After months of speculation and intrigue, the 2022 NBA Draft is finally upon us. While fringe contenders like the Toronto Raptors will try to sneak into that elite tier by knocking it out of the park on draft day, plenty of rebuilding teams will try to nab their next great star.
While the top names in the draft (namely Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero) are all ready to come off the board early, this lottery class hosts plenty of future stars and role players who are just waiting to get into the right situation to strut their stuff.
The myth that this draft is going to fall off a cliff once the top three needs to be dispelled. If your team has picks in the 20s, there could be a future All-Star waiting to be snatched up.
The time for wondering who will go where is officially over. Let’s get down to brass tacks. What is this draft going to look like? Which teams will come out on top? Which teams are going to look back on tonight and shake their head?
2022 NBA Mock Draft 4.0
The links pushing Smith to Orlando are getting stronger, and it’s easy to see why Jahaml Mosley could be eager to make him the Magic’s franchise player. The former 5-star recruit and expert marksman from 3-point range has everything that teams want to see in a modern power forward.
Smith averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while nailing 42% of his 3-pointers. Some finishing concerns are not enough to take him out of the top spot. Mosley needs to give Smith the ball and get out of his way. Doing so could help the Magic step on the accelerator and move to the next stage of the rebuild.
NBA Mock Draft: Will Jabari Smith go over Chet Holmgren?
Holmgren is a bit of a bizarre prospect, as he doesn’t even weigh 200 pounds despite standing 7-0. Chet is still more than deserving of that lofty draft position, as he is a master shot-blocker and expert shooter with guard-like lateral mobility. Oklahoma City would start him at center right away and never look back.
The Thunder appear to have their backcourt of the future all locked up thanks to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, but they need a center that could pack more of a punch on both ends. If Holmgren adds weight and brings his offensive creation to the pros, OKC will start raking in the All-Star nods.
Banchero will head to Houston as the consensus No. 3 player in the draft. Even though he might not be the most fantastic defender right now, his ability to stuff the stat sheet is so impressive that the Rockets should run to the podium to select him despite the presence of Christian Wood and Alperen Sengun.
Banchero is already the best interior finisher in the class and a primo athlete at the power forward position. Getting a haul of assets for Wood and creating a super-young Big Three of Banchero, Jalen Green, and Sengun will help Houston become one of the best young offensive teams in basketball.