2022 nba mock draft
Feb 20, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers guard Jaden Ivey (23) defends against Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Paul Mulcahy (4) during the second half at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

It’s mock draft season as the 2022 NBA Draft inches closer. We take a bit of a different route in this version of our mock draft. The Knicks are making an aggressive move to go up and get a potential franchise-changing talent.

1. Orlando Magic: Chet Holmgren, Big, Gonzaga (2002)

Chet Holmgren is a wild card. While his slight build might not inspire confidence, everything else about him will. In lieu of the other U-word people use to describe tall, skilled players, we will call Holmgren unique. His defensive upside and offensive skillset are too good for the Magic to pass on him.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jabari Smith Jr., Wing, Auburn (2003)

Is it weird to say this might be the steal of the draft? There is no consensus No. 1 pick and in truth, the top three (maybe four) guys could develop into superstars. Jabari Smith Jr. falls into that category, but he’s also built to fill a vital role as a massive 3-and-D wing from day one.

3. Houston Rockets: Paolo Banchero, Big, Duke (2002)

Paolo Banchero is an offensive dynamo who can score in a variety of ways. As his range expands deeper and deeper, he’s going to be even tougher to cover. The Rockets are putting together a fun, young group.

4. New York Knicks (via SAC): Jaden Ivey, Combo, Purdue (2002)

This is the big surprise in the draft. If you have been reading the tea leaves, it sounds like New York is interested in moving up in the draft according to Ian Begley of SNY.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report is reporting that the Kings could be interested in moving down in the lottery.

Would this be a match made in heaven? Swapping Randle in this deal might not work. The Domantas Sabonis-Julius Randle frontcourt pairing feels a bit clunky.

How about Evan Fournier, Cam Reddish, and pick No. 11 for Harrison Barnes and pick No. 4?

The Kings add two contributors — one great three-point shooter and the other an athletic wing with upside. The Knicks will add a proven veteran on an expiring contract.

As for the pick, the Knicks are going all-in on Immanuel Quickley by pairing him with Jaden Ivey. Neither player is a pure point guard, but they would make for a formidable trio of primary creators with RJ Barrett.

5. Detroit Pistons: Shaedon Sharpe, Combo, Kentucky (2003)

After all the excitement, the Pistons follow that up by taking the biggest wild card in the draft. Shaedon Sharpe didn’t play at Kentucky, but he’s oozing with talent. The Pistons are willing to roll the dice.

6. Indiana Pacers: Johnny Davis, Combo, Wisconsin (2002)

The Indiana Pacers are still trying to move Malcolm Brogdon on draft day, but they take Johnny Davis anyway. They will roll with the young backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton and Davis.

7. Portland Trail Blazers: AJ Griffin, Wing, Duke (2003)

The Blazers are another team rumored to be moving down, but they will grab AJ Griffin here instead. If he can stay healthy, he has star potential.

8. New Orleans Pelicans (via LAL): Bennedict Mathurin, Wing, Arizona (2002)

Bennedict Mathurin is the best on-the-move shooter in the draft. He hits shots off of screens, in transition, off the dribble, and basically any way you can imagine.

9. San Antonio Spurs: Dyson Daniels, Wing, Ignite (2003)

The Spurs love long playmakers. Add Dyson Daniels to the mix. The young Aussie has sky-high potential as a creator on the wing.

10. Washington Wizards: Tari Eason, Wing, LSU (2001)

Tari Eason is a nice blend between college production and next-level upside. The Wizards take a player with versatility on both ends.

11. Sacramento Kings (via NYK): Keegan Murray, Wing, Iowa (2000)

This is the second part of that Kings-Knicks swap and it couldn’t work out any better than this. After adding two veteran contributors, they can draft the falling Keegan Murray. Other teams pass on Murray because of age and upside questions.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via LAC): Jalen Duren, Big, Memphis (2003)

The Thunder fill a hole inside with the upside and athleticism of Jalen Duren. He’s the first true, rim-running center off the board.

13. Charlotte Hornets: Mark Williams, C, Duke (2001)

The Hornets follow suit with a rim-running big in Mark Williams. LaMelo Ball gets his center.

14: Cleveland Cavaliers: Ochai Agbaji, F, Kansas (2000)

The Cavaliers grab a mature prospect who can slot into their developing team. Ochai Agbaji is a plug-and-play 3-and-D guy.

15. Charlotte Hornets (via NOP): Ousmane Dieng, Wing, NZ Breakers (2003)

Ousmane Dieng is an uber-athletic wing who started to turn heads with improved play in the NBL.

16. Atlanta Hawks: Malaki Branham, Wing, Ohio State (2003)

Malaki Branham is a prospect who is seeing his stock rise. He doesn’t quite make it into the lottery, but he goes 16 to Atlanta.

17. Houston Rockets (via BKN): Jeremy Sochan, Wing, Baylor (2003)

Jeremy Sochan is going to need to develop his offensive game, but he’s a versatile defender with plenty of upside.

18. Chicago Bulls: Jaden Hardy, Combo, Ignite (2002)

Jaden Hardy can be a dynamic scorer if he can clean up some of his efficiency issues. He can be a microwave off the bench for Chicago.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves: Christian Braun, Wing, Kansas (2001)

Christian Braun projects as a reliable 3-and-D wing at the next level. He should be a nice surrounding piece for Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards.

20. San Antonio Spurs: Nikola Jovic, Big, Mega Soccerbet (2003)

Nikola Jovic could end up dropping past 20, but the Spurs love international players with high IQ and playmaking ability.

21. Denver Nuggets: TyTy Washington, Point, Kentucky (2002)

With Nikola Jokic as its centerpiece, Denver doesn’t need a traditional point guard, but TyTy Washington’s upside is too much to pass up here.

22. Memphis Grizzlies (via UTA): Jean Montero, Point, Overtime Elite (2003)

With Tyus Jones leaving in free agency, the Grizzlies need a capable backup point guard. Although Jean Montero might not be ready to fill Jones’ shoes, he can grow into the role.

23. Philadelphia 76ers: MarJon Beauchamp, Wing, Ignite (2001)

MarJon Beauchamp’s stock dropped a bit over the last year, but he still has the talent to develop into a solid role player.

24. Milwaukee Bucks: Kendall Brown, Wing, Baylor (2003)

Kendall Brown is an effortless leaper and that athleticism will play at the next level. Although he’s a bit raw, he has the physical tools to be successful.

25. San Antonio Spurs (via BOS): Patrick Baldwin Jr., Wing, Milwaukee (2002)

Patrick Baldwin Jr. is a high-feel wing who underperformed during his one season in college. If he stays healthy, the talent is there.

26. Dallas Mavericks: Walker Kessler, Big, Auburn (2001)

The Mavericks play super small, but every team needs big men. Walker Kessler is a great defender who finished second in college basketball with 4.56 blocks per game.

27. Miami Heat: E.J. Liddell, Big, Ohio State (2000)

The Heat culture adds E.J. Liddell, an undersized big with a high feel for the game.

28. Golden State Warriors: Gabriele Procida, Wing, Fortitudo Bologna (2002)

The Warriors love shooters and Gabriele Procida might be one of the best pure three-point shooters in the game.

29. Memphis Grizzlies: Jalen Williams, Wing, Santa Clara (2001)

There is a lot to like about Jalen Williams’ game. The wing could develop into a contributor on the wing for the up-and-coming Grizzlies.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder (via PHX): Kennedy Chandler, Point, Tennessee (2002)

Kennedy Chandler is undersized but has upside as a second unit floor general. With three first-round picks, the Thunder can take a chance on Chandler.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.