We are under a week away, meaning mock draft time.
58 players will hear their names called and fulfill their lifelong dream of playing in the NBA. Today, we’ll look at the Top 30 picks and try to make some predictions. Read below for a full first-round 2022 NBA Mock Draft with stats, team needs, and more.
To view the past mock draft, click here.
1) Orlando Magic- Jabari Smith: PF (Auburn)
Team Needs: Points (29th), Steals (28th), Turnovers (25th), Offensive Rating (29th), Backup Center
After a few weeks where it looked like Chet Holmgren would be the first pick, the momentum has shifted towards Jabari Smith to the Magic. Smith is a terrific outside shooter at 6’10, shooting 42% in college, and can rebound as well. On this Orlando Magic team with a lot of young talent, Smith will add to that core that already features guys like Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs, preparing the Magic for what could be a quick rebuild.
2) Oklahoma City Thunder- Chet Holmgren: C (Gonzaga)
Team Needs: Points (30th), Assists (28th), Offensive Rating (30th), Small Forward, Power Forward, Center, Backup Point Guard-Center
If you listen closely, you can hear Thunder GM screaming at the top of his lungs in joy after Chet wasn’t selected first overall. Holmgren can do it on both sides of the floor, shooting nearly 40% from three as a center, then being just an absolute menace when it comes to sending shots back. If he can stay healthy which he was able to do in college, he can be a serious threat from the get-go, especially in transition. The Thunder lack big men at the moment, so fitting him into that rotation will be ideal and develop another nice young core with Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous Alexander.
3) Houston Rockets- Paolo Banchero: PF (Duke)
Team Needs: Rebounding (30th), Turnovers (30th), FT% (30th), Offensive Rating (26th), Defensive Rating (30th), Small Forward, Power Forward, Backup Point Guard, Backup Small Forward, Backup Power Forward
The Rockets might not have gotten to select which of the three bigs he likes the most, but they might have gotten the best of them in Banchero. Banchero is an elite shot creator and an underrated playmaker. He’s the type of guy who can make everyone on the court better by doing just the little things. The shooting needs a little work, but you can argue he has the highest ceiling in the draft. The Rockets just traded big man Christian Wood to the Rockets, so it seems almost surefire that they will take the last of the three top 3 guys remaining to pair with Jalen Green.
4) Sacrameto Kings- Jaden Ivey: PG (Kings)
Team Needs: Rebounding (26th), Defensive Rating (27th), Small Forward, Center, Backup Point Guard- Center
If all works out, Ivey can be an perrenial All-NBA player. He’s got out of this world athleticism and terrific driving ability. The shot isn’t perfect but can be fixed and if it is, he’ll be virtually unguardable on offense. The Kings are in a tricky situation here because they don’t really need Ivey, but the risk of passing up on him and becoming a star is something a franchise who hasn’t made the playoffs in almost 20 years can’t afford to take a chance on.
5) Detroit Pistons- Bennedict Mathurin: SG (Arizona)
Teams Needs: Points (28th), Rebounding (25th), 3P (25th), Offensive Rating (28th), Shooting Guard, Backup Point Guard-Center
Mathurin is an absolute firecracker on the court, delivering high energy plays after high energy plays. Whether that’s a monstrous dunk or a silencer of a three pointer he’s got it all. He makes his teammates better and will go into every game with the same competitive mindset. The Pistons are really banking on the Kings to pass on Ivey, but if they don’t Mathurin is a solid option. A backcourt of him and Cade Cunningham can run the league for years, and accelerate the Pistons chances of making it back to the playoffs.
6) Indiana Pacers- Keegan Murray: PF (Iowa)
Team Needs: Steals (25th), Defensive Rating (28th), Power Forward, Backup Point Guard-Center
Keegan Murray comes into the draft as one of, if not the most NBA ready player. He can space the floor, score at ease, and proved in college he can be a plus defender. Only minor issue is his athleticism, but with his other skillset that doesn’t matter. The Pacers get a perfect replacement for Sabonis to team up with their core in attempt to get unstuck from the NBA hell, the 8-12 seed year after year.
7) Portland Trail Blazers- Dyson Daniels: PG/SG (Trail Blazers)
Team Needs: Points (27th), Rebounding (27th), Assists (26th), Offensive Rating (27th), Defensive Rating (29th), Everything but Point Guard
The Trail Blazers need a little bit of everything, and Daniels gives them a little bit of everything. The Aussie showed he can thrive on and off the ball, and really showed off when it came to interrupting the passing lanes and getting in transition. The shooting needs work, but in the new era of “big guards”, the 6’7 Daniels is who you want. Alongside Lillard, Daniels can be a good facilitator and provide opportunities to the Blazers roster. It is unsure which direction the Blazers are headed in, but Daniels fits both the win now and rebuild mesh.
8) New Orleans Pelicans- Shaedon Sharpe: SG (Kentucky)
Team Needs: Blocks (26th), 3P (28th)
Sharpe comes into the draft as the mystery prospect, and that’s because we haven’t seen him play a competitive basketball game in over a year. With that being said, he has an extremely smooth stroke and great athleticism that should translate to the next level. The Pelicans are in a position to take a risk since they have so many great young pieces, so giving Sharpe the opportunity to develop while the Pelicans are still competitive seems ideal here.
9) San Antonio Spurs- Jeremy Sochan: PF (Baylor)
Team Needs: 3P (27th), FT% (25th), Center, Backup Point Guard-Center
In terms of defensive potential, you can argue that Sochan is top 3 in this draft. At 6’9, he can guard the 1-5 and make any offensive player’s night difficult. The scoring needs work, but he showed a lot of promise at times during his freshmen year at Baylor. This pick just seems so Spurs-esque. Sochan will be great in this system as someone who can do a little bit of everything and compliment the young talent around him. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spurs send Keldon Johnson to a team looking for a piece and acquire some more young talent.
10) Washington Wizards- Johnny Davis: SG (Wisconsin)
Team Needs: Steals (30th), 3 point (30th), Defensive Rating (25th), Point Guard, Backup Guard, Backup Center
Davis was awesome at Wisconsin this year, taking a team with no expectations coming into the season to a Big Ten title and a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Davis is a great scorer on all three levels, and when he went toe to toe with top 5 pick Jaden Ivey, he actually outplayed him. It’s no secret that everyone is rooting for this to happen because Davis just fits in so well. Wizards need another guard to pair with Beal, and Davis is the best available and one that can help them win now.
11) New York Knicks- AJ Griffin: SF (Duke)
Team Needs: Points (26th), Assists (30th), Steals (27th), FT% (26th), Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Center, Backup Guard, Backup Center
The AJ Griffin slide stops here, and Knicks fans are pumped to get a guy most people thought would go top 10. Griffin shoots the ball exceptionally well from deep, and with an expanded role he can really shine. Injuries are the main concern with him, but if he’s healthy he’s an immediate impact player. Knicks need to figure things out, but adding Griffin never hurts as a temporary solution.
12) Oklahoma City Thunder- Ousmane Dieng: SF (New Zealand)
You don’t even need to listen closely to hear the screams of joy from Thunder GM Sam Presti now, as he gets two of the types of players he loves. Dieng is a 6’9 small forward with a crazy wingspan and has the physical features that teams love. The Thunder are able to take these kinds of guys and hope they work out, so you know they’ll do so here.
13) Charlotte Hornets- Jalen Duren: C (Memphis)
Team Needs: FT% (27th), Center, Backup Center, Backup Shooting Guard
There’s a debate about who’s the first center that will be taken between Duren and Mark Williams, and I’m going to guess it’s Duren thanks to only being 18 and a half years old at the time of the draft. Duren has a physical figure and is a terrific defender, especially in the paint. The Hornets are looking for a guy to be a lob threat on offense and a shot blocker on defense, and that’s what Duren was born to do.
14) Cleveland Cavaliers- Malaki Branham: SG (Ohio State)
Team Needs: Points (25th), Steals (26th), Backup Guard-Center
Most mocks are taking Branham or Ochai Agbaji here, and I’m going to guess Cavs go Branham here. He’s a really talented scorer, and got better and better as the year went on, all the way to the last game against Villanova in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavs have a lot of young talent, and adding another scorer is just what they need to make that next push. Look out for the Cavs next year with their young core.
15) Charlotte Hornets- Ochai Agbaji: SG (Kansas)
Agbaji joins Devonte’ Graham as Kansas seniors to get drafted to the Charlotte Hornets, where Agbaji hopes to have similar success. Agbaji is a great scorer and a knockdown catch and shoot three point specialist, and it showed this year he can be the best player on a championship team. The Hornets could use backup guard play as they attempt to get over the hunp and finally compete with Lamelo Ball as their star.
16) Atlanta Hawks- Tari Eason: PF (LSU)
Team Needs: Defensive Rating (26th), Backup Guard
Eason averaged 17 a game last year, but it’s his defense that’s getting all the attention. Like Sochan, he can guard each position, but he can also produce on the offensive end. The Hawks were one of the worst defensive teams last year, so adding a defensive guy will help the Hawks get back on track.
17) Houston Rockets- Jalen Williams: SF (Santa Clara)
The Rockets take the biggest draft riser here with Jalen Williams at 17. Williams measured really well at the combine and is really athletic. He’s a rare combo of a project who can help right away, with the only thing holding him back is age. Rockets need forwards, and after drafting Banchero they get another here that will help them out long term.
18) Chicago Bulls- Mark Williams: C (Duke)
Team Needs: Rebounding (28th), Blocks (25th), 3P (29th), Backup Forward-Center
The Mark Williams slide finally comes to an end thanks to the Bulls. Williams is a beast at 7’2 and with almost 3 blocks a game it’s clear that he can change games on the defensive end. Like his brother Lamelo, Lonzo could use a lob threat, and with Vucevic only having one more year left on his contract, Williams is a much cheaper option for them.
19) Minnesota Timberwolves- Tyty Washington: PG (Kentucky)
Team Needs: Point Guard, Backup Point Guard-Center
Tyty is a project, but Calipari proves year after year that he can send productive NBA guards from Kentucky. He had some really awesome games freshman year, especially that 17 point 17 assist game. The Timberwolves need backup guard help, especially with the down year from Mailk Beasley, so adding Tyty as someone who could be more of a playmaker and less of a scorer could work.
20) San Antonio Spurs: Nikola Jovic- SF (Mega Basket)
Jovic’s shooting splits don’t really reflect how good of a shooter he is, especially from deep. Like his name twin, Nikola Jokic, he can playmake and overcome being not as athletic as the league average. Oh yeah, he’s also a 6’11 small forward. Spurs love these types of guys, and the pick just makes so much sense.
21) Denver Nuggets: Jake LaRavia- SF (Wake Forest)
Team Needs: Blocks (29th), Turnovers (26th), Backup Point Guard-Center
LaRavia was awesome this year, and has shown up in big games, including 31 points and 10 rebounds against this year’s runner up UNC. This year’s finals showed how valuable wings are, and with Michael Porter’s health concerns, adding another wing to the team never hurts.
22) Memphis Grizzlies: Blake Wesley- SG (Notre Dame)
Team Needs: FT% (28th)
The last three guys in the green room are all shooting guards, and Wesley is the first one taken. Wesley is a project for sure, but features great potential. He showed flashes of high level scoring, with multiple 20 point games, and has translatable skills. Grizzlies are in a good spot with their roster, so adding a guy like Wesley can only help, and given their recent track history of draft picks, they’ll choose the right guy here.
23) Philadelphia 76ers: Kendall Brown- SF (Baylor)
Team Needs: Rebounding (29th), Backup Point Guard-Center
Brown is a project for sure, but the former top 10 recruit has a lot of promise. He’s extremely bouncy, and the shot will improve. On defense, his athleticism can translate into him becoming a plus defender, something the 76ers can use. They are hoping he can become another Matisse Thybulle type player, and become another piece in the quest to complete the process.
24) Milwaukee Bucks: Jaden Hardy- SG (G-League Ignite)
Team Needs: Blocks (27th), Backup Point Guard-Small Forward, Backup Center
Hardy is going to shoot whether it’s going in or not, and that’s why he’s such a risky prospect. When it’s going in, he can take over a game, but when it’s not it really hurts his team. The Bucks are in a position to send him to the G-League for a little and let him get more adjusted to the level of play and allow him to become an important piece to their franchise.
25) San Antonio Spurs: MarJon Beauchamp- SG (G-League Ignite)
After taking two forwards with their two other first round picks, the Spurs go with a little bit of an older guard here in Beauchamp. He rebounds well for a guard and has nice driving ability. He can’t shoot, but his other skills outweigh that weakness. Not many people expect the Spurs to take all three picks and expect at least one trade, but if they don’t then they pick up three great players in this 2022 NBA Mock Draft.
26) Houston Rockets: Dalen Terry- SG (Arizona)
Like the Spurs, the Rockets take a guard after two forwards. Out of Hardy, Beauchamp, Wesley, and Terry, Terry is actually my favorite of the 4. At 6’7, he’s a tall guard and is a high energy player with great athleticism. Will he be an All-Star? Probably not, but he can be a high level starter in the league for a long time. He doesn’t need to score to contribute as well, which is nice when you have a guy like Jalen Green who is the opposite.
27) Miami Heat: Kennedy Chandler- PG (Tennessee)
Team Needs: Blocks (30th), Turnovers (28th), Backup Power Forward, Backup Center
Despite being just a hair over 6’0, Chandler provides a big punch on the court, especially on the defensive end. He’s a sneaky defender and is a decent finisher as well. Kyle Lowry is getting up there in age, adding another point guard is always a good idea.
28) Golden State Warriors: Christian Braun- SG/SF (Kansas)
Team Needs: Turnovers (29th), Center, Backup Point Guard, Backup Small Forward-Center
The NBA champs add an NCAA champ here in Christian Braun. Braun is a 3 and D prospect with a high vertical, measuring in the top 3 in the combine. We’ve seen how important wings have become in the NBA, so the Warriors grab one here in hopes of continuing the dynasty.
29) Memphis Grizzlies: E.J Liddell- SF (Ohio State)
The Grizzlies would be absolutely stoked if Liddell falls this far, as he could easily be picked 10 spots higher. Liddell was a terrific college basketball player and has the skills that could translate to the next level. He does it on both ends, and is an impressive shot blocker for someone who is only 6’7. Grizzlies have a lot of traffic at the forward spot, but you can’t pass up a guy like Liddell this late into the draft.
30) Denver Nuggets: Walker Kessler- C (Auburn)
The last pick in this 2022 NBA Mock Draft is Walker Kessler, one of the best college shot blockers we’ve ever seen. He had multiple double digit block games, which is something the Nuggets need as they were ranked second to last in blocks per game last year. The Nuggets also don’t have a reliable backup to Jokic at the center spot, so adding Kessler will be a good addition for them.