With the NBA draft lottery over with, the teams are in place and it’s time to start legitimately prognosticating how the June 23rd event will play out. The Orlando Magic were the big winners in the draft lottery, earning the #1 pick for the 4th time in franchise history, previously selecting Dwight Howard, Chris Webber, and Shaquille O’Neal.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will be an interesting team to watch in the 2022 NBA draft preview as they have three picks in the first round including two within the Top 12. The Pelicans also pick #8 and if they can get Zion Williamson back in 2022/23 that’s two big additions that could impact their NBA Vegas Odds after making the playoffs this season.
2022 NBA Draft Top Prospects
Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
There’s not much to the 7’0, 195-pound Holmgren but he’s still only 20 years old and will have plenty of time to bulk up with a professional training regimen. Holmgren couldn’t lead Gonzaga to their first-ever National Championship this season despite being ranked #1 again for the majority of the season. Still, he put up 14.4 points and 9.9 rebounds a game even though most of the Bulldogs’ wins were blowouts.
Paolo Banchero, Duke
Banchero has the pedigree after playing a season at Duke with Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. The 6’10” 250-pound freshman has the frame to become a top-notch defender, something he is definitely not right now. Banchero’s offensive skillset – scoring 17.2 ppg in a stacked Duke lineup – will have him a day one contributor in the NBA.
Jabari Smith, Jr. Auburn
It’s not fair to compare anybody to Giannis Antetokounmpo, but there are things that put Smith, Jr. in the wheelhouse. Scouts are saying he’ll be positionless in the NBA – which is a good thing playing anywhere from 1-5. He’s quick and huge (6’10”, 210) and can score (16.9 ppg) plus play defense making him an elite prospect.
2022 NBA Draft Preview Mock
Some form of Holmgren, Smith, and Banchero is going 1-2-3 and either one of them could be taken 1st by Orlando in the 2022 Draft.
- #1 Orlando Magic, Jabari Smith – Holmgren is an elite talent, but he’s also a center and a center only. The Magic liked what they saw out of developing big men Wendell Carter, Jr. and Mo Bamba last year meaning taking Smith instead of Holmgren would give them a whole lot more diversity.
- #2 Oklahoma City Thunder, Chet Holmgren – The Thunder have three picks this draft, so why not take the best true big man in Holmgren and fill in other needs with the later selections? Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is still just 23, and last year’s promising rookie Josh Giddey is only 19. Holmgren will have a couple of years to add bulk to his frame before OKC truly contends.
- #3 Houston Rockets, Paolo Banchero – There are worse punishments for missing out on the top two prospects in the draft than taking a consensus All-American from Duke. Houston’s back court is set with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter, Jr., and adding Banchero to a lineup that also features Christian Wood at center means the Rockets could be a team that’s in a 142-132 shootout every night.
Things get very interesting after the top three picks, with rumors of five different players going at #4. It’s going to be an interesting draft so make sure to tune in on June 23rd.