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2022 NBA Mock Draft v.1
The No Ceilings crew mock drafts the top 30 prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Welcome to the Big Show. This is the official beginning of “Mock Draft Season” around here at No Ceilings. For most NBA Draft fans around the world, this is pretty much as enjoyable as Christmas Morning.
“Now before we do this, let’s go over the ground rules…”
(Ron Burgandy, Anchorman)
In case some of you are new around here (welcome), we previously launched our first 2022 NBA Draft Big Board last week. From that Top 30, our team here at No Ceilings got together and created a “War Room” in which we all talked about each draft selection and what would make the most sense for each NBA organization as of right now. It didn’t take long before we all found ourselves having extremely heated debates about the prospects that should go to specific teams. Luckily enough, we all remembered the wise words of the great Jackie Moon… “E.L.E” (Everybody Love Everybody).
Enough of the underrated dad jokes, let’s get crazy.
1. Detroit Pistons - Paolo Banchero | Duke | PF
Tyler Rucker: Okay hold on let me get this out of the way first….”Deeeetroiiiiittttt basketball.” Look, there's plenty of intrigue to have the debate here between Paolo and Chet for the Motor City. Personally, I’m fascinated by both of the fits. The idea of adding the offensive firepower of Duke freshman Paolo Banchero alongside Isaiah Stewart down low just has the edge here. Banchero would immediately give the Pistons another serious injection of dangerous offensive weaponry here. The idea of adding Banchero and Cade Cunningham running pick-and-rolls for the next decade should make Pistons fans have to wipe the drool from their faces after reading this sentence.
2. Orlando Magic - Chet Holmgren | Gonzaga | PF/C
Corey Tulaba: Chet Holmgren is EXACTLY the type of basketball archetype that John Hammond loves. The absurd length and versatility to go along with the pedigree that Holmgren possesses will be too hard to pass up with Banchero off the board. Just imagine the defensive death grip the Orlando frontcourt can one day put on teams with Isaac, Wagner, and Holmgren. There will surely be some internal discussion about Jabari Smith, but at the end of the day the basketball Reed Richards will be headed to Disney.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder - Jabari Smith Jr. | Auburn | PF
Albert Ghim: I have a million different Poku jokes I want to make, but I’m a serious man. I have a couple of stats that I want to throw out there for fun, some may find them interesting. Smith Jr. is shooting 45% from 3 on 5 attempts per game, that’s good. 85% from the free throw line on over 4 attempts per game, that’s pretty good. The numbers are crazy but the eye-test is even better. I don’t want to hear any Kevin Durant comps but this guy is an insanely versatile offensive weapon who may become just as versatile defensively one day.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves - Patrick Baldwin Jr. | Milwaukee | F
Tyler Metcalf: Imagine being turned off by a kid who wants to play for his dad in his hometown instead of going to Duke. Not me. Is Baldwin lighting the world on fire like we hoped? Not really. Has he looked pretty awful against the few good teams they’ve played. Actually, yeah. Guess what? I don’t care. Sure, it’d be nice to see a higher motor and more shots fall, but as the season progresses and they play some REALLY bad teams, I expect that to happen. Baldwin has one of the prettiest jumpers in the country and is averaging seven rebounds per game. Ah there’s the selling point, two huge things the Timberwolves need. Baldwin is underwhelming this season because he is the one and only offensive option when he is better suited as a complementary piece. So no, I am not turned off by an uber talented forward trying to be the focal point on an awful college team. If gets inserted in a lineup with Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell, watch out.
5. New Orleans Pelicans - Jaden Ivey | Purdue | G
Nick Agar-Johnson: Jaden Ivey entered this season as one of the top guard prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft; this season, he’s done nothing but silence all but the loudest of whiners about his jump shot, guide Purdue to a short stint at #1 overall in the country, put together an electrifying highlight tape in transition, and prove himself as the clear top guard in this draft class to everyone but a few stubborn non-believers. I’m optimistic about his ability to run an offense even though Ivey still has room to grow as a creator for others, and New Orleans could definitely use a point guard of the future–especially with Zion’s injury woes and Kira Lewis Jr. recently tearing his ACL. Jaden Ivey would be a fun fit anywhere in the NBA, and even then the Pelicans stand out as a particularly exciting potential landing spot.
6. Houston Rockets - Kendall Brown | Baylor | F
Nathan Grubel: At this point, the Houston Rockets need to target anyone who can help on defense while making smart decisions with the ball in their hands. Enter Kendall Brown, the 6’8” wing who has shown a surprisingly comfort level making live dribble passes and even hitting tough shots just inside the arc. With his athletic profile and tools, the sky may very well be the limit and Houston could stand to continue building out a roster ripe for the future. Jump shooting will be the swing skill for Brown as it generally is with freshmen, but his hyper efficiency in every game but Baylor’s most recent outing against Villanova gives him a floor within the top half of the lottery and would make Rockets fans very happy on draft night.
7. San Antonio Spurs - Jaden Hardy | G-League | SG
Tyler Rucker: The San Antonio Spurs have a roster that features an island of lost toys. I actually love a number of pieces on the team already including the likes of Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell & Keldon Johnson. This team needs some firepower. Although the Jalen Duren slide and scary upside could be too enticing here, what about giving Murray a running mate with some serious firepower? Personally I am buying as much stock as I possibly can get when it comes to Jaden Hardy. He’s showing flashes that the rest of his game is developing and he’s still going to be a lethal shooter from outside. The tools and the upside to add Hardy here would be a massive get for the Spurs.
8. Indiana Pacers - Jalen Duren | Memphis | C
Corey Tulaba: Duren’s freshman campaign has been a little rocky early on, which is reflected in his dip on the first official No Ceilings mock. Personally, I think this is a little too low. I got a chance to see Duren up close when they took on Virginia Tech in Brooklyn last month and this freshly turned 18 year old kid is every bit the physical anomaly he looks like on film. The motor runs hot and cold and that may scare some away, but I think the iffy roster construction and lack of effective point guard play is hiding the type of player he’ll be at the next level. We tried to avoid trade rumors as much as possible while mocking each selection, but there’s too much smoke about the Pacers’ desire to split up the current roster; as such Indiana is going to take the home run swing on a physical presence that offers immense value at the back end of the top 10.
9. Portland Trail Blazers - Keegan Murray | Iowa | PF
Albert Ghim: I have a lot of questions when it comes to Murray. The counting stats are pretty awesome so far. 22 points, 8 rebounds and over 2 blocks per game is an awesome line. He’s a really versatile defender that has good instincts as a shot blocker and uses his length really well. Weird thing I noticed but it looks like he has giant feet and sometimes his feet can be a little clunky defensively. Not a major issue, just something I noticed because I’m weird. I’m not as high on him offensively. I think his jumper can improve but I’m not convinced that he’s going to be some elite shot-maker on the next level. I do like that he’s a good free throw shooter, but I’m not totally sold yet on the upside of his long distance shooting. This Portland team is probably going to look pretty different when the draft comes around but I can see them being interested in Murray’s set of skills.
10. Toronto Raptors - Bennedict Mathurin | Arizona | SG
Tyler Metcalf: We tried to find another lengthy freak athlete who could defend every position while having significant offensive question marks, but we opted for giving the Raptors one of the country’s best off-ball scorers who still happens to be an absurd athlete. Mathurin is doing exactly what I hoped he would after last season. He is still a lethal off-ball shooter and mover (cuts, relocations, etc), but now he is slowly showing more of an off the bounce game as well. Mathurin likely won’t be a primary shot creator, but he doesn’t need to. Surrounded by talented passers, Mathurin will provide the much needed scoring punch the Raptors need. To make this even more enticing, Mathurin is no schlub on defense.
11. Sacramento Kings - Caleb Houstan | Michigan | SF
Nick Agar-Johnson: The Sacramento Kings are in desperate need of wings and shooting, along with their more widely advertised defensive issues. Caleb Houstan is one of the best shooters in this class and he would provide a huge boost to the Kings’ wing rotation as a floor-spacer and all-around contributor. His long-range shooting numbers are starting to improve after a really cold stretch to start the season. On top of that his skills as a passer and connector are intriguing and prove that he can help out on offense even when his shot isn’t falling; his successes as a facilitator make it even easier to see the fit with him in Sacramento.
12. New York Knicks - TyTy Washington | Kentucky | G
Nathan Grubel: While the jury is still out for us at No Ceilings on who the best point guard prospect is in the 2022 class, Washington makes far too much sense for the Knicks here. The Kentucky pipeline is as strong as ever, and at some point New York needs to prioritize taking a lead guard, especially with a lottery pick as projected here. Washington has arguably the best floater in the class, plays with poise and would bring more outside shot making and maturity to the position the Knicks need it most. There are other guards who one could argue have more upside, but it’s still too early in the process to say Washington can’t continue to get better even before he hits the league.
13. Boston Celtics - Kennedy Chandler | Tennessee | PG
Tyler Rucker: Shout out to my No Ceilings team for allowing me to dive into my “inner fan” and get the Boston Celtics write up here. Boston is going to find themselves in an interesting position next year. There’s no denying that they have two of the most exciting young wings in the NBA with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The Robert Williams extension looks like a steal and we still stan Marcus Smart around here. But this team needs to find itself some more offensive firepower in the backcourt. There’s a couple of intriguing options that were considered here including Alabama guard JD Davison. For now, let’s go with Tennessee floor general Kennedy Chandler. The 6’0” guard is going to get the “undersized” tag but Chandler would give the Celtics backcourt a player with some game-changing speed who also understands how to use his burst and change of gears.
14. Charlotte Hornets - Ousmane Dieng | New Zealand | SF
Corey Tulaba: The 18 year old wing from France has been up and down early on in the NBL season, but those “ups” have shown enough to land Dieng in the lottery conversation. What makes Dieng so enticing to lotto teams is his combination of height, length, shot-making versatility, and the uber intriguing feel he’s shown as a passer in the pick and roll. The Hornets have depth all over the roster and adding a high potential wing prospect like Ousmane Dieng to a stockpile of young assets that include James Bouknight, JT Thor, and Kai Jones gives Buzz City a dangerous level of high octane options for the front office to work with going forward.
15. Denver Nuggets - AJ Griffin | Duke | G/F
Albert Ghim: AJ Griffin is really going through it right now. He’s only averaging 10 minutes per game right now and has looked pretty lost at times. We have to take the injuries into consideration. He’s essentially been hurt for the last two years and then got hurt again before the season started. I still think there’s an awesome talent in there but considering all the factors, him being taken here at 15 feels just about right. I do wonder if Denver would be hesitant taking Griffin here considering all the health issues they’ve had the last couple of seasons.
16. Memphis Grizzles (via LAL) - Trevor Keels | Duke | G
Nick Agar-Johnson: The Trevor Keels hype has died down a bit since his stellar performance against Kentucky on November 9th, but there’s still plenty to like about Keels and plenty of reason to think that he’ll get looks in the lottery. His shooting numbers aren’t pretty (below 40% from the floor and hovering around 30% from beyond the arc), but he is a defensive menace with good height for a guard and the frame of a linebacker. Does that sound like a Memphis Grizzlies kind of player to you? They’re not quite the same team as the ZBo/Tony Allen Grit ‘n Grind Grizzlies, especially in terms of pace, but Keels can play up-tempo basketball when needed and drag a game into the dirt defensively when the situation calls for it. Keels can give opponents nightmares and command attention even when he isn’t scoring. When he does start getting hot from the floor though–look out.
17. Dallas Mavericks - JD Davison | Alabama | G
Tyler Metcalf: The constant griping has gone on long enough. Take this uber athletic ball-handler and stop complaining about how Luka needs another ball-handler. In all seriousness, the upside and potential for Davison is extraordinary. He is a blur in the open court, gets to the rim at will, and is a creative playmaker. He would instill a sense of athleticism and pace that this team desperately lacks while taking a significant load off Luka’s shoulders.
18. Atlanta Hawks - Peyton Watson | UCLA | F
Nathan Grubel: Admittedly I was very high on Watson coming into the year, even stating that he was a dark horse to emerge as a threat to anyone in preseason top 5 discussion. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case as he hasn’t been able to hold down consistent minutes and stay on the court to showcase his highlight potential on both ends. Still, fluid 6’9” forwards with plus length and defensive instincts don’t come around as often as we’d like. If he can carve out a role in PAC-12 play for UCLA and flash more of his two-way potential, he’d be worth betting on for a Hawks team that can afford to take a risk or two given the depth already established in Atlanta.
19. Philadelphia 76ers - Johnny Davis | Wisconsin | G/F
Tyler Rucker: This is one of the hottest names in Draft Circles right now and you’ve been warned…expect Johnny Davis to be much higher on our next Big Board. The Wisconsin sophomore guard has made a massive leap in his play this year. After averaging just 7.0 points per game as a freshman, Davis is currently averaging 20.9 points per game and stands out with his physical play. The 6’5” guard has an old-school type of feel to his game and his draft stock is heating up quickly.
20. Cleveland Cavaliers - Ochai Agbaji | Kansas | SG
Corey Tulaba: The Cavs are back! Even the most optimistic Cavs fan probably didn’t see this level of success coming this early. Cleveland currently sits at fourth in the East with one of the league’s premier young cores. Adding a versatile off ball floor spacer who can guard multiple positions is exactly the type of wing you want complimenting Evan Mobley, Jarret Allen, and Darius Garland. Taking the 22 year old Agbaji may not be as “sexy” as some of the names left on the board, but he’s the right kind of player for a young team that looks like they could compete sooner rather than later.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (via LAC) - Jean Montero | Overtime | PG
Tyler Rucker: There’s always going to be one player that slips through the cracks and potentially goes a little later than expected and in this mock draft it’s Overtime Elite guard Jean Montero. It wouldn’t surprise me if Montero goes much earlier than this when draft time comes around. After making some serious buzz overseas last year, Montero decided to come over and spend the year playing with the Overtime Elite. When Montero is rolling, his play on tape will have your eyes glued to the screen. He’s got shiftiness and some sensational playmaking potential from the point guard position. Listed around 6’2”, the 18-year-old guard will be intriguing with his potential to be a dangerous offensive weapon.
22. Washington Wizards - Bryce McGowens | Nebraska | F
Tyler Metcalf: The Wizards’ backcourt already has impressive size which will only be buoyed by McGowens. While McGowens has yet to shoot the ball well, I fail to believe that that trend will last long given how smooth his mechanics look. McGowens’s body needs to mature in order to hold his own on defense and provide any interior scoring ability. However, as an offensive upside swing, there aren’t many better than McGowens, especially at this point in the draft. The shooting will get there eventually. His mechanics are fluid and consistent, and his shot profile is diverse and complicated. When you add in McGowens’s exquisite off-ball movement, you get the foundation of a high quality scorer.
23. Houston Rockets (via MIA) - Nikola Jovic | Mega | F
Nick Agar-Johnson: I will not reveal the point of the mock draft at which I began to campaign for Nikola Jovic, but suffice it to say that it was many spots above pick #23. I can only hope that I didn’t annoy the rest of the No Ceilings crew TOO much with my calls for the Nik revolution, but I really am a huge believer in Jovic as a prospect. He showed why in his most recent game against KK Split: he scored 25 points on 16 shots (including 3-7 shooting from long range) and looked really fluid on the offensive end. His passing chops at his size are really impressive and that playmaking ability and shooting touch are hard to ignore, and Houston would be happy to take Jovic since they value long-range shooting more than almost any other team in the NBA. If he can stay consistent after a cold stretch to start the season, he could solidify himself as a potential lottery pick sooner rather than later.
24. Memphis Grizzlies - Jabari Walker | Colorado | F
Nathan Grubel: When we figured out the order to run this exercise ourselves before coming together and sharing our thoughts, I actually had Walker here for the Grizzlies. The pick just makes too much sense. While Walker has remained an inconsistent shooter and scorer in the halfcourt, he’s already shown some lockdown potential defensively and did have a 22 point, 11 rebound outing against UCLA to gain some more buzz as someone to watch in the first round. Memphis loves drafting long wings/forwards who can defend and make open shots. Walker fits that mold and is still young enough to continue to build out his offensive game with more experience.
25. Milwaukee Bucks - Mark Williams | Duke | C
Albert Ghim: This one is simple. Imagine Mark Williams as the backup center for the defending champs. You give him 10-15 minutes per night to go out there and block shots and do fun athletic things. Go back and watch his game against Gonzaga in November. Don’t even look at the wild blocks he had, just watch how patient and disciplined he was defensively. He barely bit on any pump fakes or head fakes. He used his length so well and stayed lateral all the time. The guy is averaging 3.1 blocks per game, I’m sure the Bucks would be ecstatic to grab him at this spot.
26. Chicago Bulls - Jaime Jaquez Jr. | UCLA | F
Corey Tulaba: As the resident No Ceilings Jaime Jaquez Jr. truther, my teammates were nice enough to let me select him for my Chicago Bulls. The 20 year old wing continues to get better every year, offering size and versatility on both ends at the wing spot. I think Jaquez has a little post injury Gordon Hayward to his game. UCLA is coming off of a deep tournament run and they look poised to make another. There’s something to be said for guys who contribute consistently to winning basketball. Landing a solid player that can contribute early late in the first round is huge for a team like Chicago that will have cap restraints moving forward.
27. Miami Heat (via BRK) - Max Christie | Michigan State | F
Albert Ghim: I really like shooters, the Heat like shooters, and Christie is a really good shooter. As much as I like Christie as a floor-spacer, I think there’s a ton of potential with him with the ball in his hands. I liked his mid-range game in high school and I’m hoping he gets more opportunities to show off that part of his game. I like how he’s been attacking closeouts recently. He’s been throwing up some pretty floaters and taking it all the way to the basket. I think defensively he’s only going to get better and he has the raw skills and instincts to eventually be a good one. That “Heat Culture” should be really good for him on that end.
28. Memphis Grizzlies (via UTA) - Dyson Daniels | G-League | G
Nick Agar-Johnson: Dyson Daniels looked incredibly impressive in his G-League debut, putting up 22 points on 15 shots along with six rebounds and three assists. He was even more impressive in his most recent game, as he showed off his athleticism and shooting touch en route to putting up 23 points on 15 shots along with nine boards and six assists; he also chipped in defensively with four steals. The rest of his season has been maddeningly inconsistent, but the 18-year-old Australian has been good enough in flashes to merit a first-round selection. If his latest game can get him on a roll, Daniels could easily make his “fall” to #28 in this mock draft look foolish by the end of February; if not, the Grizzlies would have plenty of reasons to take a swing on Daniels as a longer-term project.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder (via PHX) - MarJon Beauchamp | G-League | F
Tyler Metcalf: The pleasant surprise of the G-League Ignite season has been MarJon Beauchamp. Despite taking an unorthodox route, Beauchamp is proving to be an NBA level prospect. He is an impressive athlete who fully utilizes that athleticism to maximize his scoring capabilities. His defensive consistency is still far too erratic and needs to be improved for him to make a rotation, but the foundation of a quality player is there. Beauchamp doesn’t have a clear path to the rotation and may spend more time in the G-League, but he would give the Thunder a bit more insurance if they ever make one of these big trades that keeps getting tossed around.
30. Golden State Warriors - Julian Champagnie | St. John’s | F
Nathan Grubel: We all know how this works: the Warriors ALWAYS walk away with more shooting from the draft. And generally, it’s shooting with size to boot. Moses Moody last year, and in this mock Julian Champagnie suits Golden State perfectly. A 6’8” perimeter shot maker who can rebound on both ends, make good decisions with the ball and blend in with everyone around him is more of what the title contending Warriors need. There are concerns about how he’ll hold up defensively in the league, and he doesn’t have a good handle to consistently get downhill to the rim, but in a bench role Golden State just needs him to hit open shots and limit turnovers. No doubt in my mind Champagnie will do those things in the NBA for quite a while.