2022 NBA Mock Draft: First Round Picks, Predictions, & Player Notes
While the NBA Finals are still going down, we can’t help but to look ahead to not only NBA free agency, but also to the NBA Draft. The draft, which is scheduled for June 23, is one of the biggest nights of the year for fans of the association.
We’ll have you covered here at FantasyPros with fantasy fallout from the draft, but leading up to the event itself, I’ll be rolling out my mock drafts each week for how I see the event shaking out.
Now, we will see a lot of movement in the draft. We always do. We see teams moving up, moving down, and trading out altogether. While it’s easy to identify some of those teams (hello, Portland and San Antonio), for this exercise, we are just going to take the picks at face value with the assigned team.
Let’s get to it, and I’m sorry in advance for how much I hate your favorite team.
Check out our other 2022 NBA Mock Drafts:
- Kyle Williams’s mock drafts: 1 Round | 2 Rounds
- Ari Koslow’s first-round mock draft
- Jamie Calandro’s first-round mock draft
- Orlando Magic – Jabari Smith Jr. (F – Auburn): Smith or Chet Holmgren? Holmgren or Smith? That’s what it comes down to for the Magic, who have a ton of interesting pieces on their roster but remain stuck in the mud. Smith is the more NBA-ready player and feels like the better bet to reach his overall potential.
- Oklahoma City Thunder – Chet Holmgren (C – Gonzaga): If it’s me, I’m taking Paolo Banchero, who is the better player and will be the better player at the next level. But with a roster desperately lacking an impact big to ride with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, expect the Thunder to take Holmgren.
- Houston Rockets – Paolo Banchero (F – Duke): Houston has the best pick in the draft, as they can take whichever of the Big Three fall to them. I expect it to be Banchero, and the Rockets and their fans should be thrilled with that. He’s NBA-ready after one season at Duke, and Jalen Green has mentioned their friendship. The Rockets will be bad but will be fun to watch.
- Sacramento Kings – Keegan Murray (F – Iowa): While Jaden Ivey is tempting here — and would fit the mold for the Kings taking a guard in the first round the last three years — Murray to Sacramento is picking up steam. He fits the timeline of the Kings, and while it will take some time for him and Domantas Sabonis to gel, he makes the most sense … which is assuming a lot for the Kings to do something that makes sense.
- Detroit Pistons – Jaden Ivey (G – Purdue): While Ivey is probably the better player, Murray would make the most sense for the Pistons so that they could move Jerami Grant in a trade. But with Ivey here, he would add a nice backcourt complement to Cade Cunningham, as the two have different styles that can balance each other out.
- Indiana Pacers – Shaedon Sharpe (G/F – Kentucky): I wouldn’t at all be shocked to see Sharpe go as high as four to the Kings, and it would be a very Kings pick to do that. Sharpe has incredible upside, but it’s really unknown potential after not playing at all after enrolling at Kentucky.
- Portland Trail Blazers – Dyson Daniels (G/F – G League Ignite): This is where things start getting interesting. We could go many ways here, but with Portland being a mess, Daniels could provide impact short and long term for them.
- New Orleans Pelicans – Johnny Davis (G/F – Wisconsin): The Pelicans are in a great place right now and ready to compete. Despite having solid backcourt depth, Davis would be able to step in Year 1 and offer the scoring and defense that the Pels need for the second unit.
- San Antonio Spurs – Jalen Duren (C – Memphis): Sharpe would make sense here for the Spurs, but with him off our board, we’ll pivot to one of the youngest players in the draft with Duren. Expect the Spurs to practice the patience needed while he develops.
- Washington Wizards – Bennedict Mathurin (SG – Arizona): Mathurin to the Wizards is gaining a lot of traction if they hold their pick. Mark Williams would make sense given the need for a big, but Mathurin could step in right away given his shooting ability. He’s the safe play here.
- New York Knicks – Mark Williams (C – Duke): Watching what the Knicks will do — and how their fans react — is always a highlight of the draft. This year, expect the Knicks to target a big or a point guard. Williams makes more sense here with Mitchell Robinson on his way out the door.
- Oklahoma City Thunder – A.J. Griffin (G/F – Duke): There are questions around his medicals, but Griffin could be the steal of the draft if he could fall to the Thunder here at 12. He would bring a solid perimeter shooting threat to Oklahoma City and could develop into a plus defender.
- Charlotte Hornets – Jeremy Sochan (F – Baylor): The Hornets would love to have Williams or Duren fall to them here, but with them off of our board, let’s go with Sochan. He’s an intriguing prospect who can bring some much-needed 3-and-D potential to the Hornets.
- Cleveland Cavaliers – Ochai Agbaji (G – Kansas): The Cavaliers are going to be everyone’s favorite breakout team this year and they remind me a lot of the 2021-2022 Memphis Grizzlies. That said, they need to worry about players who can help them this year. Welcome to the fold, Agbaji.
- Charlotte Hornets – Ousmane Dieng (F – New Zealand Breakers): The Hornets are in a position where they’ll make noise this year and have the depth they want. They can afford to bring on Dieng and allow him time to develop slowly.
- Atlanta Hawks – Malaki Branham (G/SF – Ohio State): Branham falling out of the lottery would be a surprise, but it would be a surprise the Hawks would be happy with. He’d bring some versatility being able to play the two or three on the floor with his high IQ.
- Houston Rockets – Jalen Williams (G/F – Santa Clara): The Rockets already got their guy in Banchero, so they can go a number of ways here. With Williams being one of the players whose stock has risen the most, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Houston take a shot at him here.
- Chicago Bulls – MarJon Beauchamp (SF – G League Ignite): I’m torn on what the Bulls will do here, but I think they surprise some people by taking a shot on Beauchamp. He’s raw but can turn into a solid rotation player.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – Nikola Jovic (F – Serbia): There are a number of directions the Wolves could go here with this pick, but expect them to tackle the frontcourt. With the nucleus they have, they can afford to allow Jovic — who I am dubbing The Jester, btw — to develop into the high-floor rotation player he’ll be.
- San Antonio Spurs – Jaden Hardy (SG – G League Ignite): A nice value play for a player whose stock has fallen. Hardy gives the Spurs their second young upside player to pair with Duren. Hardy also gives the Spurs some Lonnie Walker insurance.
- Denver Nuggets – Kendall Brown (F – Baylor): Brown just feels like a Nuggets pick. He’s shown two-way flashes at Baylor but still has room to grow.
- Memphis Grizzlies – Kennedy Chandler (G – Tennessee): This is a pick I’d place a 1 Unit bet on to happen. The Grizzlies have been linked to Chandler and he makes sense with Tyus Jones‘ likely departure in free agency.
- Philadelphia 76ers – Tari Eason (F – LSU): The Sixers’ fans will probably hate this pick, but Eason would give Philly a nice rotation big who doesn’t have a huge ceiling but a decent floor.
- Milwaukee Bucks – Wendell Moore Jr. (G/F – Duke): Moore would give the Bucks a player who can step in from Day 1 and contribute. He plays unselfish ball and would fit right in on the second unit.
- San Antonio Spurs – E.J. Liddell (F – Ohio State): Enough upside for the Spurs. Let’s go with an advanced collegiate player in Liddell, who can still develop at the next level. He’s a solid 3-and-D player the Spurs can use right away.
- Dallas Mavericks – Patrick Baldwin Jr. (F – Milwaukee): There are concerns with his game for sure, but the Mavericks need someone who is capable of hitting the outside shot. Baldwin would be a solid complement to Luka Doncic — warts and all.
- Miami Heat – Blake Wesley (G/F – Notre Dame): You know what’s better than one Tyler Herro? Two of them. Wesley reminds me a lot of Herro, and with Herro likely moving into the Miami starting lineup next year, Wesley could fill his role off the bench as a high-upside sixth man.
- Golden State Warriors – Christian Koloko (C – Arizona): Koloko just makes too much sense here for Golden State, as the only thing they lack is a rim protector. Koloko, along with former first-round pick James Wiseman, could provide that for the Warriors as they continue to build through the draft.
- Memphis Grizzlies – Walker Kessler (C – Auburn): As much as I like Xavier Tillman, he’s just a guy, whereas Kessler could provide that true presence that the Grizzlies need with the second unit and as a rim protector as Steven Adams continues to get beat up. Kessler has lottery-type upside and could climb before the actual draft.
- Oklahoma City Thunder – TyTy Washington Jr. (G – Kentucky): Look, I’m the first to admit that the chances of Washington falling to the last pick of the first round are slim to none. But it’s the way my draft fell, and evaluators are torn on Washington given his age as a freshman. He profiles more like a rotation piece to me, but he’s a great value here for the Thunder.
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