seems to have really bought in to the idea of putting in the work to reach his ceiling and it shows. His teammate Jean Montero has a lot more draft hype but Barlow might be the better pro prospect.

Oscar Tshiebwe keeps rising up the mock draft and for obvious reasons. He’s been nothing short of spectacular for Kentucky this season, putting in one of the all time great rebounding seasons in NCAA history and showing marked improvement on the offensive end as well. Oscar is now mocked in the late first round of my most recent mock and could rise a few spots higher.

This draft has a number of upperclassmen who have emerged as legit NBA prospects including. Adama Sanogo, E.J. Liddell, Alondes Williams, Wendell Moore, Ochai Agbaji, Christian Bruan and Jaime Jacquez Jr.  In recent years we’ve seen the value of drafting the more NBA ready players and that could give a boost to the draft stock of these juniors and seniors.  To me this will be one of the most interesting things to watch on draft night.

We’re entering the best time of the year! March Madness followed by the high school showcase games, draft season and eventually the NBA Draft in June!

Update 2/28/22

There’s a lot of movement happening in the 2022 mock draft, with some freshmen rising up the draft board, and some falling. A.J. Griffin has moved up to no.6 overall after a fantastic month of February. The powerful wing is shooting the ball at an elite level and becoming Duke’s go-to player.

Ohio State shooting guard Malaki Branham has also been shooting the lights out recently, exploding for some big games this month. Malaki has moved up to no.14 overall in the latest mock.

Jeremy Sochan, the 6-9 combo forward from Baylor is moving up as well, all the way to no.15.

Meanwhile, Patrick Baldwin Jr. continues to fall down the draft board. He’s had a rough year shooting the ball and just hasn’t looked good overall. He’s also been nagged by an ankle injury, making it two years in a row that he’s struggled to stay healthy.

I recently took an in-depth and extended look at The State of the 2022 NBA Draft.

Update 2/4/22

There’s a new wildcard in the 2022 NBA Draft named Shaedon Sharpe. The big power guard from Canada who is currently practicing with (and might play for) Kentucky is rumored to be eligible for the 2022 draft. This would be a huge addition to a somewhat underwhelming class of prospects and is exactly what this draft needs. We know about the talent at the PF/C positions but this class is lacking at the guard position and Sharpe would give the position a major boost. At this point it seems about 50/50 whether he’ll declare in 2022 or stay and play a full season at Kentucky next year. His camp has indicated he’ll stay but when it comes down to making the decision it will be hard to turn down the chance to be a high lottery pick this June.

In our latest update the top of the lottery stays about the same (besides the addition of Sharpe) with TyTy and Jaden Ivey as the next two guards off the board.  Followed closely by Bennedict Mathurin and Johnny Davis.

One addition to the 2022 mock is John Butler, the exceptionally lanky and smooth 3pt sniper from Florida State. Butler has a small forwards game in a 7-1 frame and is a lethal 3pt shooter. He’s an ultra smooth mover for a player his size and, although he’s got a long ways to go physically and in developing his game, he’s got the type of upside that drives NBA scouts wild. His teammate and fellow freshman Matthew Cleveland is also a big time talent with first round potential, although one or both of these players could stay for a second season with the Seminoles.

Jabari Smith has gotten most of the buzz for Auburn but fellow big man Walker Kessler is playing a very high level as well and is garnering first round buzz. The UNC transfer is a shot blocking force, showing great instincts and timing to go along with his great size. He’s also a smooth offensive talent who doesn’t need a lot of touches to impact the game.

Another player moving up my board is Scottie Pippen Jr., the 6-1 point guard from Vanderbilt. Pippen Jr. has had some big time performances against tough competition and is looking the part of a legit NBA prospect. He’s a feisty competitor and a big time shot maker. In the latest mock he moves up to the early second round.

Although brute force centers aren’t en vogue, two potential second rounders have been putting up dominant performances in college basketball this season. Kentucky center Oscar Tshiebwe has been the most dominant rebounder we’ve seen in college ball in over a decade. He’s a limited offensive player and it’s hard to tell how much value his skillset has at the next level but he certainly deserves a long look from NBA teams.

Illinois junior center Kofi Cockburn is a man amongst boys who is nearly impossible to stop once he gets position in the paint. Like Tshiebwe, his skillset doesn’t project well to the next level but it’s hard to ignore the impact he’s having at the college level.

Update 1/15/22

There’s lots of movement in the top 10 of the mock: TyTy Washington makes a big jump into the top 5. The 6-3 freshman guard from Kentucky plays well beyond his years and always seems to be in control of the game. He’s becoming an elite point guard and should be drafted as such.

Jalen Duren takes a tumble down the mock draft and lands at no.11 in the latest update. Duren is an intriguing long term prospect but is more of an old school big and there are some questions about how much value he has in the today’s NBA. His best basketball is likely still 5-8 years away.

Johnny Davis continues his rise (no.12) and Adrian Griffin Jr. is starting to find his rhythm and is getting back near the lottery (no.15).

Tari Eason has continued his outstanding play for LSU and is looking like a sure-fire draft pick with some first round potential. He lands at no.36 in the updated mock.

JD Davison moves down a few spots in the late first round. He’s clearly a big time talent but will need a lot of seasoning before he’s ready to contribute in the NBA.

The two UCLA wings (Juzang and Jaquez Jr.) have taken a tumble down the mock and are no longer looking like certain draft picks.

Update 12/1/21

It’s starting to feel like a 3-way race for the no.1 overall pick between Paolo, Chet and Jabari Smith. Paolo and Chet have gotten most of the attention at the top of mock drafts over the past few months but Smith has emerged as a legit no.1 overall type of prospect.

Jabari Smith came into the season ranked in the top 10 of our mock draft…which was way too low. He’s looking like a sure-fire top 5-ish pick with top 1 or 2 upside. He’s as silky smooth of a 6-10 forward as you’ll find, with an effortless offensive game. He’s deadly accurate from mid range, gets into his offense well and is a talented iso scorer. He’s also becoming a knockdown 3pt shooter, making him incredibly difficult to defend. His movement skills are special and, combined with his big frame, make him too much for college forwards to handle. Smith doesn’t have the elite handle that Paolo has and he’s not the same sort of rim protector that Chet is but he’s a versatile all around talent with elite abilities. Smith is currently mocked no.3 in our latest mock.

https://youtu.be/GQZNDD7dpU0

Jalen Duren has been really impressive early in his college career. The positives for Duren are his elite size/length/frame which help make him an elite rebounder, shot blocker, interior defender and dunker. He’s got the build of a 10-year vet and a very clearly defined skill-set. What doesn’t get mentioned enough is his age. Duren is about 18 months younger than Chet Holmgren and is already dominating college basketball. He’s eligible for the 2022 NBA draft by only about 45 days, otherwise he would have to wait until 2023. This combination of youth, chiseled frame, big time production and upside is special. He seems to be lost in the shuffle a little bit, even loosing some attention to fellow Memphis freshman Emoni Bates. Could it be that we’re all sleeping on Duren and that he actually deserves to be in the conversation for no.1 overall? The season is young and we’ll get more clarity over the next few months.

Jaden Ivey has been everything we expected him to be and more. The sophomore guard from Purdue is the most explosive player in this draft and might be the most fun to watch out of any of this year’s draft prospects. It might be sacrilegious to say but he reminds me of watching Dwayne Wade at Marquette. Ivey is a ferocious driver who absorbs contact on his way to the rim and has the power, balance, explosive leaping ability and length to allow him to finish through contact and against size. He floats through the air and has awesome hang-time, allowing him to go up and under and get really creative with his finishes. He’s also knocking down outside shots this year, shooting over 43% so far from 3. It’s hard to imagine Ivey falling out of the top 5.

The Big 6 – So far there seems to be 6 elite level prospects in this draft class: Chet, Paolo, Jabari Smith, Jalen Duren, Jaden Ivey and Jaden Hardy. Hardy has struggled a bit in the G League but it’s too early to write him out of the top 6.

The Next Group – And this lottery is looking deep with talent. The next group of prospects as of now includes Kendall Brown, Patrick Baldwin Jr. and TyTy Washington. I think these 3 stand out above the rest, although I might throw Nikola Jovic into the mix as well.

One player that I think deserves more draft buzz is Michigan State freshman shooting guard Max Christie. I absolutely love his shot, his length and smarts, and think he’s a perfect fit in today’s’ NBA. He might be flying a big under the radar now but look for his name to rise up rankings over the course of the season.

Update 11/13/21

With college basketball season underway we’ve gotten our first look at the top prospects in the 2022 draft and so far they’ve (mostly) not disappointed. 

Chet and Paolo have looked as dominant as expected and Jalen Duren looks like a man among boys, even as a 17 year old (soon to be 18).

Jabari Smith looks like an elite talent who has a chance to be special. The Auburn forward has a silky smooth skill-set and can do a little bit of everything on the court. Smith has moved up to no.4 overall in our latest mock draft.

Another riser in the mock is Duke guard Trevor Keels who has shown the ability to play bully-ball, even as a freshman, and get to his spots on the floor with ease. He’s got a nose for the basket and is playing with a ton of confidence. Keels is now projected as a lottery pick after his strong start.

Two players who have moved down in the mock draft are Duke forward Adrian Griffin Jr. and UCLA forward Payton Watson. Griffin Jr. is still working his way back from injury and has seen limited minutes. His injury history will give teams pause and could cause him to fall a bit in the 2022 draft. Of course there’s still a long way to go and if he stays healthy all season he’ll see an expanded role and could regain his lottery ranking.

Payton Watson has a raw skill-set. He’ll show flashes of his big time ability but it might take him some time to really make his mark at the college level. He’s playing behind a number of very talented wings at UCLA and won’t be a focal point of the offense this year. His upside is tantalizing but he might be a year or two away from really putting his full talents on display.

In G League Play, the Ignite prospects are off to a good start. Jaden Hardy is starting to get into rhythm after missing some time with an injury. His pure shooting stroke and ability to get his own shot are extremely valuable skills, although his lack of elite speed and quickness might cap his upside. He’s still ranked no.3 overall in our latest mock, although Jabari Smith, Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey are right there in the mix.

Mike Foster has looked rock solid so far for the Ignite while Marjon Beauchamp has surprised to the upside and will be moving up the board if he continues this level of play. Dyson Daniels has shown flashes and it looks like the game is starting to slow down for him.

Purdue’s second year guard Jaden Ivey might be the most intriguing long-term prospect of any of the guards in this class. His athleticism is unmatched in this draft class and he really knows how to use his elite tools to impact the game. His ability to get into the lane and score through contact and over defenders is truly special. He’s got good handles and can get by any defender. He’s also a menace on defense, showing the ability to pick up full court and disrupt the opposing offense. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up as a top 3 or 4 pick in the draft…he’s that good.

Update 8/14/21

The 2022 NBA Draft could be the most big man dominated draft in years. It starts at the top with Chet, Paolo, Jalen Duren and Yannick Nzosa but there’s a really deep group of PF/C prospects, players that will be hard for teams to pass up, even though guards and wings are more valuable in today’s NBA. Here’s a full look at the big man prospects for the 2022 draft.

Update 7/31/21

Finally, a big 2022 Mock Draft update!

This is the time of year I add in the NBA teams (projected draft order) to the mock, instead of having just essentially a big board. Yes, it’s still too early to really say which NBA teams will be at the top of the lottery but dreaming about which player will go to which team is half the fun.

At this point (and until proven otherwise) I’ll have the Thunder at the top of the draft order. They are clearly in full tank mode and are doing whatever it takes to develop their young players (uh-hm.. be bad) this season.

After that the Rockets come in at no.2. They probably have one more solid tank season ahead after doing a sensational job of loosing games in 2020/21. This past year it really paid off big with the chance to draft Jalen Green, Alperin Sengün, Usman Garuba and Josh Christopher. They already have a really nice young core in place and one more developmental season could help them land another young star.

The Pistons round out the top 3 and will have a chance to add another elite piece to the young roster. I player like Jaden Hardy would make a ton of sense next to Cade and the other youngsters. He’s an elite level shooting guard in the Brad Beal, James Harden mold and would be a perfect complement to the savvy passing of Cade and Killian.

The other big news is moving Jalen Duren to the 2022 mock, from 2023. There have been rumors swirling for the past few months that he will reclassify and become eligible for this coming draft and, although it’s not official yet, it’s time to mock him in 2022. He’s an interesting prospect to evaluate. He’s clearly a dominant talent at the lower levels of competition and has big time upside. He’s about a year and a half younger than Chet, so age should be considered as well. But he enters the league as an old school, interior oriented big man in an era when such players aren’t valued as highly. Even with this in mind, he’s too talented to keep out of the top half of the lottery and his initial ranking in this draft class is at no.4.

As I’ve mentioned before the international class is really strong in 2022. Nikola Jovic, Yannick Nzosa and Osumane Dieng have lottery potential and Dyson Daniels (who joined the G League Ignite team), Roko Prkacin, Jean Montero, and Khalifa Diop could be first rounders.

There’s also a number of international players in college ball this season who could be first rounders or go in the second round. This game is truly a world-wide affair.

Update 7/6/21

The 2022 draft class has gotten stronger this week with a few key players withdrawing from the 2021 draft including Jalen Wilson, Ochai Agbaji, Julian Champangie, Jordan Hall and more.

But the biggest news this month has been the exceptionally strong play of Jaden Ivey in the FIBA U19s. The 6-4 guard from Purdue has looked like the best player on the floor much of the time, which is saying a lot considering he plays on a team with projected top 3 pick Chet Holmgren, likely top 10 pick Patrick Baldwin Jr. and a few other first round talents. Ivey has all of the athleticism and tenacity in the world and has an emerging offensive game. If this tournament is any indication of what’s to come Ivey should be a breakout star in college basketball this season and see his name climb up draft boards over the next few months. Ivey currently sits just outside our 2022 lottery but that could change if he continues his impressive play.

Chet has looked the part as well, showing off his feathery jumper and gazelle-like movements. He stretches the floor on offense, can drive the ball as well as any 7-footer in memory and is an elite rim protector on defense. He’ll have to add weight to become a true defensive anchor but even without that he looks like a sure-fire high lottery selection. Next season he’ll be sharing the scoring load on an uber-talented Gonzaga team, so his college numbers might not be as eye-popping as they could be, but he’s got a truly unique skill set for a 7-footer and should translate well to the NBA.

Some other players who have impressed are:

Serbian forward Nikola Jovic who is looking more and more like a lock for the 2022 lottery. Jovic has advanced skills for a 6-10 player; he can handle the ball, make any pass on the court and score from 3 levels. The recent success of European players in the NBA will only help his draft stock.

Canadian 3pt marksman Caleb Houston who is a likely one and done first rounder for Michigan. Houston has a picture perfect jumper with deep range. At 6-8 he’s got ideal size, is a fluid athlete (although not elite) and is a heady, team-first, unselfish player.

And Azuolas Tubelis of Lithuania who will be going into his second season for Arizona, after a stellar freshman campaign. At this point Tubelis projects as a possible mid first rounder to early second round selection in the 2022 draft. With a new coach and a lot of incoming talent the Arizona Wildcats should be a force to reckon with this season.

A couple of 2023 prospects who have really impressed are Adem Bona of Turkey, who is going into his senior season at Prolific Prep and the 7-2 unicorn of unicorns Victor Wembanyama who is a clear favorite to be the top pick in the 2023 NBA draft. Bona has only been playing basketball for a few seasons but is picking the game up quickly and is a natural on the court. His open court speed and overall athleticism are special. Wembanyama is essentially a 7-2 small forward with a beautiful, un-blockable 3pt shot. He’s got some Kevin Durant in his game but more closely resembles a wealthy man’s Kristaps Porzingis.

Finally, there are rumors swirling around the prep scene that star center Jalen Duran could be reclassifying and joining the 2021 recruiting class, which would make him eligible for the 2022 draft. Duran recently narrowed his list to 5 options (either for this coming season or the next) including: Kentucky, Miami, Memphis, the G League and the NBL. Whichever draft Duran ends up in, he’s a lock for the lottery and could even get some no.1 overall consideration.

Update 5/30/21

The 2022 NBA Draft will be absolutely loaded with talent. There’s a very strong freshman class and a great group of international prospects, which combine to form a very deep and talented pool of players.

At the top of the draft Chet and Paolo are the early favorites to go no.1 overall but a lot can happen between now and then. Our third ranked prospect, Jaden Hardy, has signed with the G League Ignite, bringing his high scoring game to the professional ranks, along with Mike Foster and Scoot Henderson (who has reclassified and turned pro). This is a solid group of prospects following in the footsteps of last year’s loaded Ignite squad.

Another big story as we look ahead to the 2022 NBA draft is the loaded Gonzaga team, which is full of NBA prospects. After coming up one game short of a perfect season this year, next year’s team looks capable of finishing the job and bringing a Natty home to Spokane. Chet is the best prospect on the team but the Bulldogs also get Drew Timme back for his junior year, have a few big time recruits in Hunter Sallis, Nolan Hickman and Kaden Perry and a loaded roster full of future pros. Timme should be a first team All American and watch for some of the rising sophomores like Dominick Harris and Julian Strawther to step up and contribute.

Arizona also has an interesting team with the return of Bennedict Mathurin (who probably would have been an early to mid second rounder this year) and Azuolas Tubelis, one of the most underrated players in the country. The Wildcats also landed transfer Oumar Ballo who followed former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd to Arizona.

At this point about a year out from the 2022 draft it appears that at least 3 of the international prospects could land in the lottery. At the top of the list is 6-11 Yannick Nzosa from the DR of Congo. Nzosa reminds me of Clint Capela but is far more advanced at this stage of development. The other two top international prospects are Ousmane Dieng of France, a 6-8 small forward who can initiate the offense and Nikola Jovic, a power forward from Serbia who has an advanced offensive game (and a name eerily similar to the great Nikola Jokic). Both Dieng and Jovic look like lottery talents.

One of the more intriguing players who could potentially be in the 2022 draft class is Mouhamed Gueye who recently signed with Washington State. Gueye, originally from Senegal didn’t get a ton of attention or national recognition last year at Prolific Prep but just one look at his game tells you all you need to know. He’s a 6-11 forward with great movement ability and developing small forward skills. He’s a fluid athlete who is oozing with upside potential. He could be a two year college player but the draft is all about upside and Gueye has plenty of that.

Update 2/28/21

There’s not a lot of movement at the top of the 2022 mock. We’ve had a limited high school basketball season this year and most of the established top guys have looked just as good as expected. Chet and Jaden Hardy both remain unsigned, with Gonzaga seeming to have a slight edge for Chet and Jaden perhaps heading to the G League or another professional route.

One of the biggest movers up the 2022 draft board is Auburn combo forward J.T. Thor. There’s a chance Thor declares this year but would be well served to spend another year in school and try to lock in a first round grade. If he does stay he’ll form an absolutely terrifying duo at the forward position with incoming star Jabari Smith. The Auburn program has been on a roll the past few years and looks set to continue.

One upper class-man who is mocked in the first round next year is Virginia’s Trey Murphy III. Trey is a lanky 6-9 guard with handles and a sweet outside shot. He’s another guy who could test the waters this year but might return to school to improve his draft stock.

Azuolas Tubelis, the 6-10 power forward from Arizona by way of Lithuania is having a really solid freshman season, averaging 12pts, 7rbs on 50% shooting. We noted before the season started that he would burst onto the scene and so far he’s living up to the hype. He’d be well served to stay in school another year and could be looking at a first round grade in 2022.

Update 1/3/21

There are some big changes to our 2022 mock draft. It’s looking unlikely that the NBA will change the one and done rule to allow high schoolers (and 18 year olds) to go straight to the pros so we’ve moved Emoni Bates, Victor Wembanyama and Jalen Duran back a year, to the 2023 mock. Even without this being a “super draft” 2022 is still a loaded class.

Chet Holmgren moves up to no.1 and he looks every bit the part of a no.1 overall prospect. Jaden Hardy, Paolo Banchero, Patrick Baldwin Jr. Yannick Nzosa and Jabari Smith also look like legit top 5 or top 10 type players.

Daimion Collins is a prospect that really intrigues me and seems to be getting far too little attention. Look for him to make moves up draft boards soon (or at least by the time he’s swatting shots next season at Kentucky).

Hunter Sallis is another big upside player who could use a little more national attention.

Another high upside but unpolished player who needs more love is Bryce McGowens, who has committed to Nebraska. The Cornhuskers don’t produce many one and dones but they might have one with Bryce. He’s an exceptional athlete with great length and elite bounce who is dripping with potential. As he tightens up his handles and continues to improve from outside he’ll make scouts take notice.

We’ve moved a few of this year’s freshman to the 2022 mock, predicting that they’ll stay in school for a second season. Caleb Love, D.J. Steward, Day’Ron Sharpe and Makur Maker are a few prospects who look like they could use some more seasoning before making the leap to the league.

There are a few new names on in the mock including Justin Powell of Auburn, Marcus Carr of Minnesota and Christian Bruan of Kansas. Powell has been especially impressive, showing off great outside shooting ability and a game that is well suited for the NBA. There’s a chance he’s a one and done but for now we have him mocked in the 2022 draft.

Update 11/14/20

It’s early and a lot will change between now and mid 2022 but at this point the 2022 draft class is shaping up to be a really special class. First there’s a possibility that this will be a super-draft if the NBA changes the one and done rule allowing high school players to jump straight to the league. This would bring some special talents into the draft including Emoni Bates, Jalen Duran and international sensation Victor Wembanyama. But even if the rules stay the same and 2022 is not a super-draft it will still be super talented.

We all witnessed some of the top rated HS seniors put on a show recently, including Chet Holmgren’s dominant performance against Emoni and Ypsi Prep. And Jaden Hardy showing off his truly elite scoring ability in all his games early in the season. Both Chet and Jaden look like future top 5 picks and potentially franchise altering talents.

We’ve also seen the emergence of Kentucky-bound Daimion Collins who is just a freak-show of an athlete with elite bounce, elite length and unlimited upside. Draft fans should make it a point to see him play. And he’ll get a ton of attention next year in Lexington.

Jabari Smith has also brought his game to a new level, showing off his inside-out skill-set and the type of versatility that NBA teams dream of. The Auburn commit has a polished offensive package and an NBA ready frame. Expect him to put on a show for a year at Auburn before making the jump to the NBA.

Last year Michigan scored a major recruiting win with the Isaiah Todd signing, only to see him change course and jump to the G League. But this current recruiting class is shaping up to be even better with the recent commitments of Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate. Caleb is a pure-shooting big wing who excels as a floor-spacer and as a second option scorer. Diabate is a versatile defender and a rim protector with an emerging offensive game that shows a lot of promise. Both of these players are ideal fits in the modern NBA and both could be one and done first rounders in 2022.

UCLA scored a recruiting coup with the signing of elite athlete Payton Watson, who had some rumors of going the G League route. Watson is perhaps the most explosive athlete in this class and has added a few inches to his frame, now measuring 6-9. His game is still a work in progress but you just can’t teach the type of tools that he has.

Burly forward Mike Foster has been putting on a show in the early season games and looks the part of an NBA player. The senior has not yet made a college commitment and all signs point to the G League for him.

The list of top talents in the 2022 draft class goes on and on. There’s been a ton of hype for the 2021 class (and for good reason) but draft fans should also start to get to know the 2022 prospects, who are a special group as well.

Update 8/20/20

Big news in the prep hoops world today as Duke continues their red-hot recruiting streak, landing 5-star big man Paolo Banchero. Paolo will likely be a one-and-done player for the Blue Devils and is currently projected as a top 5 pick in our 2022 mock draft. With Adrian Griffin Jr. already in the fold and other top prospects likely to follow, the Blue Devils will once again have stacked freshman class heading into the 2021 college hoops season.

Another recent announcement came from 5-star point guard Kennedy Chandler who decided to stay home, joining the Tennessee Volunteers. Chandler is a true lead guard, a winner and an exceptionally high level athlete who has a bright NBA future. The Vols have two possible one-and-done players this year in Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson but it’s possible that one (or both) could stay for a second season, making Tennessee a powerhouse.

Baylor scored a big win earlier this month with the commitment of Kendall Brown, a sensational open court athlete and underrated prospect who has all the makings of an NBA wing. Brown is joined by Langston Love in the 2021 recruiting class, as the Bears continue to stack up recruiting wins.

UCLA scored a much needed win with the commitment of elite athlete and local product Payton Watson. Watson has Derrick Jones Jr. type of above the rim ability and is dripping with upside potential. Don’t be surprised if he’s a one and done draft pick with the potential to go first round in 2022.

Update 6/29/20

Huge recruiting news today as elite prospect Emoni Bates announced his commitment to Michigan State. Depending on the NBA rule changes Emoni could have the option of jumping straight to the League, or he could eventually decide to take the G League route but for now there’s cause to celebrate for the Spartans. If he does end up suiting up for coach Izzo and the Spartans they will be the greatest show in college basketball. But for now Emoni has a junior season and then a senior season of high school ball to complete before taking his next step.

Update 5/31/20

The NBA seems to be targeting the 2022 draft as the first year where high school seniors can jump straight to the league. This would be a welcomed change and would help solve some of the problems with NCAA athletes not being allowed to receive financial benefits, and would be great for draft fans getting to see the most elite players go straight to the draft.

Superstar Emoni Bates seems like a lock to take advantage of the new rule and could even be the no.1 overall selection in the draft. Jalen Duran, who recently transferred to Montverde, is another name to watch as a possible prep to pros candidate. And if the past tells us anything there could be a dozen or more top high schoolers who attempt to jump straight to the league.

2022 NBA Mock Draft