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2022 NBA Mock Draft: First Round Picks, Predictions & Player Notes

Jun 18, 2022
Jabari Smith

Mark your calendars. We are officially less than a week away from the NBA draft. Withdrawl deadline is behind us, the lottery, combine, and workouts are behind us. Interviews are nearly wrapped up, and players are ready. Let’s take a look at a first-round mock for the 2022 NBA Draft.

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2022 NBA Mock Draft: First Round Picks, Predictions & Player Notes

  1. 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.
    Version 1: Jabari Smith
  2. 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.
    Version 1: Chet Holmgren
  3. 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 bad88 but will be fun to watch.
    Version 1: Paolo Banchero
  4. 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 that 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.
    Version 1: Keegan Murray
  5. 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.
    Version 1: Jaden Ivey
  6. 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.
    Version 1: Shaedon Sharpe
  7. 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.
    Version 1: Dyson Daniels
  8. 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. Benedict Mathurin is tempting here, though.
    Version 1: Johnny Davis
  9. San Antonio Spurs – Bennedict Mathurin (SG – Arizona): The Spurs could go a number of ways here. They could go with a big like Jalen Duran (who I had in my first mock) or look to grab a guard like TyTy Washington, but that feels like a reach. Instead, we’ll go with Mathurin landing here and have him step in right away beside Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson.
    Version 1: Jalen Duren (C – Memphis)
  10. Washington Wizards – 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 Washington to (hopefully) pair with Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis
    Version 1: Bennedict Mathurin
  11. 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 Mitch Robinson on his way out the door, but Jalen Duran is an option, too.
    Version 1: Mark Williams
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jalen Duren (C – Memphis): The Thunder are already extremely young (and fun!), so why not add one of the youngest (and most fun!) players in the draft to their core? They’ve been missing a rim-running big, and Duran paired with the young core they have in place will be fun to watch.
    Version 1: A.J. Griffin
  13. Charlotte Hornets – Jeremy Sochan (F – Baylor): The Hornets would love to have Williams or Duran 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.
    Version 1: Jeremy Sochan
  14. 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.
    Version 1: Ochai Agbaji
  15. 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.
    Version 1: Ousmane Dieng
  16. Atlanta Hawks – Tari Eason (F – LSU): Eason to the Hawks is picking up some steam as his stock is rising. He’s fit their mold and could step in right away as an NBA-ready rotational player. Plus, if they move Clint Capela and/or John Collins, he’d give them the depth needed to ease those losses.
    Version 1: Malaki Branham
  17. Houston Rockets – Malaki Branham (G/F – Ohio State): Each time I look at the board, I’m surprised how far I have Branham falling. I don’t think this is an exciting pick for the Rockets, but it’s a versatile pick as the Rockets look to build their identity.
    Version 1: Jalen Williams
  18. Chicago Bulls – Jalen Williams (SF – G League Ignite): I’m torn on what the Bulls will do here, and I had them making a surprise pick with MarJon Beauchamp in my initial mock and they could still go that route. But instead, let’s pivot here to Jalen Williams, who is rising up draft boards. Williams could slot in and help the Bulls on the wing immediately to help ease the potential loss of Zach LaVine.
    Version 1: MarJon Beauchamp
  19. 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 front court. 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.
    Version 1: Nikola Jovic
  20. San Antonio Spurs – TyTy Washington Jr. (PG – Kentucky): I’m not a Washington fan, but I think I was too hard on him by having him fall to the very end of Round 1 in my first mock. The Spurs make sense as a landing spot here, with him being able to be the No. 2 beside and behind Murray instead of running the show right away.
    Version 1: Jaden Hardy
  21. 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, and being on the court with Nikola Jokic can allow him to do just that.
    Version 1: Kendall Brown
  22. Memphis Grizzlies – Kennedy Chandler (G – Tennessee): This is a pick I’d place a one unit bet on to happen. The Grizzlies have been linked to Chandler, and he makes sense with Tyus Jones‘ likely departure in free agency. Will they pass up on Chandler to land Jaden Hardy, who they’ve also been linked to? Either pick will be a win for Memphis, but we’ll stick with Chandler.
    Version 1: Kennedy Chandler
  23. Philadelphia 76ers – E.J. Liddell (F – Ohio State): The Sixers and their fans know what their window is, and after the debacle of 2021, they are dying for a title run. The Sixers need an NBA-ready prospect who can step in and contribute right away. Enter Liddell, who can be a rotation wing to pair with Matisse Thybulle as an elite lockdown pairing.
    Version 1: Tari Eason
  24. 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.
    Version 1: Wendell Moore
  25. San Antonio Spurs – Jaden Hardy: A nice value play for a player whose stock has fallen. Leaving the draft with Hardy, Washington, and Mathurin is the best-case outcome for San Antonio. Hardy also gives the Spurs some Lonnie Walker insurance.
    Version 1: E.J. Liddell
  26. Dallas Mavericks – MarJon Beauchamp (F – G League Ignite): For me, it comes down to Beauchamp or Patrick Baldwin Jr. here for the Mavericks. The Mavericks need a wing who can step up and hit shots from behind the arc as well as play some D. Beauchamp’s edge on defense gives him the nod here.
    Version 1: Patrick Baldwin Jr.
  27. 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 six-man.
    Version 1: Blake Wesley
  28. 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-stopper. Koloko, along with former first-round pick James Wiseman, could provide that for the Warriors as they continue to build through the draft.
    Version 1: Christian Koloko
  29. Memphis Grizzlies – Patrick Baldwin Jr.: A month ago, it seemed very unlikely that Baldwin Jr. would fall this far in the draft. But his stock is falling, but even so, the Grizzlies would be happy to have him. Increased wing presence is a need in Memphis, and Baldwin can provide that.
    Version 1: Walker Kessler
  30. Denver Nuggets – Bryce McGowens (G/F – Nebraska): The Nuggets could go a number of ways with this pick after acquiring it from Oklahoma City. Jake LaRavia would be fun, but the Nuggets need a bigger, defensive-minded wing to help on the perimeter. McGowens can give them just that for the second unit.
    Version 1: TyTy Washington Jr. (to OKC)

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