The first 14 picks are secure, meaning we can make an NBA Mock Draft placing these talented prospects on these teams.
The odds were in the Orlando Magic’s favor, as they have an opportunity to select first in this draft in hopes of taking a player that will bring them to the promised land. As workouts start, we have briefly been able to see players make their mark, and in this 2022 NBA Mock Draft, we will predict where each of these potential future stars can land.
1) Orlando Magic- Chet Holmgren: C (Gonzaga)
It’s not often you have the opportunity to draft a 7’0 guy who shoots almost 40% from three and blocks almost 4 shots a game, but here is Chet. Chet silenced the doubters who questioned whether his thin frame could translate to the next level, and while there are still many doubters his potential as a player in the NBA is undoubtful.
The Magic really don’t have a gaping need, but with Mo Bamba hitting free agency soon they could use another center. Pairing him with talented young players like Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony could lead to another season to build off of.
2) Oklahoma City Thunder- Paolo Banchero: PF (Duke)
This is honestly a toss-up between Banchero and Jabari Smith, but it comes down to personal preference and I think Banchero is a wee bit better in terms of potential. With that being said, we all know Thunder values potential over anything. Banchero is a really talented all-around player and showed many glimpses of high-level NBA skills in his one season at Duke.
Thunder have two lottery picks, and this is a great way to start. They are building a solid foundation right now, with Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous Alexander being an elite young backcourt. With the addition of Banchero, we could see the Thunder competing for a play-in spot next year and even more in years to come.
3) Houston Rockets- Jabari Smith: PF (Auburn)
As I mentioned, the Rockets will get whichever of the two the Thunder don’t take. Smith is an elite 3-point shooter for being 6’10 has shown he has good athleticism, most notably that dunk during the first weekend of March Madness shown above. Smith gets a little too comfortable behind the line at times, but that’s something he can fix.
Having a three-point combo of Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, and Jabari Smith could be must-see TV. Having size in that lineup will translate well, and while defense might not be at the premium level, they should have enough scoring firepower to win games.
4) Sacramento Kings- Shaedon Sharpe: SG/SF (Kentucky)
This pick is extremely tricky. Jaden Ivey seems like the clear pick here since he is the clear best player remaining, however, we saw the Kings draft a guard with two already then proceed to trade one at the deadline just last season. So with this process, they either go wing or center, and Sharpe is the best in that category. Sharpe is a mystery since he never played in college, but based on the film and the combine we can conclude that he has a really fluid game and can translate into a really talented play.
Don’t be surprised as well if the Kings trade down with a team who desperately could use Ivey and take a center.
5) Detroit Pistons- Jaden Ivey: PG/SG (Purdue)
Ivey is by far the most athletic player in the draft, and his explosiveness on offense is unbelievable. Defenders are going to have a really tough time guarding him, and that three-point shot improved a lot last year, making him even more dangerous as an all-around player.
Pairing him and Cade Cunningham together will be a lot of fun. Cunningham could set Ivey up for success time and time again, and with no gaping needs for the Pistons, taking the best player available has to be the move here.
6) Indiana Pacers- Keegan Murray: PF (Iowa)
You can argue that Murray was the best player in college basketball last season and has the highest floor in the NBA Draft. He can score at all three levels and gets it done on both sides of the floor. His only flaws really are that he’s older than the options above and he probably doesn’t have superstar potential. Regardless, he’s someone who can help from Day 1 and be a great player in the NBA.
The Pacers traded away all-star power forward Domantas Sabonis at the trade deadline and replace him with Murray. On paper, this team has enough talent to compete, with Tyrese Haliburton as the main guy, and guy players like Myles Turner, Chris Duarte, and Buddy Hield as well.
7) Portland Trail Blazers- AJ Griffin: SF (Duke)
Griffin is a terrific three-point shooter and can change the flow of a game with that as we saw in the Arkansas game. Griffin is a project for sure, but if used correctly could be a quality player in the NBA. It seems like the Trail Blazers are rebuilding without trading Damian Lillard, so they will have time to develop Griffin, and Lillard could be a great mentor for him.
8) New Orleans Pelicans- Bennedict Mathurin: SG (Arizona)
There aren’t many more players in the country who play with more energy than Benn Mathurin. He was the key reason why Arizona was able to surpass expectations during the regular season and become a top two team in the country. His shooting splits are average, but there’s room to grow and with his contagious energy, he will make the team better.
The Pelicans suddenly find themselves in a win now situation after they made the playoffs without Zion Williamson all season. Mathurin and Alvarado serve as solid backup guards and expect Devonte’ Graham to be traded in order to make room for Mathurin. With the depth and star power the Pelicans have next year, they could be a top team.
9) San Antonio Spurs- Jalen Duren: C (Memphis)
Duren continued to improve as the season went on after a slow start, and equally matched up with projected #1 pick Chet Holmgren when they faced off in the Round of 32. At 6’11 and 250 pounds, he has a clear NBA frame and will easily hold his own against big body NBA centers. His biggest flaw is no outside game, but his positives outweigh the negatives.
It seems like the Spurs want to go center here, with their backcourt already being solid, and Duren seems like the best bet here. Spurs need a big body down low so Duren will fit in well and with the mentorship of one of the best big men of all time Tim Duncan, he can become yet another elite Spurs pick.
10) Washington Wizards- Dyson Daniels: PG/SG (G-League Ignite)
Like we see with a lot of G-League guys, the stats aren’t there but the skill set is. Daniels is a terrific defender and has nice finishing and playmaking skills. He’s not a win-now type of player but is a project worth investing in.
The Wizards are in need of young guards and Daniels is just that. He can play both positions, so whether they decide to move on from Bradley Beal or not they are set.
11) New York Knicks- Johnny Davis: SG (Wisconsin)
Davis might be one of the best examples of all time of the benefits of staying an extra year of college. He went from an undrafted guy to the lottery and for a good reason. He is an elite scorer when he can drive and is extremely sneaky in the passing lanes. An injury at the end of the season slowed him down a lot but we have enough of a sample size to know how good he really is.
The Knicks are stuck in the middle at the moment and need guys like Davis who can be leaders on the court. Knicks are trying to build a younger core, so having Davis, Immanuel Quickley, and first-round picks from last year Quentin Grimes and Duece McBride could be a step in the right direction.
12) Oklahoma City Thunder- Jeremy Sochan: SF/PF (Baylor)
Sochan has a lot of untapped potential that a team like OKC will find very appealing. He showed off many flashes of high NBA potential, but still makes a lot of mistakes that will probably find him outside the top 10. If all goes right though, he could be a top 5 player in this draft.
Thunder are still not in win now mode with the talent they have, but with the additions of Paolo and Sochan they could find themselves in playoff contention sooner than later.
13) Charlotte Hornets- Mark Williams: C (Duke)
At 7’2 and 242 lbs, Williams is an absolute beast of a human being, and he shows that on the court. He bullies his defender in the paint and shoots at a high mark, 72% from both the field and the line. On defense, he’s equally talented, averaging almost three blocks a game.
Every year, it seems like Charlotte’s biggest need is center, and every year they take someone else. This year, with a guy like Williams available, will be a perfect fit. He will allow Miles Bridges and P.J Washington to spread the floor and become a lob threat for Lamelo Ball. Williams could be the piece they were missing all this time, and what they need to make a legitimate playoff run.
14) Cleveland Cavaliers- Ochai Agbaji: SF (Kansas)
Agbaji will bring his championship DNA to the NBA and sniff the lottery thanks to his tremendous athleticism and high-level three-point shooting. While he is an older player, going through all 4 years of college compared to the more traditional one and done player we see in the lottery, that extra experience will help the Cavs maintain the win now situation they find themselves in.
The Cavaliers have one of the best young cores in the league with All Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, plus a potential future superstar in Evan Mobley. Add another year of experience for these young guys plus a solid three point shooter in Agbaji and the Cavs can find themselves in a favorable position next year.