Top 30 players in the 2022 NBA Draft

Top 30 players in the 2022 NBA Draft

The NBA Draft is nearly here as we’re about a month away (June 23) from the first pick being thrown out. This is a pretty deep draft, but there isn’t a definite star like a Ja Morant or Anthony Davis. In fact, when you go back in the last 10 drafts, there were few stars who were drafted No. 1 overall. Davis was the No. 1 overall pick in 2012, but Anthony Bennett (bust), Andrew Wiggins (finally playing well, but not worthy of top pick), Ben Simmons (falling off a cliff due to injury and a mental block), Karl-Anthony Towns (a star), Markele Fultz (injuries), Deandre Ayton (good player), Zion Williamson (injuries), Anthony Edwards (ascending player) and Cade Cunningham (too soon to tell) have followed. The Rookie of the Year in 2021-22 was Scottie Barnes, who was the fourth pick of the 2021 NBA Draft. He narrowly beat out Evan Mobley, who was the third overall pick that season.

This year, there are many intriguing prospects and three players who we assume will be taken in the top three. This is not a mock draft, but rather the top 50 players eligible for the draft according to yours truly.

1)Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga, PF/C (7-1, 190)

Holmgren is a polarizing player, not due to skill, but due to his thin frame. But Kevin Durant was also very thin coming out of Texas and he turned out pretty good. Holmgren is not Durant in terms of accurate shooting, but he handles the ball extremely well and could be a much better defender due to his length and shotblocking skills. If he adds 30-40 pounds in the next year or so, the sky is the limit. It also helps to have a 7’5 wingspan.

2)Paolo Banchero, Duke, PF (6-10, 250)

There’s no denying Banchero’s size and skill level. He can play all three frontcourt positions in the NBA, but for him to become a star, he needs to improve on the defensive end. His passing skills are outstanding he relied on overpowering smaller defenders. That will be more difficult in the NBA where he won’t be able to beat quicker defenders off the dribble.

3)Jabari Smith, Auburn, PF, (6-10, 220)

The 6-10 freshman has a pure shooter who can defend. However, there is a problem. He’s more of a three-and-D prospect because he doesn’t have great explosiveness off the dribble or at the rim. Many compare him to Rashard Lewis, who was a very good player before injuries derailed his career. Lewis also would have been a better fit in today’s game thanks to his three-point shooting, but he was not a creator with the ball. Neither is Smith. If he adds that to his game, he could be special.

4)Jaden Ivey, Purdue, G, (6-4, 200)

Terrific athlete who will fit well in the pros with his speed and size. Will need to improve as a shooter and decision-maker to play point guard full-time. Right now, he’s a combo guard or even a tweener. Also not a bad defender due to his huge wingspan, but needs to be more engaged on that end.

5)Keegan Murray, Iowa , F, (6-8, 225)

Murray had a tremendous sophomore season at Iowa. However, where does he play? Is he an undersized power forward? He’s just a basketball player who has a good fell for the game. He can shoot it from deep (40%) and will have no problem with the longer NBA 3-point shot. Probably not a star and isn’t a great shot-creator, but a solid player who can flat-out shoot it.

6)Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite, PG (6-7, 200)

Daniels is another long point guard in the mold of Cade Cunningham, though he’s not a big-time scorer. He has an excellent feel for the game at 19 and is an excellent passer and defender. The rest should come as he looked as though he could potentially be a solid shooter. At that size and when he gains more weight, he’ll be able to play four positions.

7)Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky, G, 6-6, 200

Sharpe is a ridiculous athlete who is just 18 and has never played a college game. He may have the biggest upside in the draft other than Holmgren. He has a nice jumper and can create his own shot off the dribble. Shot selection and ball-handling is a concern, but you would think there would be flaws for someone who hasn’t played college ball.

8)Johnny Davis, Wisconsin, SG, 6-5, 195

Davis is one of the best mid-range shooters in the draft. That’s not what the analytics people want. But Davis is a competitive player who will keep getting better. He struggled with injuries late in the season and that impacted his numbers. He also had 37 points and 14 rebounds against No. 3 Purdue on Jan. 5. Hard not to like his effort on defense and has decent size (6-6 in shoes) to play shooting guard.

9)A.J. Griffin, Duke, SF, 6-6, 222

Griffin has all the physical tools and the size, but lacks consistency. He can flat-out shoot the ball, but the rest of his game needs to catch up. He’s a player that could go anywhere from 7 to late lottery. With that kind of wingspan (7 feet) and strength, you would think he would be better defensively and would attack the basket more.

10)Jeremy Sochan, Baylor, F, (6-8, 220)

Sochan is a modern-day Dennis Rodman with his colorful hair and ability to rebound and defend. He’s probably more of a power forward because his offense is a work-in-progress, but he’s not far away. He is just turning 19 and he’s a solid pick for those who want defense-first.

11)Tari Eason, LSU, F, (6-8, 217)

Very long and athletic defender who has a solid upside. Has a 7’2 wingspan and also handles the ball well so he can create. He needs work on his left hand and his jumper is questionable so he’ll probably be drafted later in the first round. But the intangibles are there for him to be more than just a 3 and D guy.

12)Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona, SF/SG (6-6, 210)

Mathurin is a polarizing player because he’s a scorer, but he was poor on the defensive end of the floor. He’s also not a creator or a playmaker, but has the explosiveness and stroke to become a solid scorer. Another young player with a lot of room to grow.

13)Ousmane Dieng, New Zealand Breakers, G/F (6-10, 205)

Another youngster with a lot of potential and may still be growing. He just added two inches of height and has guard skills. Needs to add strength and his shooting form needs work. The fact that he can shoot, pass and dribble at 6-10 like a point guard is something to work with. But will need a year or two to get acclimated.

14)Malaki Branham, Ohio State, SG (6-5, 180)

Branham is a solid prospect because he will get bigger and stronger. Not a great athlete but is a decent defender and can score off the dribble. Does have good length which helps and should win up in the late lottery.

15)Mark Williams, Duke, C (7-0, 240)

Williams is the ultimate rim-protector with incredible length and a standing reach of 9’9. He’s limited offensively to dunks, but if he becomes the next Rudy Gobert or something close, who cares?

16)Jalen Duren, Memphis, C (6-11, 250)

Duren is another rim protector with long arms and great physical tools. He’s also very young at 18 and not super skilled. Needs to use his size and strength better, though offensively he is raw.

17)Ochai Agbaji, Kansas, SG (6-6, 215)

Agbaji exploded in his senior season. Seniors are usually not taken in the lottery, but he has a chance. He’s an outstanding shooter and is a solid 3-and-D guy who is an outstanding athlete. Not a lot of upside nor is he much of a playmaker. But you pretty much know what you’re getting and he's an NBA athlete with an NBA body already.

18)Kennedy Chandler, Tennessee, PG (6-1, 171)

There is a little Ja Morant in his game because he’s long (6-5 wingspan) and is an outstanding athlete. That upside makes him an interesting pick, but the lack of size could be a concern on the defensive end, especially when it comes to switching during a pick-and-roll.

19)Jalen Williams, Santa Clara, SG (6-6, 190)

Williams has a 7’2 wingspan, which is incredible for his size. He also has a good fell for the game. He’s more of a late bloomer with some point guard skills because he was 5-11 as a high school junior and great to 6-3 as a senior.

20)Kendall Brown, Baylor, F (6-8, 205)

Another youngster who is an elite athlete and can finish. But he is like his teammate Sochan, a work-in-progress on offense. His lack of ballhandling means that he’s more of a project than Sochan, but has the frame and potential if a team wants to wait.

21)TyTy Washington, Kentucky, PG (6-3, 200)

Washington is polarizing because there are so few quality college point guards. He’s one of the few, though there are questions about his lack of quickness. Kentucky guards usually work out so he could sneak in the late lottery. He also suffered an ankle injury that limited his effectiveness in non-conference play. Does have a good IQ and a solid touch from inside and out.

22)E.J. Liddell, Ohio State, PF (6-7, 240)

Liddell is Paul Millsap 2.0 with more explosiveness or similar to Grant Williams. He’s an outstanding athlete and had the highest standing vertical in Chicago. Very smart player who will figure it out on defense. Offensively, he’s developing a three-point shot but his strength is his athleticism at power forward to make up for his lack of size.

23)Jake LaRavia, Wake Forest, PF (6-8, 235)

LaRavia moved up to the first round by making 18-of-25 from three-point range in Chicago. Even though he spent three years in college, he’s just 20 and showed at the combine that he’s fairly athletic. Very good passer and highly skilled will get him a long look as a possible first-rounder.

24)Terquavion Smith, NC State, G (6-4, 160)

Smith is another polarizing prospect. Maybe it’s due to his thin frame or the fact that he’s more of a combo guard. But he’s a walking bucket. He did well in Chicago and probably moved in the first round due to his marksmanship. Even with the defensive issues, who wouldn’t want a player who can come off the bench and get buckets like a Jordan Poole?

25)Walker Kessler, Auburn, C (7-1, 245)

Kessler has some upside because big guys that can block shots and protect the rim are useful. He’s also a legit 7-footer with a 7’4 wingspan and has the potential to become a three-point shooter sort of like Brook Lopez (or if not Robin).

26)Andrew Nembhard, Gonzaga, PG (6-3, 193)

Another Gonzaga guard who knows how to play. He was outstanding in Chicago with 26 points and 11 assists. Takes care of the basketball and has deceptive quickness. Some concerns about defense and upside.

27)Wendell Moore, Duke, G/F (6-5, 215)

A big guard who finally became a more reliable player as a junior. More of a 3-and-D player who shot 41.3% from three-point range at Duke last season and also had 4.4 assists. Not much of a shot creator.

28)MarJon Beauchamp, G League Ignite (6-7, 185)

A long and athletic wing who is a solid mid-range shooter and should eventually become a decent three-point marksman. Not much of a shot creator and limited explosion. Needs more strength.

29)Nikola Jovic, Serbia, F (6-10, 222)

Maybe some team will take him because his name is close to Nikola Jokic. But he’s more of a wing player with his skills. An excellent passer and playmaker. Needs to get stronger. Has the size and skill level that could see him go closer to the lottery.

30)Jaden Hardy, G League Ignite, (6-4, 190)

Hardy is a talented guard, but he didn’t test or scrimmage at the combine. He can flat-out score and is about to turn 20. There is some upside though he’s not a very athletic player, which is why he probably didn’t test.

Author Profile
Ben Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 35 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for nearly 30 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13! Ben has had great success in handicapping college football, the NFL, college basketball, the NBA and MLB for 27+ years. His Twitter handle is @BenHayesWAW