2022 NBA mock draft: Projecting all 58 picks after the combine


The 2022 NBA draft is now just three-plus weeks away, and the speculation over what will occur at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on June 23 continues to intensify. The landing spots of the presumed “Big Three” of Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero will be the primary storyline until further notice, and more subtle dramas are sure to unfold further down the draft board.

How long will Big Ten stars Jaden Ivey of Purdue and Keegan Murray of Iowa remain in play? Will Kentucky mystery man Shaedon Sharpe overcome concerns about his lack of experience, and few opportunities for evaluation, and earn a selection sooner than expected? Where will the standouts of the pre-draft process, including Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams and Arizona’s Dalen Terry, be selected?

And beyond where the top players will be picked is the notion of potential trades, with multiple teams that are currently holding top-10 picks widely believed to be entertaining offers, or open to entertaining them.

ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony has spent the preceding days, weeks and months evaluating the players, potential team fits and considering all of the biggest questions, and weighs in with his most recent 1-58 draft projections.

(Note: the updated mock draft reflects the announcement Tuesday that NC State’s Terquavion Smith (previously projected to be selected No. 26 by the Dallas Mavericks) has withdrawn his name from the 2022 NBA draft.)


Jabari Smith
Auburn
SF/PF
Age: 19.0

The Magic will cast a wide net in exploring whom to select with the top pick, and will bring in the draft’s top three prospects — Smith, Holmgren and Banchero — for in-person meetings. Most NBA teams are operating under the assumption that Smith will end up hearing his name called here, as he fits both the front office and coaching staff’s philosophy for what they look for in a prospect. He is also an outstanding fit for a Magic team that badly struggled to space the floor effectively last season. Smith was arguably the most dynamic shooter in college, converting 42% of his 3-pointers despite standing 6-foot-10. He’s a highly versatile defender who plays with outstanding intensity, switching all over the floor with quick feet and impressive energy, giving the Magic the ability to play in a variety of lineup configurations with their existing players.

Chet Holmgren
Gonzaga
PF
Age: 20.0

The Thunder do as good of a job as any team at keeping their intentions hidden, and they are also doing their homework with a pool that includes Holmgren, Banchero, Ivey and Sharpe. Most teams feel that Holmgren ultimately will be the pick, as he both fits a significant need in the frontcourt and also has a strong case to be considered the most talented player in the draft. Holmgren is the draft’s biggest difference-maker defensively, a force on the glass and a rim protector who also shot 39% from 3 and brings significant upside as a passer, finisher and shot-creator. With a low-key, low-maintenance personality, Holmgren looks like the type of player who would be happy to make Oklahoma City his home long-term as long as the Thunder are winning games.

Paolo Banchero
Duke
PF/C
Age: 19.5

The Rockets pick third in what many consider to be a three-player draft, making this a relatively easy choice on face value. Ivey’s candidacy is also under consideration here, as the idea of constructing arguably the most explosive backcourt in the NBA is said to be intriguing for Rockets brass. But it will be difficult to pass on what many consider to be the draft’s most skilled offensive player — a 6-10, shot-creating dynamo in Banchero who can carry a significant load with his ability to handle, pass and shoot. Banchero’s playmaking ability should pair well with the explosive transition scoring and shot-making ability Jalen Green offers. Banchero could start next to a more traditional big man (Alperen Sengun) or operate alongside another perimeter-oriented big man (Christian Wood), making Banchero a strong fit for the Rockets long-term.

Jaden Ivey
Purdue
PG/SG
Age: 20.2

The Kings were thrilled to move up three spots in the draft lottery, but now have a difficult decision in front of them. Opinions are split greatly among NBA executives at this point regarding who the best prospect is at this spot in the draft, and there’s no clear home run candidate for what makes sense with Sacramento’s existing players. On top of that, the Kings may not be viewed by agents as the most attractive situation for their clients either, which could prevent them from getting a full view of their options in terms of private workouts and medicals. That’s one of the reasons some teams feel this pick is attainable in a trade if an established veteran who could help the Kings make a playoff push is available.

5. Detroit Pistons

Keegan Murray
Iowa
PF/C
Age: 21.7

The Pistons would likely be disappointed to see Ivey off the board in this scenario. Still, drafting the most productive player in college basketball this season in Murray would be an excellent consolation prize, as he looks like a day-one contributor ready to step into the void left by Jerami Grant, whose future with the Pistons looks uncertain. Murray’s cerebral approach and steady demeanor should fit in well with franchise building block Cade Cunningham with his dynamic shooting ability, how he ignites the break off the defensive glass, and the versatility he brings defensively. Sharpe will also get a long look here, but he will need to have a strong showing in a competitive private workout setting to solidify his standing at this slot.

Dyson Daniels
G League Ignite
PG/SG
Age: 19.1

The Pacers have their starting backcourt with Tyrese Haliburton and Malcolm Brogdon, but are in full-fledged talent-acquisition mode and will be thinking hard about selecting the best long-term prospect they can acquire with this pick. Adding a versatile guard who can play in a variety of lineup configurations and do a little bit of everything could be attractive here, especially with Brogdon rumored to be available to other teams in the lottery such as the Wizards (No. 10 pick) and Knicks (No. 11 pick) who may be looking for more of an immediate contributor.

Shaedon Sharpe
Kentucky
SG
Age: 18.9

The Blazers are early in their rebuilding process and can afford to swing for the fences for a prospect some consider to have the highest upside of any player in the draft. Sharpe is oozing with talent, possessing elite physical tools with his exceptional frame, length and explosiveness, to go along with dynamic perimeter shooting ability. There was a reason Sharpe was the No. 1-ranked player in his high school class, but his lack of experience and how little he has been evaluated might make it difficult for a team picking higher than this to roll the dice on him.

Bennedict Mathurin
Arizona
SF
Age: 19.9

With a healthy core of talent already in place for the Pelicans, including significant star power and excellent role players, adding a dynamic shooter with versatility such as Mathurin could make plenty of sense here. The Pelicans really struggled to space the floor effectively at times last season, ranking among the NBA’s worst 3-point shooting teams in both makes and accuracy. An All-American who excels coming off screens and operating in the open court, Mathurin can play either wing spot and has plenty of upside to grow into at just 19 years old.

Jalen Duren
Memphis
C
Age: 18.5

The Spurs have focused heavily on adding perimeter pieces in the draft the past few years, with Devin Vassell, Joshua Primo, Lonnie Walker IV and Keldon Johnson forming a solid backcourt core with Dejounte Murray. They may look to the frontcourt in this draft, where they don’t have quite as much depth. Duren is the most physically gifted big man in this class, bringing impressive finishing prowess as well as outstanding defensive potential as both a rim-protector and guarding pick-and-roll. As the youngest player in this class, he has considerable upside to grow into as well.

Johnny Davis
Wisconsin
PG/SG
Age: 20.2

The Wizards will certainly look to improve their backcourt, both in the draft and free agency, after cycling through a cascade of guards in an injury-plagued season. Davis brings many of the winning intangibles the Wizards should be looking for with his defensive versatility, unselfishness and ability to score with or without the ball. He would fit well alongside the ball-dominant Bradley Beal and looks ready to contribute immediately coming off an All-America season, despite being relatively young at 20. Some NBA executives believe this pick could be available in a trade for a more immediate impact guard.

AJ Griffin
Duke
SF/PF
Age: 18.7

Coming off a disappointing season, the Knicks desperately need to upgrade at point guard but lack great options to choose from. Trading this pick for an immediate contributor — i.e. Malcolm Brogdon — could be attractive here. If they decide to keep it, drafting a player such as Griffin, who is arguably the best shooter in the class after making 45% of his 3-pointers, could make sense. His 7-foot wingspan gives him significant potential defensively, he’s one of the youngest players in the draft, and he plays one of the most coveted positions in the modern NBA.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Clippers)

Ousmane Dieng
NZ Breakers
SF/PF
Age: 19.0

The Thunder can afford to be patient and take a swing on a high-upside prospect such as Dieng, who has the type of positional size, feel for the game and versatility the front office typically values. A fluid wing with ample size to slide to the power forward position as his frame fills out, Dieng hit his stride as the Australian NBL season progressed, flashing dynamic shot-making ability, vision operating out of pick-and-roll and the ability to guard multiple positions. Not yet 19, Dieng isn’t particularly close to being ready to help a team win games, but that might not be the worst thing for the Thunder.

Mark Williams
Duke
C
Age: 20.4

The Hornets have been seeking a legitimate rim-protecting, lob-catching center to pair with LaMelo Ball from the moment they drafted the pick-and-roll maestro, and could very well be attracted to Williams, with whom they’ll be very familiar from down the road in Durham. Williams led college basketball in dunks last season, won ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors and made considerable progress as a sophomore.

Malaki Branham
Ohio State
SG
Age: 19.0

The Cavs will be looking to add firepower on the wing this offseason, both in free agency and in the draft. Branham’s frame, length, scoring instincts and shot-making prowess off the dribble (44%) and with his feet set (43%) make his game look seamlessly translatable for what the NBA is looking for at his position. He started the season slowly but looked like one of the most talented perimeter players in the country down the stretch, carrying Ohio State offensively, and in a highly efficient manner.

15. Charlotte Hornets (via Pelicans)

Ochai Agbaji
Kansas
SF
Age: 22.1

While the frontcourt will surely be an area for improvement this offseason, adding depth on the wing should also be a priority, as starting small forward Gordon Hayward is often injured and backup Kelly Oubre Jr. is entering the final season of his contract. Agbaji is one of the best shooters in the draft who looks like a relatively plug-and-play, 3-and-D prospect who comes off a national championship in which he won the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. The fact that he’s 22 years old may make him even more attractive to the Hornets, who are clearly looking for immediate results after firing coach James Borrego.

Jeremy Sochan
Baylor
PF
Age: 19.0

The Hawks are one of the NBA’s deeper teams on paper, and it may not be easy for any rookie to crack their rotation next season. Atlanta has plenty of offense but really struggled to get stops last season, ranking among the NBA’s worst in defensive efficiency. Sochan brings some different dimensions — the team could be attracted to his ability to defend all over the floor, pass the ball effectively and slide up or down positions depending on the matchup. The Polish national has plenty of upside to grow into at 18 years old.

17. Houston Rockets

TyTy Washington Jr.
Kentucky
PG/SG
Age: 20.5

NBA opinions are mixed regarding the long-term future of Kevin Porter Jr. in Houston, after what’s been a roller-coaster ride of a short career thus far. Adding another steady-handed guard in the backcourt who can play with or without the ball, excels in pick-and-roll and is a strong perimeter shooter makes some sense here, especially since Washington has the size and length to play in many different lineup configurations.

Tari Eason
LSU
PF
Age: 21.0

The Bulls need to add depth in the frontcourt and shore up their defense, which ranked second-worst last season among playoff teams. Eason is one of the most explosive and productive players in the draft, putting consistent pressure on opposing defenses with his quick first step, physicality and insatiable intensity, characteristics that allow him to live at the free throw line. These same traits helped make him one of the most versatile defenders in college, a magnet for steals, blocks and rebounds who flew all over the floor in LSU’s suffocating press while rotating from guarding point guards to big men.

Nikola Jovic
Mega Mozzart
SF
Age: 18.9

After an encouraging season, the Timberwolves might look to bolster their depth at the forward spots with another dynamic shooter who doesn’t need the ball, can facilitate for others and has upside to grow into long-term. Jovic has excellent size at 6-10, a strong feel for the game and could slide nicely between Jaden McDaniels and Jarred Vanderbilt while not detracting from the Timberwolves’ core of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns.

20. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors)

Jalen Williams
Santa Clara
SF
Age: 21.1

With three first-round picks at their disposal and a roster that is far from settled, the Spurs can afford to take a long view in selecting the best player available regardless of positional fit. Williams has been one of the big winners of the pre-draft process so far, starting with his outstanding measurements (6-6, 209 pounds with a 7-2 wingspan) and continuing with his strong play at the NBA combine scrimmages and at his pro day, where he excelled in 3-on-3 action. Williams brings the type of defensive versatility, perimeter shooting and off-court intangibles the franchise typically values, and looks like a good fit alongside any of the Spurs existing players.

Kennedy Chandler
Tennessee
PG
Age: 19.6

With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back in the fold next season alongside MVP Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon, adding quality depth in the backcourt looks like a priority for the Nuggets. After a rocky start, Chandler emerged as one of the premier point guards in the college game in the second half of the season, showing blazing speed, dynamic ballhandling and passing ability, and an increasingly consistent pull-up jumper. His measurements (6-1, 172 pounds with a 6-5¼ wingspan) are what might keep him out of the lottery position his talent suggests, but didn’t prevent him from playing outstanding defense and leading the SEC in steals. The fact that he proved capable of playing off the ball in two- and three-guard lineups should be attractive as well.

Jaden Hardy
G League Ignite
SG
Age: 19.8

The Grizzlies have drafted extremely well and now have a stacked roster of contributors to choose from, giving them the flexibility to draft more of a long-term prospect. Hardy entered the year as a potential top-five pick and still has plenty of upside to tap into as a shot-making, instinctual scorer who is still only 19. Adding more shooting alongside Ja Morant will always be an attractive proposition for the Grizzlies, but Hardy has the type of scoring talent that could allow him to anchor a bench unit down the road if he continues to progress with his frame and decision-making.

23. Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers; Nets can defer to 2023)

E.J. Liddell
Ohio State
PF
Age: 21.4

The Nets have until June 1 to decide whether to keep this pick or defer it to 2023 and allow Philadelphia to draft here, with no decision likely to come until the last minute. Most NBA teams are operating under the assumption that the Nets will punt to 2023 and gamble on the Sixers sending an even better pick next year if the wheels come off in Philadelphia. Both teams could very well look at adding a versatile big man like Liddell who can protect the rim, switch on the perimeter and has a high floor as a prospect after improving his shooting significantly as a junior. His productivity and toughness make him a solid option for teams looking to win now that need to find value on rookie-scale contracts.

Walker Kessler
Auburn
C
Age: 20.8

With 34-year old Brook Lopez struggling with injuries all season and Bobby Portis potentially entering free agency, it would certainly make sense to look to this position as an option to add a young prospect on a rookie-scale deal. The Bucks are in win-now mode and would be well-served adding a player who can step in and contribute immediately, as they don’t have a great deal of flexibility with their salary-cap situation. Kessler was the best defender in college basketball this season, a force as a rim protector who also brings upside as a pick-and-roll finisher and even as a perimeter shooter.

25. San Antonio Spurs (via Celtics)

Caleb Houstan
Michigan
SF
Age: 19.3

One of the big mysteries of the 2022 NBA draft is where Houstan, once a projected top-10 pick, ends up. Houstan declined his invite to the NBA combine, indicating there might be something to the rumors of a first-round promise, or that Houstan has a landing spot with which he’s comfortable. Houstan’s positional size, defensive awareness and perimeter shooting gives him a high floor as a prospect, despite his disappointing freshman season at Michigan.

Trevor Keels
Duke
PG/SG
Age: 18.7

With Jalen Brunson entering unrestricted free agency, the Mavericks might look at improving their backcourt depth through the draft. Keels is the type of big, versatile guard head coach Jason Kidd likes and would make sense pairing alongside a superstar ball handler in Luka Doncic. Keels is one of the youngest prospects in the draft and brings the type of toughness, feel for the game and winning spirit that bodes well for his long-term projection.

Dalen Terry
Arizona
PG/SG
Age: 19.8

Few teams have been as successful drafting in the first round as the Heat have over the past few years. The team seems to prioritize finding young players who fit their mentality culturally and have room to grow in their strong player development infrastructure. Terry has been one of the big winners of the pre-draft process so far, impressing teams with his character on and off the court while dropping glimpses of significant versatility and upside he can grow into at just 19-years old.

Christian Braun
Kansas
SG/SF
Age: 21.1

The Warriors’ luxury tax situation makes it imperative they find contributors on cheap rookie-scale contracts, something they’ve proved capable of doing with several shrewd picks. Braun looks like a plug-and-play wing who brings lockdown defense, passing ability, excellent rebounding and is a career 38% 3-point shooter in college. His lack of ballhandling and a slow release on his jumper lowers his ceiling somewhat, but Braun is exactly the type of role-playing, two-way wing many NBA teams are actively seeking these days.

29. Memphis Grizzlies

MarJon Beauchamp
G League Ignite
SG/SF
Age: 21.6

The Grizzlies have proven to be one of the shrewdest teams in the NBA the past few years in terms of using their draft capital. With a loaded roster, it remains to be seen how attractive adding another two first-round picks will be, but Beauchamp’s ability to defend multiple positions, score without having plays called for him and do the dirty work to help a team win games could be attractive, as well as the fact that he’s already 21 years old and has pro experience under his belt.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Suns)

Blake Wesley
Notre Dame
SG
Age: 19.2

The Thunder have precious few roster spots at their disposal and four draft picks (three first-rounders), meaning there is a chance they won’t be making this selection ultimately. Wesley is a physically gifted, instinctual scorer who excels in the open court and creating off the dribble. His youth and tools give him plenty of upside to grow into on both ends of the floor, which could very well be attractive at this stage of the draft.


Second round

31. Pacers (via Rockets)

Andrew Nembhard | Gonzaga | PG | Age: 22.3

32. Magic

Jake LaRavia | Wake Forest | PF | Age: 20.5

33. Raptors (via Pistons)

Peyton Watson | UCLA | SF/PF | Age: 19.7

34. Thunder

Kendall Brown | Baylor | SF | Age: 19.0

35. Magic (via Pacers)

Bryce McGowens | Nebraska | SF | Age: 19.5

36. Trail Blazers

Patrick Baldwin Jr. | Milwaukee | SF/PF | Age: 19.5

37. Kings

Wendell Moore Jr. | Duke | SF | Age: 20.6

38. Spurs (via Lakers)

Khalifa Diop | Gran Canaria | C | Age: 20.3

39. Cavaliers (via Spurs)

Hugo Besson | NZ Breakers | PG/SG | Age: 21.0

40. Timberwolves (via Wizards)

Ismael Kamagate | Paris | C | Age: 21.3

41. Pelicans

Leonard Miller | Fort Erie International Academy | SF/PF | Age: 18.5

42. Knicks

Christian Koloko | Arizona | C | Age: 21.9

43. Clippers

Ryan Rollins | Toledo | SG | Age: 19.9

44. Hawks

Justin Lewis | Marquette | SF/PF | Age: 20.1

45. Hornets

Max Christie | Michigan State | SG | Age: 19.2

46. Pistons (via Nets)

Jaylin Williams | Arkansas | C | Age: 19.9

47. Grizzlies (via Cavaliers)

David Roddy | Colorado St | PF | Age: 21.1

48. Timberwolves

JD Davison | Alabama | PG | Age: 19.6

49. Kings (from Bulls)

Josh Minott | Memphis | PF | Age: 19.5

50. Timberwolves (from Nuggets)

Jean Montero | Overtime Elite | PG/SG | Age: 18.9

51. Warriors

Dominick Barlow | Overtime Elite | PF/C | Age: 19.0

52. Pelicans (via Jazz)

Michael Foster | G League Ignite | PF | Age: 19.3

53. Celtics

Gabriele Procida | Fortitudo Bologna | SG | Age: 19.9

54. Wizards (via Mavericks)

Trevion Williams | Purdue | C | Age: 21.6

55. Warriors

Dereon Seabron | NC State | SG | Age: 22.0

56. Cavaliers (via Heat)

Yannick Nzosa | Unicaja Malaga | C | Age: 18.5

57. Trail Blazers (via Grizzlies)

Ron Harper Jr. | Rutgers | SF/PF | Age: 22.1

58. Pacers (via Suns)

Matteo Spagnolo | Cremona | PG | Age: 19.3


Note: The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat each lost a second-round draft pick after an NBA investigation revealed premature discussions into the free agency of guards Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry.

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and International teams.



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