2022 NBA Mock Draft (WITH TRADES)

1. Orlando Magic- Jabari Smith Jr. (PF, Auburn, Freshman)

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There has been an endless amount of buzz and reports throughout basketball media that the Orlando Magic will ultimately take Jabari Smith Jr. #1. While that wouldn’t be my selection, his floor as the best shooting 6’10” we have arguably seen, while having light feet, competitiveness, and defensive prowess. His floor spacing would be an immediate asset for a Magic team that lacks shooting in the biggest way.

Comparison: Rashad Lewis

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2. Oklahoma City Thunder- Chet Holmgren (PF/C, Gonzaga, Freshman)

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It is looking more and more possible that the Thunder will have the choice between Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero. With Evan Mobley being OKC’s #1 prospect last season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, it is hard to imagine Oklahoma City not having maximum intrigue in Chet’s skillset and archetype m. Chet has the highest ceiling in the class, and if he reaches most of that potential, Oklahoma City could have found its second skinny, skilled, seven foot franchise player in franchise history.

Comparison: Kevin Garnett

3. Houston Rockets- Paolo Banchero (PF, Duka, Freshman)

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

It does feel like Jabari Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren will be the first two players off the board in this draft, and Houston shouldn’t mind that. Paolo feels like the most sure thing to be a star in this draft. How often do you find a near 7 footer with an NBA body, three-level scoring, and well above average playmaking? Paolo Banchero would be a fantastic compliment to Jalen Green with his size and playmaking, and that tandem could ultimately set Houston up with a true foundation for the next decade.

Comparison: Carmelo Anthony/Karl-Anthony Towns

TRADE:

Kings receive: Jerami Grant, #5 pick

Pistons receive: Richaun Holmes, #4 pick

4. Detroit Pistons- Jaden Ivey (SG/PG, Purdue, Sophomore)

nba.com

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, handfuls of teams are eagerly trying to move up to four to land Jaden Ivey. Since Detroit is only one spot behind, that feels like an easy trade to make. The Pistons are in eager need of a secondary star to grow with Cade Cunningham and while Jaden Ivey’s lack of use of a second hand and his shooting off the dribble do concern me about his floor; his shiftiness, size, and athleticism give him incredible upside. If Ivey hits, his downhill, slashing play style perfectly complements Cade Cunningham’s game as a second star.

Comparison: De’Aaron Fox

TRADE:

Kings receive: Jerami Grant, #5 pick

Pistons receive: Richaun Holmes, #4 pick

5. Sacramento Kings- Keegan Murray (PF, Iowa, Sophomore)

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With the majority viewing the 2022 NBA Draft as a four player draft, Sacramento seems to understand that. Props to Sacramento as that team seems to be using that for leverage in the trade market. Keegan Murray is one of the most ready to contribute right now in this class due to his scoring versatility, low-maintenance style, and overall feel on both ends of the floor. Adding him and Jerami Grant to this current De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Harrison Barnes, and Davion Mitchell core would certainly put them in the play-in conversation, at least.

Comparison: Al Horford/Danny Granger/Grant Williams

6. Indiana Pacers- Dyson Daniels (SG. G-League Ignite, 19 years old)

AP Photo/Ron Schwane

Dyson Daniels had an incredible combine, especially with how he shot the ball with that being his biggest concern. Indiana could go many directions here, but with Dyson Daniels’ size, vision, IQ, off-ball movement and defense, this Pacers core would be growing a foundation of incredibly smart and selfless players on the perimeter with him and Tyrese Haliburton. If Indiana can find that true alpha creator in a future draft, all of these pieces would start to make sense in the bigger picture.

Comparison: Bigger Lonzo Ball

TRADE:

Trail Blazers receive: Lu Dort, #12 pick

Thunder- #7 pick

7. Oklahoma City Thunder- Shaedon Sharpe (SG, Kentucky, Freshman)

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The Oklahoma City Thunder have an opportunity to add a level of upside to its core in this draft with all of the assets it has. Shaedon Sharpe is a mystery and perhaps not a seamless fit with all of the young guards OKC already has, but his talent as a bouncy 6’5” shot maker with an NBA frame and long arms is simply undeniable. Losing Lu Dort would be a step back in the short-term, but OKC would maintain financial flexibility and adding Chet Holmgren and Shaedon Sharpe to its core would bump OKC’s upside by at least a couple notches.

Comparison: Andrew Wiggins/Bradley Beal

8. New Orleans Pelicans- Bennedict Mathurin (SG/SF, Arizona, Sophomore)

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The New Orleans Pelicans are at a luxury spot where it already has a fantastic young nucleus, yet have the assets to keep adding lottery talents to it. Bennedict Mathurin’s physical tools, athleticism and shot making should present a lot of teams intrigue in the lottery. If he maximizes himself defensively and as an off-ball scorer, adding him to the treasure chest of athletic wings in Herb Jones and Trey Murphy could be deadly.

Comparison: Kantavious Caldwell-Pope

9. San Antonio Spurs- Jalen Duren (C, Memphis, Freshman)

espn.com

The San Antonio Spurs have a couple of intriguing guards and wings that could be apart of its long-term core, but they don’t have a franchise big. Jalen Duren is arguably the most physically gifted prospect in this draft with a Dwight Howard type frame and athleticism. On top of that, he is a good roller, passer, and defender. As one of the youngest players in the draft, the upside he has is mesmerizing.

Comparison: Dwight Howard/Robert Williams

10. Washington Wizards- Jeremy Sochan (PF/SF, Baylor, Freshman)

indycornrows.com

The Washington Wizards desperately need to add more defense and playmaking if it wants to make it work with Bradley Beal. Jeremy Sochan is arguably the best non-big-defender who also possesses on-ball playmaking instincts. Sochan alongside Deni Avdija should be able to address a lot of those holes. A point guard would make a lot of sense in Washington, but there isn’t any that should be reasonably taken at this spot.

Conpairsoon: Draymond Green-lite

11. New York Knicks- Mark Williams (C, Duke, Sophomore)

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Mitchell Robinson’s long-term future with the New York Knicks is in question. Fortunately, there is a very similar archetype of player who could be available in Mark Williams. Mark Williams is a mammoth of a human being with a 9’9” standing reach and 5.4% body fat. His frame is the most Rudy Gobert-like nor named Rudy Gobert. Williams could do the same things as Robinson as a shot blocker, roller, and rebounding while providing more confidence with his durability.

Comparison : Javale McGee

TRADE:

Trail Blazers receive: Lu Dort, #12 pick

Thunder- #7 pick

12. Portland Trailblazers- Johnny Davis (SG, Wisconsin, Sophomore)

Morry Gash | AP

The Portland Trailblazers would be major winners in this scenario. Being able to add a 3 and D wing in Lu  Dort, as well as landing someone in Johnny Davis who deserves consideration as high as seven presents good value. Johnny Davis is an NBA-ready shot maker who can really generate pressure from the first two levels as a scorer and provide high-end defense. Johnny Davis can come off the bench early in his career… but then become the a long-term backcourt starter for that Trailblazers team along with Anfernee Simons.

Comparison: Josh Hart/Devin Booker

13. Charlotte Hornets- AJ Griffin (SF, Duke, Freshman)

USA TODAY Sports, Getty

Every year, there is somebody who slips further than anticipated, and considering AJ Griffin’s injury history, it doesn’t feel out of the question he could. The Hornets should be in the business of adding as much upside around Lamelo Ball, and if AJ Griffin can get his high school legs back, there aren’t many explosive 6’6” 220 pound wings with seven foot wingspans who can shoot at an elite level and create. If he doesn’t get his explosion back, he still has NBA skills. Griffin would be a no-brainer at this spot. 

Comparison: Jaylen Brown/Harrison Barnes

TRADE:

Cavaliers get: #20 pick, #25 pick

Spurs get: #14

14. San Antonio Spurs- Ousmane Dieng (SF, New Zealand Breakers, 19 years old)

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According to Michael Scotto, the Cleveland Cavaliers is interested in trading back to acquire another first, and with the Spurs having two firsts in the 20’s, it feels like an easy partnership. The Spurs need to continue adding young players with star potential and as a 6’10” 2-way playmaking wing, Ousmane Dieng is arguably a top-5-talent in the draft. If San Antonio acquires and develops Jalen Duren and Ousmane Dieng, that team could be back to relevance very soon.

Comparison: Young Scottie Pippen

TRADE:

Hornets receive: Myles Turner

Pacers receive: Kelly Oubre Jr., #15 pick, 2024 1st (lottery protected)

15. Indiana Pacers- Tari Eason (PF, LSU, Sophomore)

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Pacers should be in full rebuild, so acquiring a first round pick, even if that means dealing Myles Turner, should be a target. Indiana doesn’t have any true power forwards with high upside on that roster, so getting a freak athlete with unbelievable defensive versatility and offensive upside in Tari Wason would give that Pacers team the upside as the PF spot it needs.

Comparison: Young Kawhi Leonard/Nassir Little

16. Atlanta Hawks- Jaden Hardy (SG, G-League Ignore, 19 years old)

cbssports.com

The Atlanta Hawks have a lot of defensive holes, but in the long-term, that team needs to find a high-level secondary creator next to Trae Young as badly as add defense. Jaden Hardy’s efficiency was underwhelming at the G-League, but he showed unbelievable shooting and scoring flashes and averaged 21.4 PPG in his last 10 games. He gives Atlanta upside at the SG position it lacks. 

Comparison: Anfernee Simons

17. Houston Rockets- Dalen Terry (SG/PG, Arizona, Sophomore)

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Dalen Terry’s stock has been flying as of late. In part, Herbert Jones’ impact all season could have been a reason for that. Dalen Terry is an incredibly rangy and active defender who can switch everywhere and bother people with his energy. He is also an efficient decision maker offensively despite creation limitations. In this mock, Houston has a ton of offensive talent in Jalen Green, Paolo Banchero, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, and Kevin Porter Jr., but defense is lacking and Terry would help there. 

Comparison: Guard version of Herbert Jones

TRADE:

Bulls receive: #21 pick, #30 pick

Nuggets receive: #18 pick, 2023 2nd round pick

18. Denver Nuggets- Ochai Agbaji (SG, Kansas, Senior)

NBA Getty Images

This draft is incredibly deep at shooting guard, there left eight or so who could go in the first round and present intriguing upside. Ochai Agbaji isn’t going to give anyone insane upside as a senior with limited creation, but he is an impressive athlete with knockdown shooting. Denver needs to continue adding athletic shooters next to Nikola Jokic, and Agbaji can fit that role perfectly.

Comparison: Malik Beasley

19. Minnesota Timberwolves- Malaki Branham (SG, Ohio State, Freshman)

Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

You can make the argument that Malaki Branham was the most impressive freshman in the country in his final 22 games. Averaging 17+ PPG and 4 on better than 50/40 splits is not common for an 18-year-old, but Branham did that. His combination of shooting, length, and three-level-scoring gives him a chance to be one of those future All-Stars who don’t go in the lottery. If Branham hits, the Timberwolves could become very scary in a couple years when also looking at Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and Jaden McDaniels.

Comparison: Khris Middleton 

TRADE:

Cavaliers get: #20 pick, #25 pick

Spurs get: #14

20. Cleveland Cavaliers- Ty Ty Washington (PG, Kentucky, Freshman)

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The Cavaliers have its long-term solution at point guard with its franchise player in Darius Garland. Yet, that team is lacking both point guard depth and shooting. Ty Ty gives the patient playmaking of a pass-first-guard, with high upside as a shooter on and off the ball. Ty Ty Washington could give Cleveland an elite backup point guard for years to come.

Comparison: Less flashy D’Angelo Russell

TRADE:

Bulls receive: #21 pick, #30 pick

Nuggets receive: #18 pick, 2023 2nd round pick

21. Chicago Bulls- Walker Kessler (C, Auburn, Sophomore)

Erik Rank/Auburn Live

The Chicago Bulls showed it all season, the team is limited in size, defense, and rim protection. Walker Kessler is a massive 7’1” who was one of the most productive rim protectors we have seen in college basketball. Kessler has his limitations laterally and as a shooter, but his skillset certainly would fill a need for Chicago better than any other big man available.

Comparison: Cole Aldrich 

22. Memphis Grizzlies- EJ Liddell (PF, Ohio State, Junior)

Cleveland.com

The Memphis Grizzlies have grown its culture and identity priding itself in grit and toughness. When thinking about EJ Liddell, gritness and toughness come to mind as he is a physical, defensive minded big who plays higher than his 6’7” frame, who can switch and hit threes. We have seen how valuable it is to have a PJ Tucker-type when contending, that’s what Liddell could become if he ended up in Memphis. 

Comparison: PJ Tucker 

TRADE:

76ers receive: 

Jordan Clarkson 

Jazz receive: 

Furkan Korkmaz, Danny Green, #23 pick

23. Utah Jazz- Jalen Williams (SG, Santa Clara, Junior)

newsnetdaily.com

The Utah Jazz is at a very weird spot with where it could go going forward, especially with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. While this move doesn’t involve one of those two, it could accelerate the urgency to retool and get younger. Jalen Williams is an incredibly talented shooting guard who provides versatility as a shooter, scorer, playmaker, and defender with a crazy 7’2” wingspan. If he played at a bigger school, I think he could have gotten looks as a top 10 pick. 

Comparison: Better playmaking Saddiq Bey

24. Milwaukee Bucks- Blake Wesley (SG, Notre Dame, Freshman)

raptorsrapture.com

The Milwaukee Bucks don’t have control on many first round picks during Gianni’s’ prime… making it critical it hits on this year’s pick as the team gets older and more expensive. Blake Wesely had ups and downs as a freshman, but his physical profile, self-creation as a slasher, and defensive tools give him intriguing upside, even if he isn’t ready to play right now.

Comparison: Victor Oladipo-lite

25. Cleveland Cavaliers- Wendell Moore Jr. (SF, Duke, Junior)

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

It makes sense why the Cavaliers would want to trade back in the draft this year; there is a ton of depth in the late first with players who can help right now and going forward and Wendell Moore embodies that. Despite being a junior, he’s only 20 years old. He provides versatility as a wing with his defense, NBA frame, playmaking instincts and improvement as a shooter. As Cleveland improves, filling out that bench is crucial, and Moore’s higj floor helps that ambition.

Comparison: Will Barton

TRADE:

Maverick receive: 

Christian Wood

Rockets receive: No. 26 pick, Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss

26. Houston Rockets- Ishmael Kamagate (C, Paris, 21 years old)

lookcharms.com

The Houston Rockets have had so many picks to play with the past two years. With Christian Wood gone, one of those picks should be used to add a big. Ishmael Kamagate is raw, but he is a special athlete who can run, block shots, handle, and has shown slight sprinkles as a shooter and playmaker.

Comparison: Chris Boucher 

27. Miami Heat- Christian Braun (SF/SG, Kansas, Junior)

The Miami Heat tend to do well identifying wings who can contribute early. As an above average shooter, defender, passer, and defender Christian Braun can do that. He may not be quite the shooter a Duncan Robinson is, but he is a good shooter and is easy to envision in a playoff series due to his abilities to defend and be a good athlete.

Comparison: Pat Connaughton

28. Golden State Warriors- Andrew Nembhard (PG, Gonzaga, Senior)

The Warriors are great now, and should be great going forward with how many high-upside prospects it has swung on the past couple years. The organization doesn’t need to keep swinging anymore, finding cheap players who have the feel and polish to contribute right now, particularly at the point guard spot on the bench. Andrew Nembhard is a very smart, polished guard who should be able to contribute early as that backup floor general. 

Comparison: Tyus Jones

TRADE:

Grizzlies receive: Saben Lee, #46 pick

Pistons receive: #29 pick

29. Detroit Pistons: Nikola Jovic (SF, Mega Basket, 19 years old)

Dragana Stjepanovic

This is not a typo, Nikola Jovic is a very talented 6’10” playmaker from Serbia who has shown creation flashes and shooting off the catch. He may not be destined to win two NBA titles, but he does give NBA teams intriguing upside to tap into. He is far away from contributing to the NBA physically, but Detroit has the time to wait on him.

Comparison: Nemanja Bjelicia 

TRADE:

Bulls receive: #21 pick, #30 pick

Nuggets receive: #18 pick, 2023 2nd round pick

30. Chicago Bulls- Jake LaRavia (SF, Wake Forest, Junior)

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Jake LaRavia is one of the most underrated prospects in the draft. Big wings who compete on both ends of the floor, can be awesome connective playmakers, and hit spot up threes tend to work in the NBA. Jake LaRavia can do those things but also create off the dribble and finish inside well for someone of that archetype. Chicago would be getting an absolute steal at the end of the first round.

Comparison: Gordon Hayward-lite

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