• Sudeep Tumma

Ask Tumma's 2022 NBA Mock Draft

It's draft time.

It’s almost draft time. While most eyes have been on the trio of prospects at the top of the list, the 2022 draft holds a bevy of talented prospects who could make an impact at the next level. So let’s get to it.

1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith (Fr.) Auburn: Power Forward

Every NBA team had one player average at least 17 PPG — except for one. The Magic desperately need an alpha scorer, and Jabari Smith provides them exactly that with his Kevin Durant-esque jump shooting ability. The 6-10, 220-pound Smith shot 42.0 3PT% and possesses a masterful mid-range game. He’s a smooth athlete with good length, defensive versatility and plenty of upside as he fills out his frame.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren (Fr.) Gonzaga: Power Forward

Chet Holmgren is the closest thing we have to a unicorn in this draft. His gaudy jump shot is fused with high-level point forward skills, excellent rebounding chops and imposing defensive traits. At 7-0, with a 7-6 wingspan, Holmgren is an imposing shot blocker (5.4 BPG per-40). His 190-pound frame is certainly a concern, but his willingness to be physical bodes well as he fills out his frame. Holmgren’s upside is mouth-watering.

3. Houston Rockets: Paolo Banchero (Fr.) Duke: Power Forward

The Rockets get this draft’s most NBA-ready prospect. At 6-10, 250 pounds, Banchero's physical maturity stands out, but his complete skill set is the true prize. Banchero’s full arsenal of moves is aided by tremendous footwork and body control. His agility and ability to create off the bounce at his size make him a devastating cover. Although his upside is the lowest of the top three, Banchero doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses and is the most complete prospect.

4. Sacramento Kings: Jaden Ivey (So.) Purdue: Shooting Guard

Jaden Ivey is simply too explosive and dynamic to pass up. Ivey is an electric athlete who improved his playmaking and 3-point shooting significantly as a sophomore. Along with an explosive vertical, Ivey’s start/stop ability is truly special. At 6-4, 195 pounds with a 6-10 wingspan, Ivey’s combo guard and two-way appeal only add to his profile. With Ivey, the Kings select another athletic phenom to their backcourt along with De’Aaron Fox.

5. Detroit Pistons: Shaedon Sharpe (Fr.) Kentucky: Shooting Guard

The Pistons got it right with Cade Cunningham, now they take a chance on this draft’s biggest risk/reward pick. Sharpe 6-6, 200-pound frame gives him great positional size and is an explosive leaper with a 49-inch vertical. Sharpe's a top-tier finisher with three-level scoring ability. With his 7-0 wingspan, Sharpe has the upside to develop into an excellent defender. Still, the concerns over his jump from high school to the pros are clouding his draft stock.

6. Indiana Pacers: Keegan Murray (So.) Iowa: Power Forward

After trading away Domantas Sabonis, the Pacers have a glaring hole at power forward. They fill it perfectly with Keegan Murray, who averaged 23.5 PPG on 54.4 FG% because he does the little things so well: running the floor, crashing the offensive glass (2.9 ORB) and instinctual off-ball cuts. But that shouldn’t diminish his legit skill set. Murray is an underrated 3-point shooter and a savvy low-post threat with legit dribble-drive skills. He’s an instant-impact prospect with upside.

7. Portland Trail Blazers: AJ Griffin (Fr.) Duke: Small Forward

Portland seems content building around Damian Lillard. Following the C.J. McCollum trade, it’ll need to add a difference-maker. Insert AJ Griffin. After he dropped the injury woes early, Griffin boasted splendid efficiency numbers (49.3 FG%, 44.7 3PT%). With a “low center of gravity,” a compact 6-6, 222-pound frame and a perfect blend of power/strength/body control, Griffin is a high IQ and talented scorer. He flourished with or without the ball for Blue Devils.

8. New Orleans Pelicans: Bennedict Mathurin (So.) Arizona: Small Forward

With Zion Williamson back in the fold, the Pelicans will have three high-volume ball-handlers. Adding Bennedict Mathurin gives New Orleans an immediate 3&D player to slide into the lineup. Mathurin is an above-the-rim athlete with a terrific first step who possesses NBA range and moves well without the ball. Mathurin’s defensive intensity is superb. At 6-6, 220 pounds, with a 6-9 wingspan, Mathurin should be a seamless fit.

9. San Antonio Spurs: Johnny Davis (So.) Wisconsin: Shooting Guard

The Spurs’ lack of go-to scoring outside of Dejounte Murray was evident in the play-in game. They fill that need with a high-profile shot-creator in Johnny Davis. He isn’t the best athlete, but he compensates for it with a high IQ and excellent court awareness. Davis is a mid-range maestro who excels as a pick-and-roll ball-handler. At 6-5, 196 pounds, he’s adept at creating for himself and teammates, is a committed rebounder and a lockdown defender who can guard 1-3.

10. Washington Wizards: Dyson Daniels (Fr.) G League Ignite: Point Guard

Similar to the Pacers, the Wizards have a glaring hole. Except it’s at point guard for them. Dyson Daniels is shooting up draft boards. The 6-6, 199-pound PG exhibits an NBA-ready physical profile and maturity. His patented floater and spin move are at the crux of his finishing ability. He’s an excellent decision-maker and passer with the ability to post up smaller guards. Daniels’ perimeter shooting is a work in progress, but his defensive capabilities ignite his appeal.

11. New York Knicks: TyTy Washington (Fr.) Kentucky: Point Guard

The Knicks are also in desperate need of a floor general. While TyTy Washington’s main role was as 2-guard, he was also Kentucky’s defacto backup PG and shined as a 1. He displayed the ability to run the offense and create for himself and others while playing with an incredible pace to his game. Washington’s killer mid-range and floater highlight his scoring package, but he’s a three-level scorer with solid passing vision. At 6-3, 197 pounds, his 6-9 wingspan helps him tremendously on defense.

12. Oklahoma City: Ousmane Dieng (Intl.) NZ Breakers: Shooting Guard

It’s no secret OKC’s front office is comfortable in this grueling rebuild. So here they snag one of the rawest prospects in this class. Ousmane Dieng’s agility and ability to handle at 6-10 is a highly-coveted trait. He’s shown much promise in creating space from deep in iso situations and pristine ability in pick-and-roll sets. His defense is inconsistent, but the physical tools are present for him to develop. Dieng’s true upside is the allure here — if he’s developed right.

13. Charlotte Hornets: Jalen Duren (Fr.) Memphis: Center

The Hornets badly need a center, and they get a serious talent in Jalen Duren. His offensive game is still raw, but his physical tools pop off the screen. At 6-10, 250 pounds with a 7-5 wingspan and a 42-inch vertical, Duren is an excellent athlete with great hands and footwork. With a smooth mid-range jumper and natural passing ability, Duren should fit into the modern NBA, even without 3-point range. His rebounding, shot-blocking and defensive versatility are impressive.

14. Cleveland Cavaliers: Malaki Branham (Fr.) Ohio State: Shooting Guard

The Cavaliers did a masterful job making do with their makeshift jumbo three-big lineup last year, but they need some legitimate wings who can shoot. Malaki Branham, who really shined in conference play (16.3 PPG, 52.3 FG%, 46.8 3PT%), has an ideal frame at 6-5 with a 6-11 wingspan. His mid-range jumper is elite and excels attacking the basket. He moves well without the ball and is a highly-effective defender, which fits the Cavaliers' MO.

15. Charlotte Hornets: Ochai Agbaji (Sr.) Kansas: Shooting Guard

The Hornets have a couple of fixtures in their lineup and would benefit from a 3&D wing in Ochai Agbaji. He was one of the best shooters in the nation this year, hitting 40.7 3PT% on a plethora of contested triples from deep range off his quick release. With an effective first step, Agbaji thrives on dribble-drive opportunities while taking smart shots. He projects best as a secondary option who’ll thrive next to the playmaking of LaMelo Ball.

16. Atlanta Hawks: Jeremy Sochan (Fr.) Baylor: Power Forward

The Hawks can score without a doubt, but the defense is where the questions arise. Jeremy Sochan is an uber-versatile combo forward who can do everything from run the point to operate as a small-ball 5. He’s an outstanding and truly versatile defender who can cover multiple positions and is an excellent rebounder. He’s a downhill driver who is still working on tightening up his jump shot, which will be key considering he’s a good, not great athlete.

17. Houston Rockets: Kennedy Chandler (Fr.) Tennessee: Point Guard

The Rockets are just trying to grab the best talent right now, and they get Jalen Green’s potential backcourt mate with the lighting-quick Kennedy Chandler. Although he’s undersized at 6-0, 171 pounds, Chandler’s 6-7 wingspan, lethal first step and savvy scoring ability help offset that. He’s a shifty, creative ball-handler with burner speed and eye-catching leaping ability. He’s a magnificent passer and defender. His ultimate trajectory will revolve around his size woes.

18. Chicago Bulls: Mark Williams (So.) Duke: Center

The Bulls lack a true shot-blocking presence, and now they get one of the best in this class. The 7-1, 242-pound Mark Williams’ physical traits are too enticing to pass up with a 7-7 wingspan and 9-8 standing reach. He’s a premier rim protector and powerful rebounder who can run the floor. Although he shot an unfair 72.1 FG%, his offensive game is raw but promising. There’s gobs of upside with his body of work.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves: E.J. Liddell (Jr.) Ohio State: Power Forward

Jarred Vanderbilt’s offensive rebounding and effort level are nice, but the Timberwolves need a real starting power forward. Although E.J. Liddell is undersized at 6-7, he has improved his 3-point stroke (37.4 3PT%), playmaking (2.5 APG) and showed out with stellar defensive play. The upside questions are legitimate, but we’ve seen quite a few undersized big men flourish in today’s day and age with a versatile game.

20. San Antonio Spurs: Nikola Jović (Intl.) Mega Mozzart: Small Forward

The Serbian is one of the more intriguing international prospects in this draft. The 6-10 combo forward fits the modern-day profile of what NBA teams are looking for from a 3/4. Nikola Jović is a skilled forward who can handle, pass, shoot and move without the ball. It remains to be a seen if he can thrive as a No. 1 option, but he appears to be an effective No. 2/3 who should contribute to the Spurs from the get-go.

21. Denver Nuggets: MarJon Beauchamp (So.) G League Ignite: Shooting Guard

Denver lost its No. 2 and 3 options last year with Jamal Murray missing the whole season and Michael Porter Jr. playing only nine games, and their depth was exposed. Murray and Porter should be back next year, but they need some instant-impact pieces. MarJon Beauchamp is already 21, can defend multiple positions at 6-6 with a 7-1 wingspan and is an opportunistic bucket getter who doesn’t need plays run for him. He’d be a seamless fit in Denver.

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Blake Wesley (Fr.) Notre Dame: Shooting Guard

The Grizzlies are flush with young talent, so they take a swing at a high-ceiling prospect who’ll take some time to develop. Blake Wesley is an excellent athlete with an explosive first step. He already possesses a lethal pull-up jumper with incredible body control and three-level scoring upside. As he improves his shot selection/decision-making and packs on strength to his 6-5, 185-pound frame, Wesley presents some serious upside.

23. Philadelphia 76ers: Christian Braun (Jr.) Kansas: Shooting Guard

The 76ers are in a peculiar situation. Joel Embiid is obviously an MVP-caliber player, but James Harden’s future/role/effectiveness is in question going forward. Regardless, they’ll need effective role players — specifically wings — to compete. Chrisitan Braun is a deceptive athlete with toughness and moxie. He’s a serviceable 3-point shooter (38.6 3PT%) who can defend multiple positions, make plays for teammates and fulfill a 3&D prototype.

24. Milwaukee Bucks: Tari Eason (So.) LSU: Power Forward

Tari Eason took a massive leap as a sophomore after transferring from Cincinnati, upping his point-per-game average from 7.3 to 16.9. Eason, an uber-versatile defender, was a linchpin in LSU’s third-ranked defense. With a quick first step, Eason was a major mismatch at 6-8, 216 pounds. There are still some question marks/improvement areas, but Eason could be a sincere depth piece for the Bucks.

25. San Antonio Spurs: Walker Kessler (So.) Auburn: Center

The Spurs need big man depth and/or a potential replacement for Jakob Poeltl. Walker Kessler, who was debatably college basketball’s best shot blocker this past season (4.5 BPG in 25.6 MPG) comes in with some big-time measurables. At 7-0, 245 pounds with a 7-5 wingspan and 9-3 standing, he’s an elite shot blocker. But even at that size, he exhibits good mobility and flourishes as a pick-and-roll finisher. He fits what the Spurs look for in a center.

26. Houston Rockets: Jaden Hardy (Fr.) G League Ignite: Shooting Guard

Jaden Hardy is one of the biggest risk/reward picks of this draft. He started the year as a projected top-five pick, but his draft stock faltered because of perplexing shot selection/decision-making. Still, he has loads of talent with crafty handles and innate scoring ability. If he can get it figured out, Hardy could be a steal at this spot. It’s the right type of gamble for a rebuilding Rockets squad

27. Miami Heat: Trevor Keels (Fr.) Duke: Shooting Guard

Trevor Keels feels like a Miami player. At 6-4, 221 pounds, Keels is built like a linebacker and plays with that kind of physicality. While he has several areas to improve on, starting with his shooting, Keels’ toughness and competitive spirit make him a natural fit for the Heat culture. His perimeter shooting will determine his role as a rookie, but he can come in and do a lot of things to help the team as a two-way wing.

28. Golden State Warriors: Wendell Moore (Jr.) Duke: Small Forward

The Warriors need some reliable role players after all the talented stars at the top of the roster. The 6-6, 213-pound Wendell Moore had his best season with 13.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 4.4 APG. When he’s at his best, Moore looks like an NBA-caliber wing with his ability to attack the rim, hits triples and pass the ball, but consistency will be key. If he can stay steady, Moore can be a viable wing to slot into the rotation.

29. Memphis Grizzlies: Kendall Brown (Fr.) Baylor: Small Forward

The Grizzlies take another big swing with a mesmerizing athlete with heavy upside. At 6-8, 205 pounds, Kendall Brown is an elite athlete in all facets. He’s a terror in transition and a savvy off-ball cutter, but his offensive game is extremely raw and defensive struggles are apparent. He’s an intelligent passer and great rebounder, but his ability to create offense is lackluster. He fits the prototype of a raw, athletic wing who could develop into a star.

30. Denver Nuggets: Dalen Terry (So.) Arizona: Point Guard

This is a name that has been flying up draft boards. Dalen Terry’s stats never really caught any eyes on a loaded Arizona squad, but at 6-7 with a near 7-1 wingspan, Terry’s appeal is garnishing interest. He’s a defensive stopper with legit playmaking skills, but his perimeter shooting and overall scoring prowess will need to improve. Still, Terry should slot in easily as a combo guard off the bench for the Nuggets and contribute.

31. Indiana Pacers: Jalen Williams (Jr.) Santa Clara: Shooting Guard

32. Orlando Magic: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Fr.) Milwaukee: Small Forward

33. Toronto Raptors: Bryce McGowens (Fr.) Nebraska: Shooting Guard

34. Oklahoma City Thunder: Christian Koloko (Jr.) Arizona: Center

35. Orlando Magic: JD Davison (Fr.) Alabama: Point Guard

36. Portland Trailblazers: Jake LaRavia (Jr.) Wake Forest: Power Forward

37. Sacramento Kings: Caleb Houston (Fr.) Michigan: Small Forward

38. San Antonio Spurs: Hugo Benson (Intl.) NZ Breakers: Point Guard

39. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Nembhard (Sr.) Gonzaga: Point Guard

40. Minnesota Timberwolves: Peyton Watson (Fr.) UCLA: Small Forward

41. New Orleans Pelicans: Max Christie (Fr.) Michigan State: Shooting Guard

42. New York Knicks: Peyton Watson (Fr.) UCLA: Small Forward

43. LA Clippers: Justin Lewis (So.) Marquette: Small Forward

44. Atlanta Hawks: Jean Montero (Intl.) Overtime Elite: Point Guard

45. Charlotte Hornets: Ryan Rollins (So.) Toledo: Shooting Guard

46. Detroit Pistons: Jaylin Williams (Fr.) Arkansas: Center

47. Memphis Grizzlies: Khalia Diop (Intl.) Gran Canaria: Center

48. Minnesota Timberwolves: Trevion Williams (Sr.) Purdue: Power Forward

49. Sacramento Kings: Ron Harper (Jr.) Rutgers: Small Forward

50. Minnesota Timberwolves: Keon Ellis (Sr.) Alabama: Shooting Guard

51. Golden State Warriors: Johnny Juzang (Jr.) UCLA: Small Forward

52. New Orleans Pelicans: Michael Foster (Fr.) G League Ignite: Power Forward

53. Boston Celtics: Collin Gillespie (Sr.) Villanova: Point Guard

54. Washington Wizards: Ismael Kamagate (Intl.) Paris: Center

55. Golden State Warriors: Josh Minott (Fr.) Memphis: Power Forward

56. Cleveland Cavaliers: Dereon Seabron (So.) NC State: Shooting Guard

57. Portland Trail Blazers: Matteo Spagnolo (Intl.) Cremona: Point Guard

58. Indiana Pacers: Jabari Walker (So.) Colorado: Power Forward

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