With this year’s draft in the rearview, let’s take a way-too-early look ahead at the loaded 2022 NBA Draft.
1. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (2002)
Chet Holmgren is the No. 1 prospect from his high school class and he’s off to a one-year stop at Gonzaga. The 7-foot-1 center is a monster shot blocker with tons of versatility on offense. He can handle the ball, knock down jumpers, and find open teammates. Although he’ll need to add muscle to survive in the NBA, he’s a unique talent worthy of the first overall pick.
2. Paolo Banchero, PF, Duke (2002)
Paolo Banchero is a stretch-four who brings physicality and athleticism to the frontcourt. While there are plenty of guys on this list who need to get bigger and stronger to play at the next level, Banchero already has an NBA-ready body. He should be a focal point of Duke’s offense this season.
3. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite (2002)
Jaden Hardy is following in the footsteps of Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. Green and Kuminga proved that the G League Ignite can be a stepping stone for high-level prospects. Hardy is a scorer’s scorer
4. Adrian Griffin Jr., SF, Duke (2003)
Adrian Griffin Jr. is the first of a string of prospects with basketball pedigree. Adrian Griffin Jr. is the son of — you guessed it — Adrian Griffin, who spent nine years in the league with five different teams. Griffin Jr. is linking up with Banchero in Durham.
5. Jabari Smith Jr., SF, Auburn (2003)
Jabari Smith Jr. is the son of another NBA player. His father played four NBA seasons for four teams. Smith Jr. is a long, athletic wing who can knock down threes. NBA teams are always looking for wings with that skill set.
6. Patrick Baldwin Jr., SF, Milwaukee (2002)
Patrick Baldwin Jr. is going to Milwaukee over Duke. Why? His father, Patrick Baldwin Sr., is the head coach at Milwaukee. The fact that he’s going to a mid-major won’t diminish his draft prospects. Baldwin has elite shotmaking ability as a rangy wing.
7. Nikola Jovic, PF, Mega Soccerbet (2003)
Projecting this far into the future is a risky proposition and it is even tougher when dealing with international prospects. Nikola Jovic is a playmaker who happens to play power forward. At 6-foot-10 he might have some upside as a center, but he’s not going to wow anyone with his defense. Instead, his feel for the game on offense makes him one of the most exciting prospects in this class.
8. Yannick Nzosa, C, Unicaja (2003)
And it’s onto another international prospect — Yannick Nzosa. The Congo native has all the tools to become a high-level, rim-running center. Even though he’s 7-foot, he has incredible quickness and mobility.
9. Daimion Collins, PF, Kentucky (2003)
Kentucky is going to return to the lottery in 2022 after no Wildcats made it in 2021. Daimion Collins is the prototypical athletic big who is dripping with upside. How he plays in his freshman season at Kentucky could shoot him up into the top five or have him drop out of the lottery entirely.
10. Peyton Watson, SG, UCLA (2002)
Peyton Watson is the eighth-ranked prospect on 247Sports and it’s easy to see why. He’s a long wing with shotmaking ability and he should be able to show off his offensive firepower during one year at UCLA.
11. Caleb Houstan, F, Michigan (2003)
Caleb Houston headlines the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. Although Houston is a forward, he handles it like a guard and shoots the three-ball well. Houstan hails from the famous Montverde Academy that boasts NBA stars like RJ Barrett, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and now, Cade Cunningham.
12. Kendall Brown, SF, Baylor (2003)
Brown played a supporting role during Baylor’s championship run in 2021, but he’s going to be stepping into a starring role in 2022. Brown’s length, quickness, and ability to get out in transition should help Baylor contend for another national championship.
13. Jaden Ivey, SG, Purdue (2002)
Jaden Ivey needs to make more shots to end up as a lottery pick in 2022, but he should have plenty of chances next year at Purdue. Improving on his three-point shooting is the biggest variable in Ivey’s development.
14. Keyontae Johnson, F, Florida (1999)
Keyontae Johnson was hospitalized after collapsing on the court during a game last season. Prior to that, he was a potential first-round pick in 2021. A strong year at Florida could wipe away any doubt about his game and send him into the lottery.
15. Kennedy Chandler, PG, Tennessee (2002)
At 6-foot, Kennedy Chandler is one of the smaller players in this draft class, but he makes up for it with insane athleticism. The incoming freshman at Tennessee is the definition of a pure point guard.
16. Bennedict Mathurin, SG, Arizona (2002)
Bennedict Mathurin has all the look of a 3-and-D NBA wing. He has the length to defend multiple positions and can knock down the three-ball at an impressive 41.8% clip.
17. Max Christie, SG, Michigan State (2003)
Michigan State is getting a great shooter in incoming freshman Max Christie. How high Christie ends up going in the 2022 NBA Draft will depend on whether or not he flashes other elite skills.
18. Matthew Cleveland, F, Florida State (2003)
Matthew Cleveland relies on his athleticism to score in transition. Florida State has a history with developing NBA talent and Matthew Cleveland is the latest in a line of Seminoles to make the jump in recent years.
19. JD Davison, PG, Alabama (2002)
Although there is a ton of talent at Alabama, JD Davison won’t be overlooked in Tuscaloosa. He is the 10th-ranked prospect in his high school class for his explosiveness on offense.
20. Julian Champagnie, F, St. John’s (2001)
Julian Champagnie made the late decision to go back to St. John’s for his junior year and it could pay off in a big way. If Champagnie continues to showcase his shotmaking and defensive versatility, he could climb into the first round in 2022.
21. TyTy Washington, PG, Kentucky (2002)
OK, Kentucky is going to be back in 2022. After only one Wildcat was drafted in the first round in 2021, two will hear their names called in 2022. TyTy Washington is more of a combo guard than a true point guard.
22. Matthew Mayer, SF, Baylor (1999)
Matthew Mayer was more of a role player for Baylor last season, but he is going to be a focal point of the offense next season. His versatility on offense will be on full display.
23. Andrew Nembhard, PG, Gonzaga (2000)
Nembhard has been in the shadow of other great players at Gonzaga, but he’s a polished guard who can play on or off the ball. With the talent at Gonzaga, it’s impossible to avoid playing off the ball, even for a guard like Nembhard.
24. Jean Montero, PG, Gran Canaria (2003)
Jean Montero is transitioning to the ACB, the Spanish league largely considered as the second-best league in the world. We should learn more about Montero as he transitions to better competition.
25. Jahvon Quinerly, PG, Alabama (1998)
Jahvon Quinerly is one of the older prospects in this first round. Quinerly was a top recruit out of high school, but he needed to transfer from Villanova to Alabama to find his rhythm in college.
26. Moussa Diabate, SF, Michigan (2002)
Moussa Diabate is a French player who is heading up to Michigan as a part of Juwan Howard’s No. 1 recruiting class. Diabate has a chance to be the third one-and-done Wolverine to go in the first round in 2022.
27. Nolan Hickman, PG, Gonzaga (2003)
Gonzaga is another team that has three guys going in the first round. Hickman is only 6-foot-2, but he’s a bit longer than his height would indicate. Although he’s a pure point guard, he will play off the ball quite a bit in Spokane.
28. Allen Flanigan, SG, Auburn (2001)
Allen Flanigan is another guy who scouts are going to fall in love with due to his length, athleticism, and ability to knock down outside shots. Auburn has had a nice run of NBA players during the Bruce Pearl era.
29. Taevion Kinsey, SG, Marshall (2000)
Although Taevion Kinsey flirted with entering the 2021 NBA Draft, he’s coming back for another year at Marshall in hopes of improving his stock. Another step forward could help vault Kinsey into the first round.
30. Michael Foster, PF, G League Ignite (2003)
The 2021 NBA Draft was a monumental night for the G League. Two players from the G League Ignite were taken in the first seven picks. Michael Foster will have a chance to develop under NBA coaching as he tries to cement himself as a first-rounder.