NBA Mock Draft: Projecting the First Round
In a blink of an eye, the 2022 NBA Draft is almost here as the best prospects hope to hear their names called at the Barclays Center for the event. The draft will be televised at 6 p.m. MT on ESPN and ABC.
Does the top 1-2-3 shake out like we expect?
The big three in this NBA Draft is headlined by Auburn's Jabari Smith, Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren and Duke's Paolo Banchero. Draft prognosticators are predicting that Smith, Holmgren and Banchero will be picked by Orlando (No. 1), OKC (No. 2) and Houston (No. 3), in that respective order.
But who will be the best of this three? Holmgren is the best rim protector of the three, while flexing his ability to shot make as a spot-up shooter and finish in the paint. Smith is a 6-foot-10 versatile forward that can playmake on offense and can become a high-caliber defender on defense. At worst, I feel that Smith can be a reliable defensive specialist that can also hit 40% of his 3-point attempts. Last, but certainly not least, is Banchero, who I like the most of the three. Banchero is a winner and was by far the best player on a talented Duke squad this past year. Bachero has the ability to carry the offense for Houston in 2022-23.
Could Jaden Ivey be the best player when it's all said and done?
After the top three prospects are selected, the draft really gets started. The Kings could easily trade down at No. 4, with multiple teams interested in getting Purdue standout guard Jaden Ivey. Can Ivey coexist with a backcourt in Sacramento that includes De'Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell? Ivey is explosive, has a high motor and could end up being the next rising young guard in the NBA. If the Kings end up dealing the pick, they can get a serious haul in return.
Though he might not be a sleeper because of how many teams like him, Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan could end up being drafted much higher than he's projected. He can defend all over the court and has a high IQ for distributing the ball as a big man.
I'm a big fan of the two Duke bigs in AJ Griffin and Mark Williams, who could each sneak into the lottery. Griffin is more of a combo guard/forward and hit 45% from 3-point range. Williams was the leading dunker in NCAA last season, along with being recognized as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Going into the 20s, TyTy Washington Jr. (no, that's not a typo) out of Kentucky is a solid guard that I have my eyes on. He excels both on ball and off ball offensively, while displaying perimeter scoring abilities.
Out of the West Coast Conference, I'm impressed with Jalen Williams from Santa Clara College. He's a 6-foot-6 product that has strong two-way skills. He can play on-ball as a playmaking forward.
NBA Draft hopefuls with UTEP ties
Following two seasons with the Miners and a standout year at Texas Tech, Bryson Williams is hoping to hear his name called in the NBA Draft. Williams was hardly on NBA Draft prospect lists all season long. However, his recent performances in both the NBA Scouting Combine and G-League Elite Camp have caught the attention of several different teams. He's worked out for the likes of Charlotte, Indiana, Orlando and others. Most prognosticators have Williams signing a two-way contract as an undrafted free agent, but he is optimistic that he can get a call in the second round if the draft bounces the way he hopes.
"I'm mainly trying to show my defensive abilities and all the things I can do defensively," Williams told 600 ESPN El Paso on Wednesday. "Showing them that I have a high motor and I can play at this level. Just trusting my abilities as a player and letting my game speak for itself."
Another draft hopeful is former point guard Jamal Bieniemy. Following this past season with the Miners, Bieniemy entered into the pre-draft process and has shown coaches and scouts how he can compete in the backcourt. He's had workouts with Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Sacramento and others across the league. While Bieniemy won't be a second round guy, he is hoping to land with an NBA squad and compete during summer league.
Broaddus NBA Mock Draft
1. Orlando - Jabari Smith (Auburn, SF/PF)
2. Oklahoma City - Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga, PF)
3. Houston - Paolo Banchero (Duke, PF)
4. Sacramento - Jaden Ivey (Purdue, PG)
5. Detroit - Keegan Murray (Iowa, PF)
6. Indiana - Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona, Wing)
7. Portland - Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky, Wing)
8. New Orleans (from Los Angeles Lakers) - Ousmane Dieng (New Zeland, PF)
9. San Antonio - Dyson Daniels (G-League Ignite, Wing)
10. Washington - Jeremy Sochan (Baylor, PF)
11. New York - Jalen Duren (Memphis, C)
12. Oklahoma City (from LA Clippers) - AJ Griffin (Duke, SF)
13. Charlotte - Johny Davis (Wisconsin, Guard)
14. Cleveland - Ochai Agbaji (Kansas, Guard)
15. Charlotte (from New Orleans) - Mark Williams (Duke, C)
16. Atlanta - Jalen Williams (Santa Clara, SF)
17. Houston (from Brooklyn) - Tari Eason (LSU, PF)
18. Chicago - Malaki Branham (Ohio State, SG)
19. Minnesota - Walker Kessler (Auburn, C)
20. San Antonio (from Toronto) - E.J. Liddell (Ohio State, PF)
21. Denver - TyTy Washington (Kentucky, PG)
22. Memphis (from Utah) - Dalen Terry (Arizona, Wing)
23. Philadelphia - Blake Wesley (Notre Dame, Wing)
24. Milwaukee - Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke, SF)
25. San Antonio (from Boston) - Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee, PG)
26. Houston - MarJon Beauchamp (G-League Ignite, SG)
27. Miami - Jaden Hardy (G-League Ignite, SG)
28. Golden State - Christian Koloko (Arizona, C)
29. Memphis - Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest, PF)
30. Denver - Christian Braun (Kansas, SG)