2022 NBA Draft Grades
2022 NBA Draft Grades
The NBA Draft is over and there were certainly some shockers, starting with the first pick as Paulo Banchero went to Orlando. Ben Hayes will analyze and grade how each team performed in the draft. Did they reach? Did they fill important needs? This is mainly based on the first-round pick for each team as most second-round picks either don’t make the team or make very little impact their first season if they are in the NBA.
Atlanta Hawks: B-
Atlanta doesn’t need a whole lot. Assuming they eventually deal John Collins, they will need a power forward. A.J. Griffin is not a power forward, but can be another solid small forward. They already have DeAndre Hunter, so don’t get the fit here. He also has some injury question marks and defensive issues. But he can flat-out shoot it. The Hawks took Tyrese Martin, a senior wing from UConn with the 51st pick. He shot 43% from three-point range last season, but is 23.
Brooklyn Nets: Incomplete
The Nets did not have a pick in the NBA Draft.
Boston Celtics: B-
Boston had just one pick and they took J.D. Davison, a point guard from Alabama at 53rd overall. Davison is an excellent athlete and more of a long-term prospect because he did not play well last season. Good passer and a strong defender, which is now a Boston trait.
Charlotte Hornets: B+
Charlotte traded away the 13th pick and passed up on Jalen Duren. That was the right move by taking Mark Williams at 15. Williams is already 7-2 with shoes and is going to be a great rim protector on defense. If he develops any kind of offense, he’ll be the next Rudy Gobert.
Chicago Bulls: C-
Thought Dalen Terry was a bit of a reach at 18. He’s an athletic wing at 6-7 with some upside. Does have a 7-1 wingspan and has defensive potential. The problem is that his shooting and lack of halfcourt offense will be an issue early on.
Cleveland Cavaliers: B-
Ochai Agbaji made a lot of money due to a strong NCAA performance. He was terrific, but at 6-5, 217, he’s pretty limited to shooting guard. He should be able to defend and switch well due to his strong frame. He does fill a need. After that, Cleveland grabbed three players in the second round, including Evan Mobley’s brother Isaiah at 49. All three are projects, though Mobley does shoot it well and might be able to make the rotation in his first or second season.
Dallas Mavericks: B+
The key for Dallas this offseason is trying to bring back Jalen Brunson. They already added Christian Wood, so that was a good start. They didn’t have a first-round pick, but they got a first-round talent at 37 overall when they chose Jaden Hardy from G League. Hardy has a chance to be a very good offensive player and he can learn behind Luka Doncic, Spencer Dinwiddie and Brunson (if he returns).
Denver Nuggets: C+
Thought taking Christian Braun at 21 was a slight reach. He’s a good defender and very athletic, who could turn out to be a pretty good 3-and-D player. Fortunately, he’s an outstanding cutter without the basketball and that should help Nikola Jokic add more assists. They also added Peyton Watson with the 30th pick and final selection of the first round. Watson is a 6-8 guard out of UCLA and has a lot of potential. But here’s a team ready to win and he’s more of a developmental guy you take in the second round.
Detroit Pistons: A
Added Jaden Ivey in the fifth pick of the first round. That’s a steal. Will he fit with Cade Cunningham? Maybe not right away as both are still learning, but the future is bright for this Pistons’ team with Saddiq Bey, Ivey and Cunningham. They also traded up to get Jalen Duren, a rim-running shotblocker from Memphis. He has a ways to go offensively, but already has the physique to be effective on defense.
Golden State Warriors: C
It’s hard to give a negative grade to an organization as good as the Warriors, but even they make mistakes. Patrick Baldwin Jr. out of Milwaukee has the intangibles and size at 6-10. He struggled with ankle injuries and played just 11 games. They added Ryan Rollins at 44, a shooting guard from Toledo. That was a better pick though he shot just 31.7% from 3-point range in two seasons. More of a change-of-pace guard who will have time to improve his game on the bench and in the G League.
Houston Rockets: A
So Orlando shocks the world with Banchero, which left Houston with Jabari Smith. Many feel he could be the best player in the draft because he is a tremendous shooter and can switch on defense. He fills in for Christian Wood and should shine right away. If he improves his handle, he’ll become an elite player. Tari Eason was an interesting pick, because he might end up as a power forward and Smith plays the same position. He can guard at least three positions and his improved three-point shot (36%) makes him a scary talent. Houston added more talent when they took TyTY Washington Jr. from Kentucky at 29. He can play either guard spot and should have a ship on his shoulder considering he went so later.
Indiana Pacers: A
Some feel that Bennedict Mathurin has a chance to be the best player in the draft. I don’t agree with that sentiment due to issues on defense, but I like the pick at 6. He’s an explosive wing who can score in a variety of ways. A bit of a gunner, who has to limit the turnovers. The Pacers trade to get point guard Andre Nembhard from Gonzaga at 31. He is a solid pickup if they are going to move Malcolm Brogdon. He doesn’t have a lot of quickness, but if you are looking for athletes, they found one at 48. Kendall Brown was a steal at 48. The Baylor product could be special once he fills out and improves his game.
LA Clippers: B-
The Clippers had the 43rd pick and there’s only so much you can do. They didn’t get an immediate impact guy in Moussa Diabate, out of Michigan. But the 6-10 post player will have a chance to learn and grow with a veteran team.
LA Lakers: C
Los Angeles found a way to get a pick early in the second round. Max Christie was a bit of an odd pick considering that there were more NBA-ready players available. Christie is a good shooter and has potential, but is a couple of a years away.
Memphis Grizzlies: B-
Memphis made a bunch of moves, because let’s face it. They only really need depth. But taking Jake LaRavia at 19 and moving 22 and 29 to get him was a bit odd. He’s very skilled at 6-8, 230 and could eventually replace Kyle Anderson. But seems like this was a bit of a reach and more of a need pick. Defensively, will be the key for him. Can he defend power forwards in the NBA? They also traded with Philadelphia to pick up the 23rd pick and selected David Roddy from Colorado State. He’s a huge body at 6-4, 260 and can shoot threes. He has legitimate skills and plays hard. Was he worth sending De’Anthony Melton though?
Miami Heat: B+
Miami had just one pick and took International player Nikola Jovic. He’s around 6-10 and is a very good passer (kind of like Nikola Jokic). He’s also on the thin side and will need to get stronger to become a better defender. Fortunately, Miami has a top-notch S&C program. Only issue is that he’s 19 and probably won’t play much this season.
Milwaukee Bucks: A-
Milwaukee took MarJon Beauchamp at 24 and that was a pretty good spot for him. He adds some size to the wing position and can get to the basket. He’s also a strong defender and has a 7-1 wingspan. That’s perfect for the Bucks, but for him to see a lot of time early, he has to improve as a shooter. Hugo Besson was the last pick of the draft, but the 6-6 shooting guard from France is a legit scorer and at 21, should be able to play right away.
Minnesota Timberwolves: C+
This was an interesting draft. Why would Minnesota take a backup center in the first round? Walker Kessler could provide important defense with the second unit, but was a weird pick. Wendell Moore Jr. from Duke was a better pick at 26. At 6-5, he can guard multiple positions and can play some point.
New Orleans Pelicans: A+
This draft is all about one player: Dyson Daniels. At nearly 6-8, he can play either guard spot. He’s an outstanding passer and defender. Sure, he needs to improve his shooting, but at 19, that should come down the line. When you throw in that they added 6-7, 240-pound E.J. Liddell at 41st overall, the Pels did a great job. Liddell is a mid-first-round talent who for some reason slipped but his size and athletic ability along with skills will make him an impact player right away.
New York Knicks: C+
The Knicks made about 100 trades. It started with dealing the 11 pick to Oklahoma City for potentially three first-round picks (one is contingent on Washington’s record). The key thing was picking up extra cap space so they can make a run at Jalen Brunson, which is not a franchise-changing move. They did take Trevor Keels at 42, another Duke guard who can play the point. He probably should have stayed in school, but he’ll be fine as a rotational player. They deserve a C for the pick and a B for the effort to get more picks.
Oklahoma City Thunder: A
When you wind up with a Chet Holmgren, the 7-footer from Gonzaga. It’s hard to give them something outside of an A. He does have some bust potential because his frame, but the talent on both ends for a 7-footer is something we’ve never seen before. They added Osmane Dieng at 11 and Jalen Willams from Santa Clara at 12. Williams was moving up the draft boards and wasn’t a huge shock that he got taken that high. Dieng is from France is more of a long-term pick but is very long and the Thunder are not ready to compete just yet. Even Adding Jaylin Williams from Arkansas at 34 was a strong pick due to his outstanding defense.
Orlando Magic: B+
The pick of Banchero was a head-scratcher only because the Magic did such a great job of hiding it until the day of the draft, when rumors started improving his odds in the sportsbooks. Banchero certainly has the frame at 6-10, 250 and all the skills on offense. He’s athletic enough but will need work on the defensive end.
Philadelphia 76ers: Incomplete
Give Philly credit for getting De’Anthony Melton for the 23rd pick. He’s a very solid rotation player and backup point guard. The process however is not to be trusted.
Phoenix Suns: Incomplete
Did not have a pick
Portland Trailblazers: B-
Portland took a shot on Shaedon Sharpe at 7, the 6-6 leaper from Kentucky. I say from Kentucky, but he never played there. It’s hard to judge Sharpe because he has so little film on him, but it’s not a huge risk at 7 to take a skilled wing with a 49-inch vertical leap. They also took Gabriele Procida at the 36th pick. The 6-7 wing from Italy is a very good shooter, but doesn’t do a whole lot else. At 19, he’ll have time to learn the game and might stay overseas for a year or two.
San Antonio Spurs: A
I love Jeremy Sochan. There aren’t many players who think defense-first and don’t mind sharing the ball. At 6-9, 230, he’s athletic and long enough to defend all five positions. Offensively, he’s raw, but not that far away from being competent. When you add the fact that they took freshman Malaki Branham at 20 and point guard Blake Wesley at 25, that’s an excellent trio. Now, Wesley has a ways to go, but the 6-5 Notre Dame product has upside as a point guard. Branham is a pure scorer from Ohio State who will learn from a Hall of Fame coach in Gregg Popovich.
Sacramento Kings: C+
Keegan Murray is a good player, but you make a trade here if you don’t want Jaden Ivey. Murray can defend and score, but doesn’t do anything spectacular. At 22, he’s not growing and hit just 29.6% from three-point last season.
Toronto Raptors: C
The Raptors had just one pick and they added some much-needed size at center. Christian Koloko is an athletic center and from Cameroon, just like Pascal Siakam. He was Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year last season, but has some work to do with the offensive part of the game. This was a slight reach here.
Utah Jazz: Incomplete
The Jazz did not have any draft picks. Stay tuned for a bumpy summer.
Washington Wizards: B-
The Wizards were looking to move up or trade their 10th pick for a veteran. They couldn’t find the right deal or they just decided that Johnny Davis from Wisconsin was too good to pass. The 6-5 guard plays the same position as free agent Brad Beal. Assuming Beal re-signs for the super-max, Davis or Beal will have to move to point guard. Davis is a solid two-way player who needs to work on his three-point shot. He was their draft (they went stash-and-dash late in the second round) and now they need to make a deal for a point guard.