JACKSON: 2022 NBA mock draft


Liam Jackson, Sports Editor

The 2022 NBA Draft class does not have a player that is the consensus No. 1 overall selection. There is no Cade Cunningham, Zion Williamson or Anthony Davis. 

What this draft class will provide is an entertaining draft night. While the top three players seem to be universally placed in a tier of their own, the rest of the draft order is anyone’s guess.

Without further ado, let’s try our best to predict what will happen in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft.

  1. Orlando Magic

Pick: Chet Holmgren (Freshman, Gonzaga)

Position: Forward | Height: 7’0’’ | Weight: 195 | Age: 20

Last year’s stats: 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists

Why is Holmgren the pick … The term “unicorn” is used too freely to describe prospects nowadays. However, Holmgren truly is a unicorn. A seven-footer who can grab a rebound, sprinkle in a behind-the-back dribble and drain a pull-up three in transition is a unicorn. Defensively, he can be a menace from the help side and even is nimble enough to switch onto some guards in a switching system. The obvious weakness is Holmgren’s frame, but he has overcome this with toughness and smart positioning defensively at Gonzaga.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder

Pick: Jabari Smith Jr. (Freshman, Auburn)

Position: Forward | Height: 6’10’’ | Weight: 210 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2 assists

Why is Smith Jr. the pick … Smith may just be the best shooter in the 2022 draft and he is nearly seven feet tall. He has incredible tough shot making ability and can even provide some rim protection at times. Smith can be a great pick and pop threat for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey from day one. 

  1. Houston Rockets

Pick: Paolo Banchero (Freshman, Duke)

Position: Forward | Height: 6’10’’ | Weight: 250 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists

Why is Banchero the pick … Houston may have the easiest decision in the draft if Banchero falls into its lap. A two-man game between Jalen Green and Banchero would be deadly offensively. Banchero is a 6 foot 10 forward with a handle that would be impressive for a smaller guard. He can make high level reads when he decides to pass and if he can get his shot to fall consistently he can become the best player in the 2022 class.

  1. Sacramento Kings

Pick: Jaden Ivey (Sophomore, Purdue)

Position: Guard | Height: 6’4’’ | Weight: 200 | Age: 20

Last year’s stats: 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists

Why is Ivey the pick … The Kings do not need another guard, but instead of trying to draft for need, Sacramento simply takes the best player available here and figures it out later. Ivey is an incredible athlete that can blow by defenders and finish strong at the rim. He was also a capable three point shooter last season and shot 36% from downtown.

  1. Detroit Pistons

Pick: Keegan Murray (Sophomore, Iowa)

Position: Forward | Height: 6’8’’ | Weight: 225 | Age: 21

Last year’s stats: 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists

Why is Murray the pick … The Pistons traded Jerami Grant to Portland on Wednesday to open up more cap space. This move also leaves a hole at the four and Murray will be able to slide right in. He will be an older rookie, but he can come in and be NBA ready from day one. Cade Cunningham will be able to fit right in next to Murray in transition and as a cutter and pick and roll partner.

  1. Indiana Pacers

Pick: Bennedict Mathurin (Sophomore, Arizona) 

Position: Guard | Height: 6’6’’ | Weight: 210 | Age: 20

Last year’s stats: 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists

Why is Mathurin the pick … Mathurin’s skillset is ideal for a modern NBA shooting guard. He is able to get a good quantity of three pointers up and shot over 38% from deep at Arizona. He is also a great cutter and good athlete off the ball which fits perfectly alongside Tyrese Haliburton.

  1. Portland Trailblazers

Pick: A.J. Griffin (Freshman, Duke)

Position: Guard | Height: 6’6’’ | Weight: 222 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists

Why is Griffin the pick … Damian Lillard has made it abundantly clear that he wants to win in Portland and not take part in a rebuild. With this in mind, Griffin makes a lot of sense. Although he is a younger prospect, Griffin’s play style allows him to fit a role as a three point shooter from day one. He shot nearly 45% from deep in his lone season at Duke.

  1. New Orleans Pelicans

Pick: Shaedon Sharpe (Freshman, Kentucky)

Position: Guard | Height: 6’6’’ | Weight: 200 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: N/A

Why is Sharpe the pick … Sharpe is the mystery man in the 2022 class. He sat out at Kentucky last season after joining the team during the season. New Orleans is a good team that will likely not ne drafting this high for quite some time. Taking Sharpe here is a big swing that could allow the Pelicans to land an explosive athlete to pair with Zion Williamson. Sharpe’s game is similar to Jalen Green’s and if he reaches his potential in New Orleans he could elevate the team to a title contender. 

  1. San Antonio Spurs

Pick: Dyson Daniels (G-League Ignite)

Position: Forward: | Height: 6’7’’ | Weight: 185 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists

Why is Daniels the pick …  San Antonio is an ideal landing spot for Daniels. He has proven himself as the best prospect on the G-League Ignite by defending at an elite level. Daniels has impressive foot speed and good length which allowed him to average over two steals a game last season. Offensively, he projects as a secondary playmaker and if his shot develops he could turn out to be a steal at nine. 

  1. Washington Wizards

Pick: Johnny Davis (Sophomore, Wisconsin)

Position: Wing | Height: 6’5’’ | Weight: 194 | Age: 20

Last year’s stats: 19.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists

Why is Davis the pick … The Wizards are in a weird spot as a franchise. Uncertainty surrounding Bradley Beal’s future is a cloud over the team’s future. Davis is capable of playing with or without Beal and can score in isolation. He will bring energy to a Wizards team and add to a collection of young role players.

  1. New York Knicks

Pick: Jalen Duren (Freshman, Memphis)

Position: Center | Height: 6’10’’ | Weight: 250 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 12 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists

Why is Duren the pick … Duren was not maximized in his lone season at Memphis. He rarely played with a true point guard and the roster was in flux. With that being said, Duren is the most physically imposing prospect of the class. He can carve out space down low and clean up misses on the offensive glass. With Mitchell Robinson potentially playing elsewhere next season, Duren can take over as the rim protector and lob threat for the Knicks.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder

Pick: Ousmane Dieng (New Zealand Breakers, NBL)

Position: Forward | Height: 6’10’’ | Weight: 205 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 8.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists

Why is Dieng the pick … The Thunder have a treasure trove of picks and if they don’t plan on consolidating some a project pick with Dieng makes sense. Dieng played professionally in Australia and while his stats may not jump off the page, he showed more than a few flashes. If he is able fill out his frame and acquire a reliable jumper Dieng will be find a spot in the rotation.

  1. Charlotte Hornets

Pick: Mark Williams (Sophomore, Duke)

Position: Center | Height: 6’10’’ | Weight: 242 | Age: 20

Last year’s stats: 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists

Why is Williams the Pick … Charlotte has been searching for a center for a few years. Williams is the type of player that can hide a lot of defensive problems from perimeter players with his elite rim protection. He also adds vertical spacing from the dunker’s spot for potential LaMelo Ball lobs on the offensive end.

  1. Cleveland Caveliers

Pick: Malaki Branham (Freshman, Ohio State)

Position: Wing | Height: 6’5’’ | Weight: 180 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2 assists

Why is Branham the pick … Branham’s stock rose exponentially during the second half of his freshman season. He is not a positive on defense, but Cleveland does not need more defense on the wing. Branham can get to his spots on offense and score efficiently. 

  1. Charlotte Hornets

Pick: Tari Eason (Sophomore, LSU)

Position: Forward | Height: 6’8’’ | Weight: 216 | Age: 21

Last year’s stats: 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1 assist

Why is Eason the pick … Similar to the Williams pick at No. 13, Eason excels defensively. He was also extremely dangerous in transition and can finish through contact and above the rim. Ball would be thrilled to pick up two defensive minded players that he can run the floor with on the break. 

  1. Atlanta Hawks

Pick: Dalen Terry (Sophomore, Arizona)

Position: Guard | Height: 6’7’’ | Weight: 195 | Age: 20

Last year’s stats: 8 points, 4.8 rebounds. 3.9 assists

Why is Terry the pick … Terry is an intriguing guard prospect with a lot of size. He fits well in Atlanta due to his ability to play off the ball and be a secondary playmaker and cutter next to Trae Young. He can also be a facilitator for a bench unit while adding great defensive versatility at the point of attack. 

  1. Houston Rockets

Pick: TyTy Washington (Freshman, Kentucky)

Position: Guard | Height: 6’4’’ | Weight: 197 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists

Why is Washington the pick …  Houston played Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green in the backcourt last season. Neither are natural point guards. Washington plays like a traditional point guard and could add a spark as a playmaker in the guard rotation. 

  1. Chicago Bulls

Pick: E.J. Lidell (Junior, Ohio State)

Position: Forward | Height: 6’7’’ | Weight: 241 | Age: 21

Last year’s stats: 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists

Why is Liddell the pick … Quite frankly, Liddell is a winning player. He is not the most impressive athlete, but he can slot right into Chicago’s rotation and contribute. He showed potential as a jump shooter with potential to stretch out to the three point line with time. Defensively Liddell is a play finisher with his ability to box out and grab rebounds.

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick: Jeremy Sochan (Freshman, Baylor)

Position: Forward | Height: 6’9’’ | Weight: 230 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists

Why is Sochan the pick … If Sochan is available at this point in the draft it would considered highway robbery. Sochan is the archatype of a role player who shines in the playoffs. He is a 6 foot 9 and can switch onto just about anyone defensively. Sochan is a good rebounder and also a willing passer as well.

  1. San Antonio Spurs

Pick: Jalen Williams (Junior, Santa Clara)

Position: Wing | Height: 6’6’’ | Weight: 190 | Age: 21

Last year’s stats: 18 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists

Why is Williams the pick … Williams shot up draft boards this season. At 6 foot 6, he checks a lot of boxes. Williams is a good shooter at every level, he has a wingspan over seven feet, he is a good playmaker and can defend multiple positions.

  1. Denver Nuggets

Pick: Ochai Abaji (Senior, Kansas)

Position: Wing | Height: 6’6’’ | Weight: 215 | Age: 22

Last year’s stats: 18.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists

Why is Abaji the pick … The Nuggets have the core of their team set and the two time MVP in Nikola Jokic. Abaji fits perfectly into Denver as a shooter with championchip pedigree. While his ceiling may not be as high as a lot of players left, at worst Abaji will carve a role for himself and make winning plays.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies

Pick: Blake Wesley (Freshman, Notre Dame)

Position: Guard | Height: 6’5’’ | Weight: 185 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 14.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists

Why is Wesley the pick … Wesley is a bigger guard who has the ability to be a lead ball handler in a pick and roll and make correct decisions whether that be making the right pass or taking it to the basket. Although he may not be able to defend wings or bigs, Wesley is a capable, if not good, defender at the point of attack.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick: Jaden Hardy (G League Ignite)

Position: Guard | Height: 6’4’’ | Weight: 190 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 21.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists

Why is Hardy the pick … Scoring is in Hardy’s DNA. He struggled in his first few months of the G League, but found a groove to finish the season. Hardy has the potential to become a sparkplug in the league if in the right scenario and if he becomes more efficient. Shooting 88% from the free throw line is an indicator that his shot will come around in time.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks

Pick: Jake LaRavia (Junior, Wake Forest)

Position: Forward | Height: 6’8’’ | Weight: 235 | Age: 20

Last year’s stats: 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists

Why is LaRavia the pick …  LaRavia’s stock has risen since a discrepancy about his age has been cleared up. His offensive ability at 6 foot 8 will be intriguing for teams picking late in the first round.

  1. San Antonio Spurs

Pick: Ismael Kamagate (Paris Basketball, LNB Pro A)

Position: Center | Height: 6’11’’ | Weight: 227 | Age: 21

Last year’s stats: 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists

Why is Kamagate the pick … Robert Williams burst on the scene defensively this season for Boston. Kamagate is a project pick, but the upside of a defensive minded center that provides vertical spacing is definitely there. He averaged almost two blocks per game in France.

  1. Houston Rockets

Pick: Walker Kessler (Sophomore, Auburn)

Position: Center | Height: 7’0’’ | Weight: 245 | Age: 21

Last year’s stats: 11.4 points. 8.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists

Why is Kessler the pick … Kessler is a defensive minded center who spends most of his time protecting the rim on defense. Houston’s recent draft picks have been spent on offensive minded players so Kessler can add another element from the second unit.

  1. Miami Heat

Pick: Kennedy Chandler (Freshman, Tennessee)

Position: Guard | Height: 6’1’’ | Weight: 171 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 13.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists

Why is Chandler the pick … Miami fought through injuries in the playoffs and were at a loss for ball handlers at times. Chandler is capable of running a second unit and being another playmaker on the floor with Jimmy Butler at times. Chandler excels around the rim despite his smaller frame.

  1. Golden State Warriors

Pick: Christian Braun (Junior, Kansas)

Position: Wing | Height: 6’6’’ | Weight: 216 | Age: 21

Last year’s stats: 14.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists

Why is Braun the pick … Golden State is coming off another championship, solidifying them as an all-time dynasty. They already have young talent with high ceilings. Braun is a safe pick that can come in right away and score off the bench. 

  1. Memphis Grizzlies

Pick: Ryan Rollins (Sophomore, Toledo)

Position: Guard | Height: 6’4’’ | Weight: 180 | Age: 20

Last year’s stats: 18.9 points, 6 rebounds, 3.6 assists

Why is Rollins the pick … Rollins is an energetic guard that can provide instant offense for a bench unit. He is an excellent mid range player who can create for himself in a half court setting. Memphis has developed players better than most teams in the league and Rollins can flourish if put in the right situation.

  1. Denver Nuggets

Pick: Nikola Jovic (Mega Soccerbet, ABA Adriatic)

Position: Forward | Height: 6’10’’ | Weight: 205 | Age: 19

Last year’s stats: 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist

Why is Jovic the pick … Jovic projects as a stretch four in the NBA. He shot 40% from three last season and took almost four a game. Defense is an issue for Jovic due to his slower feet and smaller frame but the offensive potential may be too intriguing to pass up. Plus, Nikola Jovic playing with Nikola Jokic would be awesome.