2022 NBA Mock Draft V.4
The No Ceilings crew mock drafts the top 30 prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft.
“Mock. Yeah!” - Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas (Dumb and Dumber, 1994)
Welcome back No Ceilings family. With March Madness finally here, it’s time to take a look at our fourth 2022 NBA Mock Draft installment. Plenty of movement around the board, including some prospects who are starting to generate some buzz in Draft circles.
With the NCAA Tournament getting underway, evaluators will be watching closely to see if any potential prospects can make a “statement” with their play over the next couple of weeks.
Enjoy it while you can basketball fans…because once that final buzzer goes off after the national championship game…
Draft Season REALLY begins.
1. HOUSTON ROCKETS - CHET HOLMGREN | GONZAGA | PF/C
Nathan: The race for the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft is still very much wide open. We at No Ceilings, however, have been centered around Chet Holmgren for a while now. The versatility he offers on both ends of the floor complements every roster he could possibly end up on; a team like the Houston Rockets that needs reliable spacing, high IQ play, and rim protection would value a big like Holmgren working with any of Alperen Sengun, Christian Wood, or Usman Garuba.
2. ORLANDO MAGIC - JABARI SMITH JR. | AUBURN | PF
Rucker: There’s an argument to be made that Auburn freshman Jabari Smith Jr. has had the most impressive NCAA season of any prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft class. While there’s going to be a serious conversation regarding Jabari being the first overall selection on Draft Day, he finds himself landing with the Orlando Magic in our latest Mock Draft installment. Jabari would give Orlando another dangerous asset and offers the potential to be one of the smoothest transitions out of any of the top picks in this class. With Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs looking ready to take another step forward in their “sophomore” years, the addition of Jabari would be a big step in the right direction for Orlando.
3. DETROIT PISTONS - JADEN IVEY | PURDUE | G
Metcalf: Jaden Ivey’s combination of speed, explosiveness, and skill is unmatched by most NBA players, let alone anyone in this draft. Ivey will immediately improve the Pistons’ rim pressure and overall athleticism. Ivey has shown flashes of on-ball brilliance, but pairing him with Cade Cunningham will allow Ivey to continue to thrive as an off-ball scorer, while also getting occasional stretches of primary creation. Ivey may never develop into a point guard, but pairing his athleticism, scoring, and overall upside with Cunningham gives the Pistons an overwhelming amount of young talent on the perimeter.
4. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER - PAOLO BANCHERO | DUKE | F
Corey: Questionable defensive effort and three-point shooting concerns drop Banchero out of the top 3, but adding the Blue Devils blue-chipper to the long list of OKC assets means the rich get richer. Banchero gives the Thunder another jumbo-sized playmaker to line up next to Josh Giddey and another potential big-time bucket getter to compliment Shai. OKC will need to add more shooting and defense around their core, but Banchero gives them a foundational piece for their barren frontcourt.
5. INDIANA PACERS - AJ GRIFFIN | DUKE | G/F
Albert: The Indiana Pacers would have an incredibly exciting young core moving forward if this is the pick that’s made. I’m getting so excited just thinking about the Pacers throwing Tyrese Haliburton, Chris Duarte, AJ Griffin, and Isaiah Jackson out there every night. That’s an awesome group of young guys that might be scary good in 2-3 years. It may take a couple of years for Griffin to fully blossom into the versatile offensive player I think he can be, but from day one he will be able to shoot at a really high clip and will fit right in with the group. This team may one day have 4 starters shooting around or above 40% from three all at the same time. AJ isn’t just some standstill shooting specialist though, the dude will be showcasing much more off the dribble once he’s not playing for Duke anymore.
6. SACRAMENTO KINGS - KEEGAN MURRAY | IOWA | F
Nick: The Sacramento Kings get the chance to fill a number of different holes on their roster by taking Keegan Murray with the sixth overall pick. Murray started the season with a bunch of box score stuffing games and hasn’t really slowed down since. His shooting touch, defensive acumen, and presence on the glass will be huge for a Kings team in desperate need of forward help. He should slide into the other forward spot next to Harrison Barnes, and they would form a forward duo with very few weaknesses across the board.
7. SAN ANTONIO SPURS - JALEN DUREN | MEMPHIS | C
Stephen: San Antonio gets an opportunity to land a position of need, along with potentially landing a Best Player Available candidate here with Jalen Duren. On the heels of putting up a 20/20 performance, Duren did a tremendous job of flashing all of his tools in his previous game. He possesses an NBA-ready frame, plays physically, and shows a great deal of feel with his playmaking and shooting. With an abundance of guards and wings already on the roster, the Spurs adding one of the youngest and strongest players in the Draft makes too much sense.
8. PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS - JOHNNY DAVIS | WISCONSIN | SG
Maxwell: Portland is stuck in a tricky “in-between” scenario, where a decision from Damian Lillard to ask out could drastically change the franchise’s trajectory and goals at a moment’s notice. Johnny Davis could fit in either instance. His tenacity, defensive efforts, and ability to attack off the catch make him an intriguing fit next to Lillard. If Lillard bails, Davis also pairs nicely with Anfernee Simons, as Davis’s ability to get into the paint will free up Simons to act as more of an off-ball shooter. He’s an interesting long-term piece who has produced at a high enough level in college that there is reason to believe he can contribute out of the gate.
9. PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS (Via NOLA) - OCHAI AGBAJI | KANSAS | G/F
Nathan: While one could argue there are better “upside plays” still on the board, Ochai Agbaji checks a number of boxes himself despite being a little older at this point in the draft. His off-ball scoring versatility, as outlined by our own Tyler Metcalf, along with his defensive impact and great athleticism, give him a safe floor as a starter-level NBA wing. The Portland Trail Blazers, regardless of whether Damian Lillard stays or not, could use as many quality starters/role players as they can get. Agbaji has helped propel the Kansas Jayhawks for years, and he could continue to take steps forward in Portland.
10. NEW YORK KNICKS - BENNEDICT MATHURIN | ARIZONA | G/F
Rucker: While there’s going to be plenty of buzz about the New York Knicks needing to target a point guard in the upcoming class, the No Ceilings crew still believes that New York will find themselves in a position to target the best player available. Insert Arizona wing Bennedict Mathurin, who has continued to buzz with his play throughout the year for the Wildcats. With the ability to stretch the floor from deep and shoot off movement, Mathurin has taken serious strides forward in his all-around game this year. There’s an intriguing upside of playmaking and defensive potential for his game, and Mathurin would be a massive get for the Knicks here.
11. WASHINGTON WIZARDS - DYSON DANIELS | IGNITE | G
Metcalf: The Wizards are in a weird phase where they have a ton of pieces, but no one to connect them all. They have talent throughout the roster, but they continue to lack a point guard. Dyson Daniels immediately helps to fill that role with his low-maintenance offense and brilliant defense. Daniels is one of, if not the, best perimeter defenders in this class. His outside shot is still a question mark, but it is trending in the right direction. Daniels can, however, pressure the rim and move the ball at a high level. Pairing Daniels’s size and defensive prowess with the rest of this roster gives them a long-term option at point guard and an encouraging defensive foundation.
12. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (Via LAL) - JEREMY SOCHAN | BAYLOR | F
Corey: The Grizzlies have done one of the best jobs of any NBA organization in surrounding their franchise player with complementary pieces. Adding Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan continues the trend. Sochan is one of the youngest prospects in the class with a ready-to-go NBA body. The Grizzlies are loaded with depth and the addition of a modern NBA forward like Sochan that offers the kind of lineup malleability on both ends that every NBA team covets is a huge coup at the end of the lottery.
13. ATLANTA HAWKS - PATRICK BALDWIN JR. | MILWAUKEE | F
Albert: Grabbing PBJ at this spot in the draft feels like a massive steal. The Hawks are a really hard team to draft for because they have so many decent to good players at every position. The reason why I think PBJ is a potential great fit here is that he won’t ever be asked to be the main creator/initiator on offense. If you go back and watch his tape from playing with the U-19 team last year, he looked awesome playing off of Jaden Ivey and Chet Holmgren. He’s a massive dude with good vision/feel and could potentially grow into a really good or at least decent defender. You could easily see him eventually playing the Gallinari role for them, and he should have no problem fitting next to any of their bigs.
14. CHARLOTTE HORNETS - MARK WILLIAMS | DUKE | C
Nick: The Charlotte Hornets have needed center help for a few years now, with some injury-plagued Cody Zeller years giving way to this year’s mish-mash of Mason Plumlee, a few PJ Washington spot starts at center, and a Montrezl Harrell trade that has not helped to stop the bleeding–the Hornets have been a disastrous 5-12 since the start of February, and they have tumbled down in the standings because of it. Mark Williams would immediately shore up Charlotte’s atrocious defense, and he would also contribute heavily on the glass for a Hornets squad that currently ranks 29th in rebounding. All of the fun alley-oops from LaMelo to Williams would just be an added bonus.
15. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (Via LAC) - KENDALL BROWN | BAYLOR | F
Stephen: What an up-and-down season Kendall Brown has had so far. The one thing we know about Oklahoma City is that they have no problem betting on the upside of players, and Brown has plenty of that. He’s a player that has to try harder to stay on the ground than he does jumping, and he fits an ideal role of a player that does not need the ball to contribute. He can run with Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey, and he can make their lives easier as a primary defender. Shooting will be a swing skill that can increase his value, but Brown has the youth and tools that Sam Presti will be ogling over.
16. HOUSTON ROCKETS (Via BRK) - TYTY WASHINGTON | KENTUCKY | G
Maxwell: Houston is desperate for reliable point guard minutes; it’s why they held onto Dennis Schröder after the trade deadline. He’s likely headed out the door in free agency, though, and Kevin Porter Jr. has proven to be more of a 2-guard with occasional playmaking chops than a true point guard. TyTy Washington can take care of those duties. Additionally, his length can help cover for Jalen Green’s defensive deficiencies, and his ability to play off the ball will allow Green to continue to grow as an initiator. Combined with Chet Holmgren, Houston is now better positioned to defend, space the floor, and move the ball.
17. SAN ANTONIO SPURS (Via TOR) - TARI EASON | LSU | F
Nathan: There’s still plenty of room for debate about Tari Eason’s future role in the NBA. However, the strengths he does provide fit right into what the San Antonio Spurs are trying to establish with their young core. Size and length at the swing spot, defensive playmaking, and transition scoring–Eason does all of those things at high levels, according to the metrics. If the jump shot continues to come around as it has over the last month, he can also provide floor spacing for a talented collection of guards and wings.
18. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES - EJ LIDDELL | OHIO STATE | PF
Rucker: The Minnesota Timberwolves appear to be a team that is quickly trending in the right direction moving forward. With an intriguing core of talent that seems to be on the rise, the Timberwolves will find themselves in a great position to add another piece to the puzzle in the first round. Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell has been buzzing throughout the recent months in NBA Draft circles and could become a heck of a get here for the Timberwolves. Although undersized at 6’7”, Liddell has stood out this year with his impressive shot-blocking ability and overall athleticism. The idea of adding versatile floor spacer alongside Karl-Anthony Towns would be something that would get T’Wolves fans excited in a hurry as they would have another dangerous wrinkle to their offense.
19. INDIAN PACERS (Via CLE) - JADEN HARDY | IGNTIE | SG
Metcalf: Hardy could be the biggest home run swing of this draft, which makes plenty of sense for the Pacers this late in the first round. Entering the season, many thought of Hardy as a potential top-five pick. He has fallen off some, but he finished the season on a strong note. Hardy has the tools to be an electric scorer who would fit beautifully alongside Tyrese Haliburton in the backcourt. It may be a bumpy road of development, but Hardy still has the potential to be one of the best scorers from this draft.
20. DENVER NUGGETS - MALAKI BRANHAM | OHIO STATE | SG
Corey: Denver’s job is to continue to put complementary pieces around their superstar and Ohio State’s Malaki Branham fits like a glove in Denver’s system. The Ohio State guard is one of the draft’s latest risers and his intrigue starts with his efficient offense on and off the ball. As a frosh Branham has shooting splits of 49/43/83 and his ability to play off the ball and knock down shots gives MVP front runner Nikola Jokic another efficient sniper to eat off of the magnetic defensive attention he garners.
21. SAN ANTONIO SPURS (Via BOS) - PEYTON WATSON | UCLA | F
Albert: The Spurs should be taking some risks here. They have a nice group of young guards and wings, so a toolsy/raw 4 seems like another great project for the Spurs to take on. Watson hasn’t been given much playing time for the Bruins this year, and I highly doubt he’ll go back to play for Mick Cronin. Regardless of the lack of playing time and the situation he was in this year, Watson has all the tools you’re looking for in a modern-day NBA 4. His length is insane, especially when you see it in person. He is a really good passer and is going to be a guy who I think you can rely on to create out of the short roll. His shot is not broken by any means, and he will have the best shooting coach on planet earth helping him out in San Antonio. Defensively, he’s going to be able to guard bigs as his body develops while also being able to stay in front of guards and wings because of his length and athleticism. He’s a really smooth athlete, and you can see it just by the way he moves around the court. I’m hoping he gets a couple of years to develop and eventually becomes the linchpin of their defense and a lethal pick and roll partner for Dejounte Murray. The defensive potential of a Vassel, Watson, Duren frontcourt is pretty terrifying. Teams may just stop scoring against the Spurs completely.
22. DALLAS MAVERICKS - WALKER KESSLER | AUBURN | C
Nick: The Dallas Mavericks are low on big man depth after trading away Kristaps Porzingis, and Walker Kessler fills a clear need for them down low. As someone who has flirted with historic block rates all season long, Kessler can certainly lock down the area around the basket on defense. His passing touch will also be a boost in terms of his offensive game; if Kessler can start knocking down triples at a decent rate (this year’s percentage is…not encouraging, but this is also the first year that he’s really tried to incorporate that shot), he could become a dangerous player.
23. CHICAGO BULLS - JUSTIN LEWIS | MARQUETTE | F
Stephen: The logic behind taking Lewis for Chicago is fairly simple: They need to add a dynamic forward who can add depth and potentially start if injuries become a problem. Enter Justin Lewis. He’s a 6’7, 240ish lbs., physical forward that can also space the floor. Chicago at their best has plenty of creators that also can help their team’s defense, but having a guy that can play two–maybe three–positions, defend, shoot, and rebound can make this already dangerous team even scarier in the Eastern Conference.
24. BROOKLYN NETS (Via PHI) - MARJON BEAUCHAMP | IGNITE | F
Maxwell: The Brooklyn Nets have Kevin Durant inked to a long-term deal, so everything they do needs to be about maximizing his opportunities to win championships. MarJon Beauchamp has proven to be a highly effective and willing professional role player for the G League Ignite this season. He has an NBA-ready body, makes hustle plays, and can defend multiple positions. The one knock on Beauchamp is that he hasn’t been an effective three-point shooter. Still, he has gorgeous touch in the mid-range, and he hit 39.8% of his threes on 8.6 attempts per game at Yakima Valley Community College last year. If he can get back to consistently hitting from the outside, he is poised to immediately step in and help Brooklyn compete.
25. MILWAUKEE BUCKS - MAX CHRISTIE | MICHIGAN STATE | G/F
Nathan: We had a tough time sorting out who actually was the pick here with the Milwaukee Bucks. When I brought up Max Christie right off the bat, my thought process went to a player who was a swing for a contending team who could also provide value should he see minutes during the regular season. At 6’6”, Christie has defended all year at Michigan State and has the sweet stroke of a long-term shooter in the NBA. Throw in the flashes of distributing out of pick-and-roll along with his blossoming floater game, and there’s a lot to like at this point in the draft.
26. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (Via UTA) - CALEB HOUSTAN | MICHIGAN | F
Rucker: Although Michigan freshman Caleb Houstan has had a roller coaster of a season, his recent performances to close out the year have Houstan trending in the right direction. NBA teams will be fascinated with the upside that the 19-year-old wing has in his game. Listed at 6’8”, Houstan has been inconsistent with his outside shot but still possesses the ability to make an impact as a potential two-way weapon with 3-and-D upside. While Memphis is unlikely to make all of their selections in the first round, the idea of adding another young wing with serious upside would be too intriguing for the organization to pass on, as the Grizzlies continue to add impressive pieces to the puzzle.
27. MIAMI HEAT - NIKOLA JOVIC | MEGA BASKET | F
Metcalf: The Heat have proven that they know how to maximize elite shooters and mold them into more than a specialty player. While Jovic’s calling card is his shooting, he continues to prove his high basketball IQ through his passing. Jovic’s combination of size, shooting, and skill give him the upside to be a more impactful player than some of the versatile shooters that have gone through Miami, but he also makes a player like Duncan Robinson more expendable in a trade if they are looking to make a swing for another big-time player.
28. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES - MOUSSA DIABATE | MICHIGAN | PF/C
Corey: As of today, the Memphis Grizzlies have three first-round picks. Will they use all three on June 23rd? Probably not. But for the purpose of this exercise, we’re selecting all three picks for the Western Conference’s 2-seed. The Grizzlies in this circumstance take a swing with another Michigan prospect in Moussa Diabate. Diabate is somewhat theoretical right now as a player, but he’s flashed the ability to run in transition, score at the rim, and defend the paint. Diabate is currently the 56th ranked prospect on the latest No Ceiling’s Big Board, but with three picks in the first round, the Grizzlies swing on a 6’11” fluid big that could see a major rise in his draft stock if he were to hang around Ann Arbor for another year.
29. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS - GABRIELE PROCIDA | FORTITUDO BOLOGNA | G/F
Albert: Well, this is not going to be fun for the rest of the league. The Warriors taking Procida here means they’re adding a 6’7” wing with a beautiful shooting stroke who can jump out of the gym. Considering the shooting they already have on the squad, it almost feels like overkill–but the fun wrinkle with Procida is the athleticism. I don’t know if he’ll work out at the combine, but I’m sure the vertical jump numbers on this guy are pretty insane. I don’t love how loose his handle can get at times, but the Warriors know what to do with wings that don’t have the best handle in the world. No one was mistaking Klay Thompson’s handle for God Shammgod or Rod Strickland when he came into the league, so Procida will be just fine and should be given ample time to develop before taking on a major role.
30. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (Via PHX) - JEAN MONTERO | OVERTIME | PG
Nick: Jean Montero ended up falling to the last pick of the first round in this mock. He will likely end up going much higher on draft night, but he also has one of the most volatile stocks of any prospect in this draft due to the nature of the Overtime Elite situation. Montero can put up points in a hurry, and his incredibly quick hands and good lateral movement both bode well for his defensive projection to the NBA. With OKC’s current draft stockpile, they can and should be willing to swing for the fences; taking a guard with Montero’s potential scoring upside would certainly qualify.