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2022 NBA Draft: First Round Analysis

The 2022 NBA Draft turned out to be one of the more unpredictable drafts in recent memory starting with the Orlando Magic selecting Paolo Banchero first overall. On paper, the 2022 draft class doesn’t appear to have the star power of last year’s draft but many of these players selected could turn out to be valuable rotational players on playoff teams in the future. Here’s my analysis of the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft:

1. Orlando Magic select: Paolo Banchero, 6’10” 250 lbs Forward, Duke, 19 years old

 Somewhat of a surprise, the pick makes a lot of sense considering the Magic were lacking a go-to scorer. Although Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr. were commonly projected to be selected before him in consensus mock drafts, it was clear that Banchero was the most NBA-ready prospect as far as his polish and his physical profile. Banchero should be an early favorite to win the 2022-23 NBA Rookie of the year.

Pro Comparison(s): Blake Griffin/Michael Beasley

 

2. Oklahoma City Thunder select: Chet Holmgren, 7’0” 195 lbs Forward, Gonzaga, 20 years old

The Oklahoma City Thunder decided to take the futuristic route by selecting Chet Holmgren with the second overall pick. Along with his physical profile, Holmgren brings versatility on both ends of the floor. His career arch will be dependent on how he’s used. It would be prudent of the Thunder to refrain from playing Holmgren at the five and instead use him at the three and four until he’s able to hold his own against NBA bigs. 

Pro Comparison(s): Kristaps Porzingis

 

3. Houston Rockets select: Jabari Smith Jr., 6’10” 220 lbs Forward, Auburn, 19 years old

This pick was a no-brainer. Smith gives the Rockets outside shooting along with defensive potential. In this situation, there’s not as much pressure on him to be a go-to guy right away with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. which means he can start off in a low maintenance role and work his way up. 

Pro Comparison(s): Rashard Lewis/Andrei Kirilenko

 

4. Sacramento Kings select: Keegan Murray, 6’8” 215 lbs Forward, Iowa, 22 years old

The Sacramento Kings decided to take a base hit by selecting Keegan Murray with the fourth overall pick. Murray brings outside shooting, defensive potential, and maturity to Sacramento. For the direction the Kings are trying to go, they need someone who is ready to contribute right away and hopefully help the organization make their first playoff appearance since 2006. 

Pro Comparison(s): Otto Porter Jr./Tayshaun Prince

 

5. Detroit Pistons select: Jaden Ivey, 6’4” 200 lbs Guard, Purdue, 20 years

It’s not always about the number the player is selected, it’s about the situation they end up in. Detroit is the most ideal situation for Ivey as he is interchangeable with last year’s first overall pick Cade Cunningham. The backcourt duo will be able to take pressure off each other taking turns as the primary ball handler. This situation will help Ivey to keep learning the point guard position while also staying true to his aggressive scoring mentality.

Pro Comparison(s): Russell Westbrook

 

6. Indiana Pacers select: Bennedict Mathurin, 6’6” 210 lbs Guard, Arizona, 20 years old

At the moment, the Pacers don’t have a clear direction but Bennedict Mathurin is a prospect who has both a high floor and a high ceiling. He adds athleticism and scoring ability at the wing which the Pacers have lacked since the departure of Victor Oladipo. Along with Mathurin, the Pacers have built a solid foundation for the future with Tyrese Haliburton, Chris Duarte, Jalen Smith, and Isaiah Jackson.

Pro Comparison(s): Terrence Ross/Jason Richardson

 

7. Portland Trail Blazers select: Shaedon Sharpe, 6’6” 200 lbs Guard, Kentucky 19 years old

Similar to the Pacers, the Portland Trail Blazers don’t have a clear direction. This selection is reminiscent of when they drafted Anfernee Simons with the 24th overall pick in 2018 because of the lack of film to go off of. But the selection paid off four years later, and the same could be said about Sharpe a few years down the road. Sharpe has all the tools to be a star in the NBA with his athleticism, shot creation, and defensive potential but for him, it’s all about putting all of those tools together.

Pro Comparison(s): Andrew Wiggins/Gerald Green

 

8. New Orleans Pelicans (via Los Angeles Lakers) select: Dyson Daniels, 6’7” 195 lbs Guard, NBA G-League Ignite, 19 years old

Dyson Daniels fits right in with the identity of the New Orleans Pelicans with his defensive tenacity along with his versatility. He also adds an element of playmaking in the half court and in transition. Daniels needs to become a more consistent outside shooter and tighten his handle to keep defenses more honest.

Pro Comparison(s): Josh Giddey/Delon Wright

 

9. San Antonio Spurs select: Jeremy Sochan, 6’9” 230 lbs Forward, Baylor, 19 years old

The San Antonio Spurs threw the first curveball of the night by selecting Jeremy Sochan. There’s a lot of intrigue about his tools, versatility and basketball IQ. Sochan is raw at the moment and has a long way to go in his development. But if there’s any team you can trust to develop players it’s the San Antonio Spurs. 

Pro Comparison(s): Deni Avdija/Boris Diaw

 

10. Washington Wizards select: Johnny Davis, 6’5” 194 lbs Guard, Wisconsin, 20 years old

The Wizards went the best available route and perhaps gave them some insurance in case Bradley Beal decides to leave. Right off the bat, Davis gives the Wizards another scoring option along with his defensive potential. However, like the Pacers and Trail Blazers, this organization doesn’t have a clear direction.

Pro Comparison(s): Devin Booker/Gary Harris

 

11. New York Knicks select (traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder): Ousmane Dieng, 6’10” 205 lbs Forward, New Zealand Breakers, 19 years old

The Thunder once again went the futuristic route, this time with Ousmane Dieng. Similar to Holmgren, Dieng is a long, lanky forward with versatility across the board. The one concern about Dieng is his outside shot only shooting 27 percent from behind the arc last season. He also needs to continue adding strength to his frame and tightening his handle. But in general, this is a very Thunder pick.

Pro Comparison(s): Ziaire Williams/Chandler Parsons

 

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Los Angeles Clippers) select: Jalen Williams, 6’6” 209 lbs Guard, Santa Clara, 21 years old

The Oklahoma City Thunder decided to take the base hit with Jalen Williams. He brings maturity both in age and his game to the Thunder. Right off the bat he has the ability to shoot off the catch, off the dribble, out of pick-and-rolls,  and demonstrates defensive potential. Williams will need to improve his ball handling and his defensive technique but this selection could turn out to be a sneaky one for the Thunder.

Pro Comparison(s): Josh Richardson

 

13. Charlotte Hornets (traded to the Detroit Pistons) select: Jalen Duren, 6’10” 250 lbs Center, Memphis, 18 years old

Although the Pistons already have Isaiah Stewart at center, it’s hard to pass on the potential of Jalen Duren. This move probably means they’re not going after DeAndre Ayton in free agency but they’re getting an energy big with size, strength, and athleticism. During his time at Memphis, Duren looked his age at times but the youthful environment in Detroit should make his transition to the NBA a lot easier.

Pro Comparison(s): Dwight Howard

 

14. Cleveland Cavaliers select: Ochai Agbaji, 6’6” 215 lbs Guard, Kansas, 22 years old

The Cavaliers have their core set for the future but lacked a Three and D wing. Ochai Agbaji is ready to contribute right away as he brings a sense of maturity both on and off the court. The Cavaliers were a win away from making their first playoff appearance since their finals run in 2018 and are hoping this selection will help them return to the playoffs.

Pro Comparison(s): Wesley Matthews

 

15. Charlotte Hornets (via New Orleans Pelicans) select: Mark Williams, 7’2” 242 lbs Center, Duke, 20 years old

Based on team needs, this pick was a no-brainer. Mark Williams brings an intimidating shot-blocking presence along with his ability to be a lob threat in both half court and transition situations. Williams also has underrated passing ability and touch around the basket. This selection could perhaps help the Hornets get over the hump of the play-in tournament and make their first playoff appearance since 2016. 

Pro Comparison(s): Tyson Chandler

 

16. Atlanta Hawks select: A.J. Griffin, 6’6” 222 lbs Forward, Duke, 18 years old

In today’s NBA you can never have enough Three and D wings and that’s what the Atlanta Hawks are hoping for A.J. Griffin to become. There are questions about his defense and whether or not his outside shooting will translate which caused him to slip in the draft. In the short term, the Hawks are getting a low-maintenance developmental prospect who will have to earn his minutes based on his effort on the defensive end. A few years down the line, Griffin could become a major steal if he becomes the player many scouts project him to become.

Pro Comparison(s): Jimmy Butler/Patrick Williams

 

17. Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn Nets) select: Tari Eason, 6’8” 216 lbs Forward, LSU, 21 years old

Even though the Rockets already have Jae’Sean Tate on the wing, they need more size. The Rockets not only added Jabari Smith Jr. but Tari Eason to address that need. Eason gives the Rockets a wing with Three and D potential but needs to show that his outside shooting will translate at the next level.

Pro Comparison(s): OG Anunoby

 

18. Chicago Bulls select: Dalen Terry, 6’7” 195 lbs Guard, Arizona, 19 years old

Many mock drafts expected a forward (like E.J. Liddell) to be selected here but the Bulls decided to go with a guard with wing qualities. Dalen Terry brings charisma ,versatility, and untapped potential to the Chicago Bulls. He also provides point guard insurance for Lonzo Ball. Despite shooting a respectable 36 percent from the perimeter it’s still an area of his game that needs improvement as he only averaged two three point attempts and less than one make per game (0.8).

Pro Comparison(s): Shaun Livingston

 

19. Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to the Memphis Grizzlies) select: Jake LaRavia, 6’8” 227 lbs Forward, Wake Forest, 20 years old

The Memphis Grizzlies could potentially lose their versatile wing Kyle Anderson in free agency. Jake LaRavia provides the Grizzlies with insurance in case Anderson leaves plus he’s a better outside shooter than Anderson. Overall, he’s a jack of all trades but a master of none. Aside from versatility, LaRavia embraces his low-maintenance role of doing what his team needs of him at the moment and he’ll fit right in with the culture of the Memphis Grizzlies. 

Pro Comparison(s): Juancho Hernangomez

 

20. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors) select: Malaki Branham, 6’5” 195 lbs Guard, Ohio State, 19 years old

The Spurs needed a guard with go-to scoring potential and that’s exactly what they’re getting with Malaki Branham. As of right now, Branham is more of a microwave scorer who is capable of doing so at all three levels. He also demonstrated the ability to set the table for his teammates at times. At the next level he’ll have to keep adding strength to his frame as well as becoming a more consistent defender.

Pro Comparison(s): Caris LeVert

 

21. Denver Nuggets select: Christian Braun, 6’7” 209 lbs Guard, Kansas, 21 years old

The Nuggets are getting an energetic, low-maintenance wing in Christian Braun. The Nuggets have been one of the better offensive teams in the league the past few seasons but have lacked players with two-way ability and this selection addressed that need in a big way. These are the kind of prospects that contending teams value. Braun probably won’t become a star but he’ll star in his role which will be as a Three and D wing.

Pro Comparison(s): Pat Connaughton/Alex Caruso

 

22. Memphis Grizzlies (via Utah Jazz, traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves) select: Walker Kessler, 7’1” 256 lbs Center, Auburn, 20 years old

Right away Walker Kessler gives the Timberwolves more size and rim protection to back up their star center Karl-Anthony Towns. Walker Kessler was second in Division I college basketball in blocks per game (4.6 blocks per game) during his one season at Auburn. With that said, Kessler needs to become more disciplined on ball fakes as well as improving as a shooter from three point range and the free throw line (20% 3PT and 59 % FT).

Pro Comparison(s): Jakob Poeltl

 

23. Philadelphia 76ers select (traded to the Memphis Grizzlies): David Roddy, 6’6” 255 lbs Forward, Colorado State, 21 years old

Similar to Jake LaRavia, David Roddy gives the Grizzlies versatility and fits the grit and grind identity of the organization. Roddy has the potential to become this organization’s version of Grant Williams, a jack of all trades who does what’s necessary to help his team win games. The only concern about Roddy besides his size is whether or not his outside shooting will translate. Roddy shot 43 percent from the perimeter last season but shot 19 and 27 percent during his freshman and sophomore seasons respectively. Overall, the Grizzlies are getting two prospects who will be able to contribute immediately.

Pro Comparison(s): Grant Williams/Royce White

 

24. Milwaukee Bucks select: MarJon Beauchamp, 6’5” 197 lbs Forward, NBA G-League Ignite, 21 years old

The Milwaukee Bucks needed to add wing depth which was evident in their second round playoff loss to the Boston Celtics (without Khris Middleton). MarJon Beauchamp gives them a spark plug off the bench particularly on defense. Beauchamp is also a capable scorer but needs to become a more consistent outside shooter if he wants to stick in the analytics-driven NBA. 

Pro Comparison(s): Kelly Oubre Jr.

 

25. San Antonio Spurs (via Boston Celtics) select: Blake Wesley, 6’4” 187 lbs Guard, Notre Dame, 19 years old

This selection is a bit redundant given that they just selected Malaki Branham five picks earlier and already have Joshua Primo who they drafted last year with the 12th overall pick. But Wesley was on the Knuckleheads podcast and said he had his best workout with the Spurs. It will be hard for Wesley to find minutes as a two guard and will likely have to earn his reps in the G-League but he could eventually find his way in the rotation and become a spark plug off the bench. This move probably means they will let Lonnie Walker walk in free agency. 

Pro Comparison(s): Jamal Crawford

 

26. Dallas Mavericks select (traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves): Wendell Moore Jr., 6’5” 217 lbs Forward, Duke, 21 years old

The Minnesota Timberwolves needed a Swiss army knife at the wing position and that’s exactly what they’re getting with Wendell Moore. He has the ability to drive, shoot from the perimeter, defend, and set the table for his teammates. Although the Timberwolves are a young team, they’re primed to make another run and Moore is ready to contribute to that right away. 

Pro Comparison(s): Alec Burks

 

27. Miami Heat select: Nikola Jovic, 6’11 223 lbs Forward, Mega Mozzart (Serbia), 19 years old

One of the Miami Heat’s major flaws was their lack of size which was exposed in their conference finals loss to the Boston Celtics. Nikola Jovic not only gives the Heat size, he also brings versatility particularly on offense. He needs to improve as a defender but that should improve with time under the Heat culture. Jovic could potentially be the steal of the draft a few years down the line. But time will tell.

Pro Comparison(s): Hedo Turkoglu

 

28. Golden State Warriors select: Patrick Baldwin Jr., 6’10 231 lbs Forward, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 19 years old

Once projected as a lottery pick, Patrick Baldwin fell to the defending champions with the 28th overall pick. If there is one organization that can afford to take a gamble of this magnitude, it’s the Golden State Warriors because of their player development (for example, Jordan Poole). Baldwin will likely see a lot of time in the G-League to start off his career but no matter how you slice it, the future (immediate and down the road) looks bright for the Golden State Warriors.

Pro Comparison(s): Kyle Kuzma

 

29. Memphis Grizzlies select (traded to the Houston Rockets): TyTy Washington Jr., 6’4” 196 lbs Guard, Kentucky, 20 years old

The Houston Rockets desperately needed a point guard. Although Kevin Porter Jr. has the ability to be a playmaker, he’s not a natural at running a team. TyTy Washington is capable of setting the table for his teammates along with the ability to score at all three levels. For an organization that was once laughed at for trading James Harden, the future is now trending in the right direction in Houston. 

Pro Comparison(s): Mo Williams/ Jose Calderon

 

30. Oklahoma City Thunder select (traded to the Denver Nuggets): Peyton Watson, 6’8” 203 lbs Forward, UCLA, 19 years old

The Nuggets have been known to swing for the fences based on their recent draft history (Michael Porter Jr., Bol Bol, R.J. Hampton) and that’s exactly the route they took in selecting Peyton Watson with the 30th overall pick. Once a highly touted prospect in high school, Watson didn’t produce like many scouts expected but showed glimpses of potential throughout his freshman year at UCLA which was enough for the Nuggets to take a chance on him. A major swing factor for Watson will be his outside shooting. He’ll also have to continue to add strength to his frame and tighten his handle. Watson has a long way to go in his development but with the proper development this decision could pay off a few years down the road.

Pro Comparison(s): Herbert Jones/ Josh Jackson

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