2022 NBA Draft Primer
What I'd do in the lottery and some interesting UDFAs to look for
Though I’m not releasing a big board, I’ve decided to put out one last piece on this year’s draft, going through the lottery and explaining what I’d do with each pick (NOT what I think will happen). To finish off, I’ll go over 3 likely undrafted players that I think could be interesting pick-ups for teams. For those receiving this in their email, I recommend opening in browser as part of the article will be cut off due to size.
1) Orlando Magic - Paolo Banchero
While most mocks have Orlando taking Jabari Smith, I actually spent most of my time trying to decide between Holmgren and Banchero. In the end, I decided on Banchero who gives Orlando a high-usage player they can finally trust. He should be able to slot in at the 4 right next to Wendell Carter Jr. whose defense next to Banchero should make for a good fit. Read more about Banchero here:
2) Oklahoma City Thunder - Chet Holmgren
At number 2, OKC gets their guy. Holmgren will provide an immediate boost to the Thunder’s defense and will prove to be a lethal pick & roll partner with both Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Holmgren is good, but nobody has been able to stop Presti’s tank. Can he be the one to convince OKC to cash in on their treasure trove of picks for another star? Time will tell. Read more about Holmgren here:
3) Houston Rockets - Jaden Ivey
Pairing Jalen Green with Jaden Ivey was too fun of an idea to pass up on. The 2 would instantly become the most explosive backcourt in the NBA, leading the Rockets to the League Pass Championship. Ivey played with a great passer in Trevion Williams at Purdue and can likely develop a similar synergy with Alperen Sengun. Read more about Ivey here:
4) Sacramento Kings - Jabari Smith
Smith falling this far is less of an indictment on him and moreso my belief in the players picked above him. In Smith, the Kings get a lights-out shooter to space the floor for the dynamic duo of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Smith’s elite, switchable perimeter defense allows him to slot in at the 3 or 4 and guard down as needed. While his pedestrian handle and offensive movement skills limit his ceiling somewhat in my eyes, he’s young enough to prove me wrong and put those concerns to rest. Read more about Smith here:
5) Detroit Pistons - Jalen Duren
At 5, the Pistons find the perfect big for Cade. Duren will immediately provide Cunningham with an elite lob threat and his rim protection will strengthen a Detroit defense that ranked 24th in the NBA last season. At still just 18 years old, Duren’s upside is as enticing as it gets. Read more about Duren here:
6) Indiana Pacers - Johnny Davis
At 6, the Pacers get a player for now and the future. Davis should come into the league ready to give a team legitimate minutes as a 3&D guard, and his upside as a shot-maker and 3-level-scorer shouldn’t go unnoticed. While Davis isn’t the most Rick Carlisle-y player (Keegan Murray and Dyson Daniels are probably more his flavor), pairing Tyrese Haliburton with a guard as talented as him makes too much sense. Read more about Davis here:
7) Portland Trail Blazers - Dyson Daniels
The fastest riser in this year’s draft goes all the way to 7. Daniels gives the Trail Blazers a dribble/pass/shoot player to pair with Damian Lillard and a suddenly young core. Daniels’s ability as a connector and defensive prowess make him a great fit for a Blazers team that badly needs his skillset. Is it enough to keep Dame happy? Read Neema Djavadzadeh’s thoughts on Daniels here.
Check out my 2022 NBA Draft results if you haven’t already!
8) New Orleans Pelicans - AJ Griffin
Adding a lethal shooter to a team that already employs the player with the most rim gravity in the league AND CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram is pretty unfair. Griffin is already a special player and if he can regain some of the defense and athleticism he had pre-injury, watch out. Read more about Griffin here:
9) San Antonio Spurs - Bennedict Mathurin
With the 9th pick, the Spurs add another young wing to a talented group that includes Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell. This is somewhat of a BPA (best player available) selection for San Antonio, who get an athletic, elite movement shooter who currently struggles as a creator and defender. Read more about Mathurin here:
10) Washington Wizards - Keegan Murray
Keegan Murray gives the Wizards a player they can immediately play next to duo Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis. The Iowa star saw a huge jump in production his Sophomore season and projects to be both a +shooter and defender. Though his age raises doubts to his ceiling, he’ll be ready to contribute right away. Watch @ChipJNBA’s thoughts on Murray here:
11) New York Knicks - Shaedon Sharpe
The Knicks badly need an advantage creator, but at this point in the draft there’s really no realistic avenue to addressing that. So with the 11th pick, the Knicks instead take Shaedon Sharpe who at 19 years old has proven to be a talented shooter and elite vertical athlete.
12) Oklahoma City Thunder - Jeremy Sochan
At 12, the Thunder nab the best wing defender in the class. With the Thunder, Sochan should have free reign to make mistakes and would form a formidable defensive frontcourt with other 2022 selection Chet Holmgren. Sidenote, an SGA/Giddey/Kenrich Williams/Sochan/Chet lineup would be really weird and fun. Read more about Sochan here:
13) Charlotte Hornets - Mark Williams
I know I said that this would be what I would do if I had the pick, but the Hornets seem so deadset on a center this draft that I’m just going to go ahead and give them Williams. The Duke sophomore will give Lamelo Ball another lob threat and should rack up blocks on the defensive end of the floor.
14) Cleveland Cavaliers - Tari Eason
Tari Eason is an agent of chaos and could make the Cavs’ defense laughably good. At LSU, Eason racked up steals and blocks at a record-setting pace, and playing next to 2 elite rim protectors to occasionally clean up his messes should allow Eason to continue wreaking havoc. Read more about Eason here:
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The following 3 players are projected to go undrafted. Here’s why teams should be looking to acquire them.
Scotty Pippen Jr.
Role Probabilities (via draft model): 42/32/7/19
After an impressive Sophomore season, Scotty Pippen Jr. picked up where he left off, averaging 20+ ppg for the second year in a row. Pippen’s biggest strength is probably his rim pressure, getting to the rim 188 times this year (75.7% unassisted), and is excellent at drawing fouls (0.58 carer ftr). On the defensive end, he’s got great feel, oftentimes reading opposing offenses to grab steals (2.9 stl%) and get out in transition. Pippen should be able to give teams scoring juice off the bench, but, as an undersized guard, will likely need to improve his pull-up shooting to maximize his effectiveness.
Experts Consensus: 59
Role Probabilities: 33/36/30/1
There are only 58 picks in this year’s draft and Trevion is currently 59th ranked by consensus. Williams is coming off a great season at Purdue with Jaden Ivey, where he got to show off us his elite passing and post-play. The biggest questions about his NBA fit lie in his role in a halfcourt offense where he doesn’t get frequent post touches, and what he’ll look like defending pNr in the league. Read more about Williams here:
Experts Consensus: 75
Role Probabilities: 18/42/17/22
Are we in the midst of a Slovenian golden generation? Samar is a 6’6 guard and an excellent playmaker out of the pick and roll. His shot has historically been somewhat inconsistent, but he shot 47% from deep this year on 1.7 attempts per game. His feel on offense transfers to the defensive end as well, consistently sporting +stl% rates in Europe. Hopefully, Samar can follow in the footsteps of fellow Slovenians Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic, carving out his own role as a high-feel guard in the NBA.
Well, that’s it from me for this 2022 draft cycle. I hope you’ve enjoyed my coverage as much as I’ve enjoyed doing it. I don’t plan on slowing down too much on here this summer. I’ll probably take a short break after the draft and then come back with something after that (prob something about breakout NBA candidates in 2023), so make sure to subscribe in anticipation of that. Thanks for reading.