Early notes on my 1st 2022 NBA Mock Draft.
- We already know about the close relationship between Chet Holmgren & Jalen Suggs. And now with Mo Bamba rumored to not return to the Orlando Magic, this just gives me another obvious reason why Chet will go #1.
- Although, when it comes to my rankings, I have Chet at #4 with 1. Smith 2. Banchero 3. Sharpe above him. Smith & Banchero already have NBA ready bodies and go to moves while Sharpe probably has the highest potential of any player in this draft. As for Chet, he’s going to have to get stronger and find his style of play. Kevin Durant had a similar body to Chet, but KD was a born scorer. Holmgren has a nice feel for the game on both ends, but doesn’t do anything exceptionally well right now at the pro level.
- I would love for Houston to end up with Jabari Smith at #3, but he’s the best all around NBA prospect in this draft, as his ability to guard all five positions and shooting stroke at 6-10 should be too hard to pass up at #2 for OKC.
- However, Paolo Banchero is the best scorer in this draft and I can see him and Jalen Green combining for 60-80 point games in Houston’s future. A future Jayson Tatum & Jaylen Brown type scoring duo.
- Having three 20 point guys in De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, and Shaedon Sharpe that all play different ways should make the Kings excited this season/going forward. Sharpe showed off a smooth handle and jumper at the NBA Draft Combine this week in Chicago.
- Seeing how Cade Cunningham & Killian Hayes played together (not well) made me select Jalen Duren for the Pistons at #5. He’s already a beast physically, and doesn’t turn 19 until November. Cunningham needs the ball in his hands and so does Jaden Ivey, and Detroit also needs a big man that can produce on both ends. Isaiah Stewart brings it on defense/is only 6-8 and Marvin Bagley is more offensive minded, which is where Duren can become the starting center for this team. A lot of people don’t have Duren this high on their mocks, but I liked what I saw out of Cunningham & Bagley together on the floor offensively, a bunch of lobs & run outs. Duren can hold his own defensively at 6-11, 250 pounds and does way more than just catch lobs and run (pick & rolls, post ups, assists). Most NBA big men today are only good on one side of the ball, while Duren already has quite the potential on both ends.
- This leaves Jaden Ivey going to the Indiana Pacers at #6. I think this is the best situation for Ivey because he can get the ball right away. Despite Indiana finishing 13th in the East, they have much more pieces than a lot of other bottom teams. So if they can get Ivey with the 6th pick, I can see Indiana taking next year seriously.
- Two names I have high on my mock that others don’t are Nikola Jovic to the Spurs at #9 & Jaden Hardy to the Cavs at #14. Again, the Spurs’ international draft history could be a sign they take Jovic, but an even more clear cut reason to take him is the need for a true scorer. Jovic was listed as 6-11 with shoes, 7’0.25 wingspan, 9’0.5 standing reach, 222.6 lbs at the recent NBA Draft Combine (via ESPN’s Jonathan Givony). Last time I saw Jovic’s measurements he was 6-10 & 209 lbs, so I believe his numbers at the combine were a great sign. Especially putting on the weight to go along with his near 7 foot height. He reminds me of a longer and better Bogdan Bogdanovic. Now for Jaden Hardy at #14, yes that is very high, but I’m still not convinced there are many other players better than him on offense. He has Trae Young range and got to be in a pro atmosphere this season with the G League Ignite, while other top scorers in the draft including Keegan Murray, Johnny Davis, & Bennedict Mathurin spent an extra year in college. Also Cleveland had no guard scoring off the bench in their play-in game against the Hawks, as Caris LeVert had to start for the injured Collin Sexton. LeVert & Hardy off the bench could be a dynamic bench backcourt for the future.