go to: 2022 NBA Mock Draft
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.