The 2022 draft is days away and the big picture has started to come together, with teams finalizing their boards and trade talks beginning to get serious. And as of this morning, I think it’s fair to say that there’s more uncertainty around the league this late in the process than there’s been in some time. Teams certainly have some sense of what’s going to happen, but the Magic and Thunder in particular have played things close to the vest at the very top, leaving slivers of doubt here and there as to how this goes down. The possibility of trades all over the draft—potentially in the top 10—should make this a fascinating final stretch.
As usual, the SI mock aims to predict what the draft would look like if it took place on a given day. These projections are heavily informed by intel from around the NBA and ongoing conversations with executives, scouts and others around the industry, in addition to my own personal evaluations of players, which in many cases date back years. Note that these are *not* prospect rankings: for that, take a look at our final Big Board. These projections will be updated throughout the week to reflect new information coming in, and any transactions that take place prior to the draft.
1. Magic: Jabari Smith Jr., F, Auburn
Height: 6' 10" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Freshman
While the Magic haven’t tipped their hand on what they’re doing at No. 1, the likely choice remains Smith, who is viewed by many around the NBA as the draft’s best prospect. The Magic have brought in Smith, Holmgren and Paolo Banchero, among others, but it’s Smith who rival teams believe will be the choice, and it’s also notable that he seems excited to land in Orlando. While the Magic also have a soft spot for Holmgren, there’s some thought right now that his camp would prefer to land elsewhere. Smith is the top prospect on my board, and this decision is not something the Magic will necessarily have to overthink.
The Magic have several good pieces in place, including Franz Wagner, but don’t have a true focal point of their rebuild yet. Smith’s impeccable jump shooting, versatile, high-energy defense, and room to improve both physically and skill-wise make him an incredible player to build around. He’s a legitimate culture-setting player with his work ethic and attitude, his strengths are easily translatable, and he could accelerate toward stardom pretty quickly as he matures physically and becomes a more comfortable ball-handler.
2. Thunder: Chet Holmgren, F/C, Gonzaga
Height: 7' 0" | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Freshman
Although it’s noteworthy that the Thunder haven’t shown their cards here, there’s a sense around the NBA right now that Holmgren’s camp would prefer he land in Oklahoma City. Paolo Banchero remains a possibility here, and I wouldn’t rule him out. But there’s no team better positioned to develop Holmgren than the Thunder, who can be patient with him and have playmakers on the roster who can help facilitate his growth as a scorer. He fits the size/skill ethos Sam Presti has often favored in the draft and would be a justifiable home run swing here, although there remains wide variance of opinion on him around the league.
Holmgren will face a pretty steep adjustment to the physicality of the league, but has succeeded in spite of his slender build at each stop. If he delivers on his promise as a defensive anchor and versatile offensive cog, the fit here is strong. Oklahoma City wants to play big, skilled lineups, and he certainly matches the criteria, with an extremely rare combination of size and ball skills that will make him a fascinating player to track over the next few years.
3. Rockets: Paolo Banchero, F, Duke
Height: 6' 10" | Weight: 250 | Age: 19 | Freshman
The safe assumption remains that Houston will take whichever of Banchero or Holmgren falls here. Of the projected top three prospects, only Banchero worked out for Houston, and he’s thought to be comfortable landing with the Rockets, who appear to be his backstop. Banchero’s unique mix of power, skill and passing chops let him operate all over the floor as a playmaking fulcrum, and pairing him with Jalen Green in two-man situations offers a lot of creative possibilities. There aren’t many players his size with his level of coordination, and he should be able to create plenty of mismatches if deployed creatively.
Banchero’s jumper comes and goes at times, but he had a strong freshman season on the whole and should be prepared to help contribute on a rebuilding team immediately. He’s not a rim protector, but some of the defensive concerns with him are otherwise a tad bit oversold. The Rockets seem prepared to try him with Alperen Sengun up front, although that may not be an ideal pairing as far as defending the paint is concerned. Regardless, Banchero’s feel for scoring and finding teammates should take him a long way, and if his shot-making and defense trend up, there should be All-Star caliber seasons in his future.
4. Kings: Keegan Murray, F, Iowa
Height: 6' 8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 21 | Sophomore
A healthy trade market for Sacramento’s No. 4 pick has emerged in recent days, putting the Kings in a fascinating position as the draft approaches. There’s internal impetus to improve the team with experienced talent, and the presumed availability of Jaden Ivey—who could become the best player in the draft with the right level of nurture—has drawn suitors around the league. If another team is willing to meet the asking price, which seems certain to be steep, there’s a nonzero chance the Kings make a move here and trade back. If they keep the pick, rival teams believe they’re leaning toward Murray, who worked out for them in Sacramento and is believed to be a favorite of ownership.
While there’s a valid argument to take Ivey in spite of concerns about he and De’Aaron Fox’s overlapping skill sets, as I understand it, Ivey has not worked out for Sacramento and appears to be comfortable landing elsewhere. Murray has plenty of upside in his own right and splits the difference between winning now and building for the future. He’s good at pretty much everything, and improved playmaking and jump shooting would make him even more dynamic. Teams love Murray’s serious-minded, no-frills approach, and he’s an excellent fit in a smaller market. His floor remains Indiana at No. 6.
5. Pistons: Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
Detroit is thought to be heavily interested in Ivey, who would lock in their long-term backcourt plans alongside Cade Cunningham and make them a more dynamic offensive team right away. While it’s not a sure thing he’s available, the Pistons would be thrilled if he falls here. Detroit needs to get more athletic and bolster its offense as it builds out the roster around Cunningham, and stands to benefit from the pace and firepower Ivey should immediately supply. In tandem, they could become one of the league’s best backcourts.
Ivey should immediately be a force in transition and attacking the paint with NBA spacing, but he’s still refining his game as a playmaker and learning to defend with intent. His strengths should take pressure off Cunningham to create every shot, and conversely, he’ll be able to cover for Ivey’s shortcomings in the halfcourt. It’s a strong match in theory. In addition, the expectation around the league remains that the Pistons will look to move Jerami Grant, although it’s not yet clear if that will materialize prior to draft night. Those types of trade scenarios could potentially land Detroit another first-round pick.
6. Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin, SG, Arizona
Height: 6' 6" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Sophomore
It’s not much of a secret around the NBA at this point that the Pacers strongly covet Keegan Murray, with their preferred outcome being one where he falls to No. 6. In the event Murray is off the board, Indiana is thought to be eyeing a shooting guard here, with Mathurin one of the names in play, along with Shaedon Sharpe and Johnny Davis. Indiana doesn’t draft in the top 10 often and seemingly doesn’t intend to bottom out next season, so this is a big opportunity to add a foundational player.
Mathurin has had a strong predraft process and doesn’t figure to be on the board very long; he is in play all over the top 10. He is young for a sophomore and will immediately bring some shooting and physicality on the wing. He is also still expanding his handle and playmaking and can become a more consistent defender. While that gives some teams pause, it also leaves a ton of room for growth. As an elite athlete who can shoot on the move, Mathurin offers plenty of upside.
7. Trail Blazers: Dyson Daniels, G/F, G League Ignite
Height: 6' 7” | Weight: 195 | Age: 19
The Trail Blazers continue to explore the market for this pick, sources say, with the Thunder and Hawks primarily linked to this spot as potential trade partners. Portland appears to be trying to revitalize its roster around Damian Lillard, creating some impetus to deal. But if the Blazers keep their pick, Daniels is believed to be on their shortlist of options, as someone who can help thread the needle between finding short-term help and sustainably transitioning into a rebuild. His feel and ability to initiate offense and defend all over the floor would work nicely in tandem with Lillard.
Having already spent a successful year in the G League, Daniels is one of the most mature prospects in the lottery and has been a standout in the predraft process. He seems destined to be a valuable playoff contributor with his versatility and smarts, even if he’s never a top-flight scorer. His catch-and-shoot game remains a work in progress, but it’s trending in the right direction. Portland would be a pretty cushy landing spot for him. I would also keep an eye on Shaedon Sharpe here, if the Blazers decide to take the long view.
8. Pelicans (from Lakers): Shaedon Sharpe, SG, Kentucky
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Sharpe’s workouts have been a hot topic around the league over the past two weeks, and while teams have appreciated his willingness to compete against other prospects in three-on-three settings, the sense I get is that he hasn’t moved the needle enough to solidify a spot at the very top of the draft. Teams have expressed concerns about his motor and the fact he hasn’t logged many high-level minutes, and Sharpe hasn’t necessarily assuaged those issues behind the scenes. Still, teams picking toward the back of the lottery don’t expect him to be available there, and he remains a potential trade target for teams looking to move up into the 6-8 range, with Indiana, Portland and New Orleans all in play for him.
The Pelicans successfully developed quite a bit of roster depth last season, leaving them in a flexible position going into draft night if they want to take a big swing. Whoever New Orleans drafts won’t be under pressure to contribute immediately, and it has future first-round picks still incoming from the Lakers and Bucks. Considering Sharpe’s upside and the fact the Pelicans may not draft this high for some time, this could be a soft landing spot for him to get comfortable and eventually make a major impact.
9. Spurs: Ousmane Dieng, F, New Zealand Breakers (France)
Height: 6' 9" | Weight: 185 | Age: 19
Dieng has become one of the hotter names circulating as the draft draws closer, with some chatter going around that he might sneak into the top 10. With the 20th, 25th and 38th picks also in hand, the Spurs are in a flexible position, able to take whoever they like best at No. 9 and focus on positional contingencies later in the draft. Considering the Spurs’ quiet pursuit of Josh Primo last year, it’s not crazy to think San Antonio might do something unexpected here.
Although Dieng isn’t ready to contribute at a high level yet, his combination of youth, size and skill level help set him apart and portend untapped upside. He’s displayed strong passing feel and shooting potential, and wings with his type of all-around ability are always in high demand. Some teams have valid questions about his athleticism, and are a bit concerned with how small his sample size of positive play has been. But if you can afford to give Dieng some time, this is a pick that could pay off.
10. Wizards: Johnny Davis, SG, Wisconsin
Height: 6' 5” | Weight: 195 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
The Wizards have been exploring trade options with this pick and have shown interest in upgrading their backcourt as they look to improve the roster around Bradley Beal. They’ve been tipped as a team with interest in trading up for Jaden Ivey, but realistically may not have enough to offer to actually get that high. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see Washington move back or out of the draft entirely, depending on what caliber of player they can acquire in that type of move.
Washington has loaded up on forwards in the past several drafts and could turn elsewhere with this pick if they stay here. Davis would help address the need for a guard, and hopefully develop into a starting-caliber player in short order. Davis took a major leap last year and became one of the best players in college basketball, all while playing through injury and in a structured Wisconsin system. He boasts an unusually adept mid-range touch that teams hope will lead to more consistency from deep, and his rapid development points to even more room for growth, considering how seriously he takes his craft.
11. Knicks: Jalen Duren, C, Memphis
Height: 6' 11" | Weight: 250 | Age: 18 | Freshman
Without a ton to offer in trade scenarios, right now it feels more likely the Knicks stay put here and grab whichever prospect falls to them. If one of the guards falls out of the top 10, New York would be a potential landing spot. This could also be a spot where they target a big, with Duren and Mark Williams both in play in this range and Mitchell Robinson about to hit free agency.
Although Duren is more of a traditional center, he’s physically quite gifted and holds some appeal as a long-term piece worth developing, particularly as one of the youngest players in the draft. He’s a powerful leaper with a mature frame, good hands and feet, and some untapped skill potential. Teams have long held concerns over his inconsistent motor and occasionally questionable instincts, but if he puts everything together, he could become an upper-echelon center, if not a star.
12. Thunder (from Clippers): Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor
Height: 6' 8" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Freshman
The Thunder have been exploring opportunities to acquire a second top 10 selection using this pick, with speculation primarily linking them to the Trail Blazers’ pick at No. 7. It’s also possible that a high-upside, OKC-friendly prospect falls to this spot, which might compel them to see who falls here. Sochan has a lot of fans around the NBA, many of them selecting in the top 10, and it’s certainly possible he comes off the board higher than this.
Sochan is one of the most intriguing players in the draft from a defensive standpoint, as a tough, smart and switchable forward who supplies energy and attitude and plays a fearless style of basketball. His offensive game is more of a work in progress, but he’s a good ball-handler and passer for his size, and there’s a pretty reasonable chance he becomes a passable three-point shooter. While there are some developmental what-ifs here, there’s a lot to like, considering how advanced he is for his age.
13. Hornets: A.J. Griffin, G/F, Duke
Height: 6' 6" | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Freshman
If Griffin falls into the late-lottery range, his upside would likely be pretty tempting for the Hornets, who hold the keys to the middle of the draft with Nos. 13 and 15 in hand. Charlotte has been exploring all its options with these picks, with other teams looking to move up in the draft into this range. It seems unlikely that the Hornets use both of them.
While Griffin may not go in the top 10, he’s become a potential value pick, considering he is still 18 and has proven himself as a talented perimeter shooter. There are enough questions swirling around his health and mobility that he’s become a candidate to slip, although it’s unclear right now how far down the board that could actually take him. There were times where he looked physically limited at Duke, particularly on the defensive end, but the hope is Griffin will stay healthy and give himself a runway to get his body right. This pick could pay off nicely, considering Charlotte’s need for more shooting.
14. Cavaliers: Jalen Williams, G/F, Santa Clara
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Junior
It’s well-known in league circles that the Cavs are a suitor for Ousmane Dieng, but it feels increasingly unlikely he actually makes it to their pick at No. 14. Considering Cleveland is set up front with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, it will likely target the best perimeter talent on the board at this spot. There’s a need here for a wing who can make plays for teammates and shoot, and Williams fits that description. It’s easy to envision him fitting in pretty much anywhere, and he’s drawing interest from teams picking higher than this spot.
Williams ended the college season as a prospect many teams were hoping would fly under the radar, but following the combine, the entire league has caught on, and his stock has skyrocketed. He’s had a really strong predraft process on all accounts, and with just a few days to go until the draft, there’s a chance he could sneak into the lottery. His versatility, length and ability to play on and off the ball should allow him to fit into a rotation right away.
15. Hornets (from Pelicans): Mark Williams, C, Duke
Height: 7' 2” | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
As mentioned previously, it feels like the Hornets probably won’t use both of their picks in the teens. It’s possible they keep No. 13, then move back off of No. 15, which looks like a possible trade-up spot for other teams. Still, Charlotte’s need for a long-term center is well-known around the league, and if they don’t acquire a veteran by other means—they’ve been linked to Myles Turner—one of these picks will presumably be a landing spot for Jalen Duren or Mark Williams. And if they choose to keep both picks, the Hornets could pass on a center and still get one at No. 15, due to the low likelihood Cleveland would pick a big.
Williams projects as a reliable rim-protecting presence due to his athleticism and sheer size, and his lunchpail approach to rim-running duties have gradually endeared him to scouts. He’s huge, he’s not a total stiff, and he figures to be an above-average two-way player, although his lack of a jumper and potential struggles defending in space may cap his upside. He’s an outstanding fit in Charlotte, where he’d be the recipient of lobs from LaMelo Ball and help stabilize the defensive end.
16. Hawks: Malaki Branham, SG, Ohio State
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Freshman
The Hawks are one of the teams to monitor closely this week: sources say they’ve been actively looking to move into the top 10 and are eyeing Portland’s selection at No. 7, among other scenarios. Atlanta appears to have real interest in drafting a guard to pair with Trae Young. And John Collins, Clint Capela and Kevin Huerter have all surfaced as trade possibilities. The Hawks have enough options on the table that they kind of hold the keys to the transaction circus and have surfaced as a possible bidder for Rudy Gobert. So, keep in mind that this pick could be on the move somewhere else.
If Atlanta stands pat, Branham makes sense here as one of the higher-upside prospects potentially available outside the lottery, factoring in his youth and current trajectory. He is a bit undersized for a scoring wing and isn’t extremely explosive, but he is crafty and smart and should shoot it at a high clip. He was a nice surprise for Ohio State, and while it’s hard to expect him to step in early and help a team, he’s a worthwhile development pick in this range.
17. Rockets (from Nets): Tari Eason, F, LSU
Height: 6' 8" Weight: 215 | Age: 21 | Sophomore
Yes, the Rockets are probably taking a power forward at No. 3, but that may not stop them from rolling the dice on someone like Eason here, as Houston is in a phase where they can and should be throwing as many developmental darts as possible. The Rockets should be in a flexible position if they decide to keep this pick, with No. 26 now also in the fold after trading Christian Wood to Dallas. Houston rostered four rookies last year, and it stands to reason it may not want to carry three more, so it’s logical to think this pick could still wind up elsewhere.
Eason’s offensive productivity, analytics-friendly profile and disruptive capabilities on the defensive end would make him a strong fit in Houston, where he won’t have to do much creating and can be tasked with wreaking havoc and playing with energy. He’s more of a work in progress than your typical 21-year-old prospect, and he’s an acquired taste from team to team, due more to concerns about his maturity and feel than his skillset. There’s still a chance that he could slip into the 20s, but Eason’s impressive physical tools and the strength of his breakout year make him worth a long look in this range.
18. Bulls: Ochai Agbaji, SG, Kansas
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 215 | Age: 22 | Senior
The Bulls have been exploring trade options using this pick and are also said to be shopping former lottery pick Coby White, although the market for his services doesn’t appear to be the strongest. If Chicago stays put, this will be an opportunity to add a player who can feasibly deepen its bench next season. If Agbaji falls here, he’d likely be an attractive option due to his experience and reliability.
Agbaji likely comes off the board in the teens and is one of the more ready-made contributors in the draft, having earned the respect of NBA teams with the leap he made this season and his role in Kansas’s title run. While he likely won’t create much offense for himself, his three-point shooting and low-maintenance game make him a pretty safe option. He’s the type of player Chicago could plug in immediately to help space the floor.
19. Timberwolves: Wendell Moore, G/F, Duke
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 215 | Age: 20 | Junior
With Patrick Beverley approaching his mid-30s and entering a contract year, Minnesota is thought to have interest in finding a young guard to flank Anthony Edwards. Considering that this is a thin point guard draft, one alternative could be Moore, who can play on the ball in a pinch to similar effect while also defending several positions. He has a pretty ideal skillset for a modern role player and gradually won teams over with his consistent play.
Moore could be a valuable addition here, supplying role versatility and strong instincts on both ends of the floor. He doesn’t profile as a volume scorer, but his unselfish passing, transition play and improving jump shot should help him carve out a niche in support of star talent. Moore had a terrific junior year and his efforts often went underappreciated, but he’s a winning player with the type of well-rounded game that fits particularly well next to established stars, two of which the Timberwolves have in Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns.
20. Spurs (from Raptors): Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Keep in mind that it’s unlikely the Spurs use all their picks, as they have three first-rounders plus the 38th pick, giving them options to try and move around in the draft. Wesley should be on their shortlist of backcourt options, as a bigger guard with untapped upside who could become a downhill slasher and agile defender. They can afford to take a chance on his potential here and won’t have to rush him into big minutes right away.
Wesley didn’t have a ton of high-level experience prior to college, so he is at an early point in his development curve, but has shown some flashes of brilliance. He’s still quite raw and profiles better as a scoring combo guard than a true point, but he did a pretty good job carrying Notre Dame’s offense, all context considered. He’ll need to become a more effective catch-and-shoot player and sharpen his decision-making to make a smooth transition, but he remains a decent bet to go in this range.
21. Nuggets: Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest
Height: 6' 8" | Weight: 235 | Age: 20 | Junior
The Nuggets have a strong core in place and can approach this draft creatively, having also obtained the 30th pick from Oklahoma City via trade. This is probably about as high as LaRavia could go, but his passing and off-ball smarts fit nicely with Denver’s style of play, and he should supply passable minutes at either forward spot as a rookie. He endeared himself to teams over the course of the season with his competitiveness, efficient scoring and steady defense, building an analytics-friendly profile and gathering momentum as a potential first-rounder. LaRavia isn’t super explosive and isn’t going to create a ton of offense off the dribble, but he’s a smart passer and ball-mover who can accentuate talent around him.
22. Grizzlies (from Jazz): Dalen Terry, G/F, Arizona
Height: 6' 7" | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Sophomore
Per sources, the Grizzlies have looked at trading up into the teens, proposing packages that include this selection in combination with veteran players, including De’Anthony Melton. If they keep it, there should be good options on the board, with Terry rumored as a potential target for one of Memphis’s picks in the 20s. He played the predraft process well and appears entrenched in the first round, having enticed teams with his size, passing and connective skills. He’s not going to score a ton on a regular basis, but he’s an athletic, creative player who excels in the open floor and should become a capable defender. Terry has maturing left to do and has to improve as a jump shooter to maximize his value. He will require some patience, but appears to be on a good trajectory at the moment. He could be a nice addition to a team like the Grizzlies that has exciting young talent already in place.
23. 76ers: TyTy Washington, PG, Kentucky
Height: 6’ 3” | Weight: 195 | Age: 20 | Freshman
Unsurprisingly, the 76ers are thought to be exploring trade options including this pick as they look to shore up their supporting cast around Joel Embiid and James Harden. Considering Daryl Morey’s past distaste for using draft picks, it wouldn’t be surprising if someone else drafts here. That said, if Washington falls a bit, he'd be worth considering at this spot. Word is he hasn’t overwhelmed on the workout circuit and could be in for a bit of a slide. Despite an uneven freshman year, there’s still some optimism surrounding Washington’s context, as he played through injury and Kentucky guards have often fared better in the NBA. Still, he isn’t a great athlete or overly tall for a combo guard, and he’s a little bit polarizing, factoring in that he was quite old for a freshman. Washington may ultimately benefit from the fact this is a pretty thin guard draft, and he profiles as a potentially solid rotation option.
24. Bucks: Jaden Hardy, SG, G League Ignite
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 200 | Age: 19
While Milwaukee hasn’t used a first-round pick for itself since 2018, the Bucks have their key players under contract next season and have a good opportunity to add some youth to the roster through this draft. Trading back could also be an option here. But developing a talented scorer like Hardy might be enticing and could give their backcourt a different dimension. His stock fluctuated heavily this year, but he ended the season on a positive note and has a lot to offer on the offensive end, particularly if he’s able to adjust his shot selection and become more efficient. He’s a talented shot-maker, he has a good frame at his size, and it should help that he’s already been tested by the G League. Once projected as a lottery pick, Hardy becomes a nice value play in this range of the draft, and there’s enough upside here that it’s worth finding out.
25. Spurs (from Celtics): Ismael Kamagate, C, Paris Basket
Height: 6' 11" | Weight: 220 | Age: 21
As mentioned previously, the Spurs may not actually roster all four of their draft picks, and taking the international stash route might be attractive to them in the 20s. In a scenario like this where they grab perimeter players with their first two selections, Kamagate makes sense as a prospect they can keep overseas and bring into the fold later. While college bigs like Walker Kessler and Christian Koloko are also on the board here in this scenario, the ability to keep Kamagate overseas rather than use a roster spot has helped his case, considering he’s viewed as one of the better stash options. He’s got the physical tools and requisite understanding of his own role to succeed long-term as a screening, rim-running big, but he projects as more of a steady backup than a starting-caliber player.
26. Rockets (from Mavericks): Nikola Jovic, F, Mega Basket (Serbia)
Height: 6' 11" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19
Houston acquired this pick in last week’s trade that sent Christian Wood to Dallas, giving them three first-rounders to mess around with. It’ll be interesting to see if they use this pick or move it again. But adding a jumbo shooter like Jovic who could develop into more might be an interesting upside play, even though his stock has dipped a bit on the workout circuit. He holds appeal as a jumbo forward with perimeter skills, plus passing vision and a sweet jumper. He’s also a below-average athlete and likely to be a defensive liability, which are real concerns for teams. As I understand it, Jovic intends to come over to the NBA next season, so he won’t necessarily be a stash pick.
27. Heat: Christian Braun, F, Kansas
Height: 6' 7" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Junior
Rival teams believe there’s a good chance the Heat ultimately trade this pick, considering their salary cap situation and their knack for uncovering and developing undrafted talent. Braun has worked his way into the first-round picture, endearing himself to teams as a potential complementary player with his toughness, athleticism and defensive grit. There’s some mixed opinion about his shooting and actual skill level, which affects how you ultimately feel about his upside. But he’d be a potential fit in Miami as a low-usage offensive player who chips in toward winning in several ways and fits their general mold as a physical player who understands his own role.
28. Warriors: Patrick Baldwin Jr., PF, Milwaukee
Height: 6' 10" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Sources say the Warriors are working to trade this pick, considering their hefty payroll and the need to integrate James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody into the rotation next season. Baldwin remains an acquired taste due to his injury history and frustrating year in college, but continues to draw first-round interest based on his size and potentially elite three-point shooting. He needs to be able to stay healthy, improve his conditioning, regain his confidence and string games together, but it’s hard to imagine things can get much worse for him than they did in college. Teams will have to understand the context and feel comfortable to actually take the leap. Baldwin’s athleticism, defense and lack of physicality have inspired concern, but there are only so many knockdown shooters at his size, and most of them are valuable.
29. Grizzlies: Kennedy Chandler, PG, Tennessee
Height: 6' 0" | Weight: 170 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Rival teams say Memphis has preferred to hold onto this selection in its various trade scenarios, giving them an opportunity to select a cost-controlled player in this range of the draft. Factoring in the possibility Tyus Jones departs in free agency, it makes sense that the Grizzlies might address their backup point guard spot through the draft, with Chandler as one of the top options in a thin positional class. He’s capable of playing at a fast pace, distributing the ball, and supplying some moxie on the defensive end. He’s a capable standstill shooter, but he may have some trouble getting his shot off the dribble under pressure in the NBA. It’s hard to view him as more than a quality reserve considering his size. But Chandler has his merits as a player who should eventually provide steady minutes and lead bench units, and the fact he’s a Memphis native doesn’t hurt here.
30. Nuggets (from Suns): Andrew Nembhard, PG, Gonzaga | Senior
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 195 | Age: 22 | Senior
Denver acquired this pick (which originally belonged to Phoenix) from Oklahoma City last week, in a deal that also shed JaMychal Green’s salary in exchange for a future first-rounder. This may be a spot for the Nuggets to add some guard depth, considering their struggles to find steady backcourt play while Jamal Murray was out with injury. Nembhard supplies that, and his size should enable him to defend either backcourt spot in certain situations. He’s one of the most experienced point guards in the class, and he should have a pathway as a long-term backup in the league if he continues to make strides as a shooter.
31. Pacers (from Rockets): Walker Kessler, C, Auburn | So.
32. Magic: Caleb Houstan, F, Michigan | Fr.
33. Raptors (from Pistons): Justin Lewis, F, Marquette | So.
34. Thunder: E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State | Jr.
35. Magic (from Pacers): Peyton Watson, F, UCLA | Fr.
36. Trail Blazers: Bryce McGowens, SG, Nebraska | Fr.
37. Kings: Max Christie, SG, Michigan State | Fr.
38. Spurs (from Lakers): MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite
39. Cavaliers (from Spurs): Kendall Brown, F, Baylor | Fr.
40. Timberwolves (from Wizards): Christian Koloko, C, Arizona | Jr.
41. Pelicans: John Butler, F, Florida State | Fr.
42. Knicks: Trevor Keels, G, Duke | Fr.
43. Clippers: David Roddy, F, Colorado State | Jr.
44. Hawks: Gabriele Procida, G/F, Fortitudo Bologna
45. Hornets: Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo | So.
46. Pistons (from Nets): Khalifa Diop, C, Gran Canaria
47. Grizzlies (from Cavs): Josh Minott, F, Memphis | Fr.
48. Timberwolves: Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite
49. Kings (from Bulls): Jaylin Williams, C, Arkansas | So.
50. Timberwolves (from Nuggets): Karlo Matkovic, F, Mega Basket
51. Warriors (from Raptors): Hugo Besson, G, NZ Breakers
52. Pelicans (from Jazz): Matteo Spagnolo, G, Vanoli Cremona
53. Celtics: Tyrese Martin, G/F, UConn | Sr.
54. Wizards (from Mavs): Jamaree Bouyea, PG, San Francisco
55. Warriors: J.D. Davison, G, Alabama | Fr
56. Cavaliers (from Heat): Keon Ellis, SG, Alabama | Sr.
57. Trail Blazers (from Grizzlies): Yannick Nzosa, C, Malaga
58. Pacers (from Suns): Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite
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