Believe it or not, the 2022 NBA Draft is one month away!
The 2022 NBA Draft Combine took place in Chicago last week and now heading towards the June 1 draft withdrawal deadline, a better picture is being painted for what teams are going to be looking for in the draft. Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero and Jaden Ivey are heavily regarded as the best prospects this year, but there is a ton of talent and untapped potential up-and-down this draft class.
Whether you are the first overall pick, the last pick or go undrafted, there are opportunities to be had in the NBA and we will see plenty of rookies from this draft class make a difference during the 2022-23 NBA season. With the NBA Combine over and teams getting better evaluations as to who all of this year’s prospects are as players, here is the Top-50 of my 2022 NBA Draft Big Board 2.0:
#1 Jabari Smith Jr. - Forward - Auburn - Freshman
Arguably the top pick in many scout’s minds right now, Jabari Smith Jr. seems like the best scoring talent at the top of the draft board. At Auburn, Smith showcased his abilities to score from virtually anywhere on the floor and out of all of the top prospects in this year’s draft, he is definitely the best jump-shooter. A “positionless” type of player on the wing, Smith has a really good shot at being the first player selected by the Magic this year.
No matter where he is on the floor, Jabari Smith Jr. is able to get to his spots and knock down either a mid-range jumper or a three-point shot. He shot 43.6% from deep at Auburn, leaving many NBA scouts and executives to believe he will be a 40-plus percent three-point shooter on the wing at the next level. Still having a ton of upside to grow, it is hard to imagine Jabari Smith Jr. not being the first or second prospect drafted in June. He has all the skills offensively to grow into an All-Star-level wing and given his length, Smith can grow into a factor defensively as well.
#2 Paolo Banchero - Forward - Duke - Freshman
Many tend to know Paolo Banchero heading into the draft, especially since he was the star player for Duke this season, helping them reach the Final Four. Standing 6-10 with an unofficial wingspan of 7-1, Banchero really has the ability to play any position in this league, especially given that he is more than capable of playing one-on-one against any type of defender. In terms of scoring and offense, Paolo Banchero can do it all.
From perimeter to post, the former Duke Blue Devil fits the mold of a modern day power-forward in this league and can not only make plays for himself, but others as well. Perhaps one of the more underrated parts of his game that gets overshadowed by his scoring abilities at the rim is Banchero’s passing abilities. He is not a “point-forward” per se, but the 19-year-old is extremely confident bringing the ball up the floor and initiating an offense. It would not be shocking to see him be an All-Star one day and with the right team, Banchero can truly be the face of a rebuild. He has a great feel for the game and being able to play multiple different positions and wear plenty of different hats, Banchero is well on his way to being a top pick
#3 Chet Holmgren - Forward/Center - Gonzaga - Freshman
Coming out of Gonzaga, Chet Holmgren is rated as the top big man in this year’s draft class and his length is what has many teams in the league excited about his potential. Standing 7-0 tall with a 7-6 unofficial wingspan, Holmgren is being classified as a high-level rim-protector that is more than capable of stretching the floor. Not many 7-footers can move well outside of the paint, but Chet Holmgren is the full package.
His footwork and quickness is exceptional for his size and stature, making him very worthy of being the top pick in this year’s draft. Holmgren is an elite-level prospect that really does not have any long-term concerns. Adding weight and becoming stronger is something that can be worked on, but the skill he possesses and understanding of the game is something that cannot be taught. A new modern-day big man, Chet Holmgren will make a difference on both ends of the court during his rookie season.
#4 Keegan Murray - Forward - Iowa - Sophomore
A very efficient combo-forward, Keegan Murray can do a little bit of everything on the floor. At Iowa, Murray was his team’s primary scoring option and was able to make an impact even when he did not have the ball in his hands because of his understanding for where to be on the floor. Whether it is positioning himself for an offensive rebound or setting a screen to free up one of his teammates on offense, Murray checks off all the “intangible” boxes for a team looking for an all-around playmaker in the draft.
Defensively, Keegan Murray has a chance to shine given his wide frame and length. It is not hard to believe that in the modern-day NBA, he will even be able to sub-in as a “small-ball” center in some rotations. Set to turn 22 in August, Murray is older than some other top-tier draft prospects, but he is one of the more NBA-ready players in this draft class and will very likely make an impact in the league from Day 1, much like this year’s Rookie of the Year in Scottie Barnes. Just looking at long-term projection, Keegan Murray will be in the NBA for many years to come as a trustworthy and reliable forward.
#5 Jaden Ivey - Guard - Purdue - Sophomore
The most athletic guard in this year’s draft class, Jaden Ivey tends to play well above the rim and is an exceptional ball-handler in the open floor. Quickness and explosiveness are the two main things talked about in regards to Ivey, making him a prospect that could immediately help change the narrative for a franchise needing talent in their backcourt. Ivey was one of the best guards in college basketball this last year at Purdue and his game should translate perfectly to the NBA-level, especially given the success other young, explosive guards like Ja Morant and Donovan Mitchell have had in a short period of time in the league!
Shooting off-the-dribble and spot-up from deep, Ivey has the ability to be a threat from the perimeter immediately and he is a very crafty playmaker as well, getting those around him involved. As a defender, Jaden Ivey is able to keep his opponents in front of him and has really solid lateral footwork. Offensively, you know what you are going to get with Jaden Ivey and his explosiveness is what has propelled him to being a top-tier prospect.
#6 Shaedon Sharpe - Guard - Kentucky - Freshman
One of the biggest unknowns in this year’s draft class, Shaedon Sharpe is a young, highly explosive athlete that made a name for himself at the high school level. Enrolling early at Kentucky, Sharpe has not played any college basketball, but possesses all of the unique traits teams look for in a high-potential prospect. While some may shy away from him given the question marks to his game, the 19-year-old guard has a chance to be a real star.
Shaedon Sharpe can really get going from three-point range and possesses a very smooth shooting stroke from the perimeter. An above-average ball-handler, Sharpe will not be viewed as a primary facilitator, but he is a very capable playmaker and tends to get to his spots with ease. Defense and shot selection are the two things being questioned the most with Sharpe right now ahead of the draft. There really is no telling as to where Shaedon Sharpe goes in the 2022 NBA Draft, but he will more than likely be a Top-10 selection.
#7 AJ Griffin - Guard/Forward - Duke - Freshman
The son of former 10-year veteran and current Toronto Raptors' assistant Adrian Griffin, AJ Griffin finds himself as an athletic and intriguing prospect that can play either the shooting guard or small-forward positions. A very talented scorer on the wing, Griffin can really shoot from the perimeter and seems to have a certain level of poise to his game that many younger prospects do not have. He takes high percentage shots and knows the strengths of his game, which is what separates him from others offensively. His lack of productivity at Duke may cause some to question his skillset, but AJ Griffin is the real deal. Possessing a 7-foot wingspan, Griffin has a chance to really develop into an impactful two-way wing in this league.
#8 Bennedict Mathurin - Guard/Forward - Arizona - Sophomore
Showing flashes of All-Star-level talent on the wing, Bennedict Mathurin is one of the better overall playmakers on the wing in this draft class. He is not afraid to initiate an offense and defensively, Mathurin’s length allows him to stay in front of smaller, more agile guards on the perimeter. Standing 6-6 with a 6-9 wingspan, Mathurin has potential to continue growing on the defensive-end of the floor. Turnovers are a little bit of a concern coming out of college, but many teams love Bennedict Mathurin’s high motor when he is on the floor.
#9 Johnny Davis - Guard - Wisconsin - Sophomore
Johnny Davis shot up draft boards during this past college basketball season and really made a name for himself being a threat to score from anywhere on the floor for Wisconsin. The near 6-6 guard tends to play more at the rim and in the mid-range area than on the perimeter, but he is very poised and has a scorer’s mentality with the ball in his hands. Davis is not the best athlete in the world, but is a strong on-ball defender and his game should translate nicely to the NBA-level. In terms of growth and upside, Johnny Davis still has room to improve his overall game at 20-years-old.
#10 Dyson Daniels - Guard - G-League Ignite
Coming from the G League Ignite team, Dyson Daniels has shot up draft boards over the last several months and is once again on the rise after an impressive showing at the NBA Draft Combine. Many teams fell in love with Daniels during the interview process and his measurements caught a lot of scout’s attention, as the 19-year-old guard measured in at roughly 6-8 with a near 6-11 wingspan. Being a terrific playmaker and ball-handler, Dyson Daniels has a chance to be the best on-ball guard in this draft class. Good things happen when Daniels has the ball and he is just as good of a defender as he is a facilitator.
#11 Jalen Duren - Center - Memphis - Freshman
Being a high-level shot-blocker at Memphis, Jalen Duren is projecting to be arguably the best shot-blocker from this draft class. With a near 7-5 wingspan, Duren can contest virtually any shot and he does tend to move well for a big man. On offense, Jalen Duren is an elite-level pick-and-roll big man that will catch any pass lobbed up to him at the rim. He is not the “modern-day” big man in terms of shooting for the perimeter and being a playmaker, but Duren can block shots, he can rebound and will be a high-level finisher in the paint, possibly even leading this rookie class in field goal percentage his first year in the league.
#12 Tari Eason - Forward - LSU - Sophomore
Defensively, Tari Eason is one of the best prospects in this year’s draft class. His high motor and intensity on defense can sometimes get him in some foul trouble, but the 6-7 forward truly is a “positionless” player because he can guard 1-5 on the floor. Moving well off-the-ball, Eason has the ability to run in transition and can make plays in the paint even though he is oftentimes guarded by stronger, lengthier defenders. Many teams are very intrigued with his ability to fill multiple needs at the next level given his 7-2 wingspan and versatility on the defensive-end of the floor.
#13 Mark Williams - Center - Duke - Sophomore
Having the best rebounding potential in this draft class in my opinion, Mark Williams has a chance to be a real impact center at the NBA-level. Williams possesses a 7-7 wingspan that has made him draw a lot of comparison to Mo Bamba when he came out of Texas in 2018. He may not be able to stretch his game to the perimeter, but Williams’ length makes him an excellent shot-blocker and someone that can really be a headache for teams on both ends of the floor. Mark Williams is not a liability on offense and tends to move really well either going to screen or cutting to the basket off of pick-and-roll sets. For a team looking for a center, it is hard not to consider Williams in this year’s draft.
#14 Jaden Hardy - Guard - G-League Ignite
Another player from the G League Ignite, Jaden Hardy seems to be a prospect many still have questions about. Scouts and executives are not questioning his ball-handling and playmaking abilities, as Hardy has no problem creating for himself or others, but he is just a prospect that has a lot of untapped potential. Hardy’s upside in this league could very well depend on where he ends up, as there are definitely aspects of his game that resemble traits of an NBA All-Star. Developing a consistent jump-shot and being a more aware as an off-the-ball defender will help Jaden Hardy become an elite-level player.
#15 Nikola Jovic - Forward - Serbia
The best international player in this year’s draft class, Nikola Jovic is a versatile forward that can do a little bit of everything on the floor. Pick-and-roll sets are where Jovic flourishes on the court and he is just a very smart player. His understanding for the game is what has made Jovic a potential lottery pick and getting those around him involved is something that has teams talking about his abilities. Defensively though, Nikola Jovic has been deemed a liability at times and will need to become a little bit stronger to really make an impact early on in his career. No, this is not Nikola Jokic even though one letter separates the two.
#16 Jeremy Sochan - Forward - Baylor - Freshman
An elite-level defensive player, Jeremy Sochan may be a prospect that can come in and immediately make an impact for any team in the league on defense. Sochan stands 6-9 with a 7-0 wingspan and he really does not back down to any challenge. Whether it is guarding a big man or a guard, the 19-year-old forward has great footwork and really takes pride in his defense. While he is an unproven shooter on offense, Sochan has plenty of potential for growth and will see a lot of time on the floor his rookie season because of how strong of a defender he is.
#17 TyTy Washington - Guard - Kentucky - Freshman
TyTy Washington struggled at times in his Freshman season as Kentucky, but he is still one of the better facilitators and ball-handlers in this draft class. Developing a consistent jump-shot from the perimeter will be key for Washington, as he tends to play more downhill and rely on his mid-range game than anything else. While not the best athlete, TyTy Washington should prove to be a very valuable backup guard entering the league with the potential to continue growing into a versatile playmaker.
#18 Ousmane Dieng - Forward - France
Standing 6-10 with a 7-0-plus wingspan, Ousmane Dieng has a lot of upside for growth at just 19-years-old. Out on the wing, Dieng uses his athleticism to his advantage to blow past smaller, less athletic defenders and has a good feel for when to pull up for a jump-shot when attacking the rim. Obviously teams are interested in his potential on defense given his length and other than his three-point shooting abilities, there are no long-term concerns to Dieng’s game. Still a very raw prospect, Ousmane Dieng could project to be a top-tier talent from this draft class if a team is willing to put in the time to develop him correctly.
#19 Ochai Agbaji - Guard - Kansas - Senior
The leader of the 2021 NCAA Champion Kansas Jayhawks, Ochai Agbaji has a chance to go in the lottery this upcoming draft. Similar to Chris Duarte and Corey Kispert in last year’s draft class, Agbaji is an older prospect that already has the tools to make an impact in the league immediately. He is only 22-years-old and is a very smart player with the ball in his hands, giving Agbaji a chance to be a sixth-man-like talent for an already proven franchise. A 3-and-D shooting guard, Ochai Agbaji will be in the running for All-Rookie honors by the end of the 2022-23 season because of the impact he can make right away.
#20 Malaki Branham - Guard - Ohio State - Freshman
Malaki Branham really came into his own during his freshman season at Ohio State, showcasing his ability to score from the perimeter and be an avid ball-handler at the shooting guard position. Measuring nearly 6-6 at the combine after being listed as 6-4, Branham’s measurements continued to draw attention when he measured a 6-10 wingspan. Projected as a 3-and-D wing, Malaki Branham is only 19-years-old and still has plenty of room to grow as an all-around playmaker and elite-level perimeter shooting threat. He is one of the safer projected first-round picks in this year’s draft.
#21 MarJon Beauchamp - Guard - G-League Ignite
An unknown coming out of the G League, MarJon Beauchamp has been generating some buzz from the combine given his intelligence and defensive instincts. Possessing a near 7-1 wingspan, Beauchamp is able to close out very well on his opponents and he is not an out-of-control defender like others in this draft class. He is very calm defensively and very rarely is blown past in one-on-one situations. As a wing, his three-point shooting numbers in the G League are a little bit concerning, but Beauchamp is NBA-ready and should sustain a long career with his instincts on the defensive-end of the floor.
#22 E.J. Liddell - Forward - Ohio State - Junior
Possessing a big frame and high understanding for the game, E.J. Liddell is an older prospect that a lot of current playoff teams are hoping will be available late in the first-round because of the impact he can make off-the-bench immediately. Coming back to Ohio State this past season after testing the NBA Draft process out last year, Liddell really improved as an all-around defender and has become a strong rim-protector even though he is only 6-7. Offensively, Liddell can back his opponents down in the post and he also has a perimeter game. With very few flaws in his game, E.J. Liddell is definitely going to be a draft prospect that can come in and contribute off-the-bench right away in a team’s frontcourt.
#23 Jalen Williams - Guard/Forward - Santa Clara - Junior
Throughout the pre-draft process, no player has helped themselves out more than Jalen Williams. Playing at Santa Clara, not many are familiar with his game, but Williams truly is a high-level two-way wing that is only going to get better in the right situation. He can shoot from the wing, he can score off-the-dribble and Williams’ 7-2 wingspan is something many are talking about from the NBA Combine, especially since he measured just under 6-6 with shoes. Jalen Williams’ upside is very high and having both a shooting touch and length on the wing, he is someone not many teams will want to pass up the opportunity to draft.
#24 Kendall Brown - Forward - Baylor - Freshman
A really solid defender that uses his athleticism to his advantage, Kendall Brown is a versatile wing that should be able to carve out a role as a “swiss-army-knife” type of talent in the league. There is not really one thing that sticks out about Brown’s game and on the opposite side of things, he really does not have any major flaws, as consistent shooting will come in time for Brown. Just turning 19-years-old, Kendall Brown has plenty of room for growth on both ends of the floor.
#25 Blake Wesley - Guard - Notre Dame - Freshman
Improving a lot over the course of his freshman year, Blake Wesley has a chance to be a high-impact scorer at the NBA-level. While listed as a shooting guard, Wesley could turn into a combo-guard that can be a team’s primary ball-handler because of his tight handles and his understanding for the game. Possessing a strong looking jump-shot and having the ability to get to the rim offensively, the Notre Dame product will most definitely be a first-round prospect.
#26 Kennedy Chandler - Guard - Tennessee - Freshman
#27 Bryce McGowens - Guard - Nebraska - Freshman
#28 Christian Koloko - Center - Arizona - Junior
#29 Terquavion Smith - Guard - North Carolina State - Freshman
#30 Leonard Miller - Forward - Canada
#31 Max Christie - Guard - Michigan State - Freshman
#32 Walker Kessler - Center - Auburn - Sophomore
#33 Wendell Moore Jr. - Forward - Duke - Junior
#34 Dalen Terry - Guard - Arizona - Sophomore
#35 Patrick Baldwin Jr. - Forward - Milwaukee - Freshman
#36 David Roddy - Forward - Colorado State - Junior
#37 Jean Montero - Guard - Overtime Elite
#38 Caleb Houston - Forward - Michigan - Freshman
#39 Christian Braun - Guard - Kansas - Junior
#40 Jake LaRavia - Forward - Wake Forest - Junior
#41 Ismael Kamagate - Center - France
#42 Trevor Keels - Guard - Duke - Freshman
#43 Jabari Walker - Forward - Colorado - Sophomore
#44 Peyton Watson - Forward - UCLA - Freshman
#45 Gabriele Procida - Guard/Forward - Italy
#46 Hugo Besson - Guard - France
#47 Harrison Ingram - Forward - Stanford - Freshman
#48 Josh Minott - Forward - Memphis - Freshman
#49 Orlando Robinson - Center - Fresno State - Junior
#50 Keon Ellis - Guard - Alabama - Senior
To see Brett Siegel’s FULL 2022 NBA Draft Big Board 2.0/Top-100 Prospects list, click here.