FINAL 2022 NBA Mock Draft
The gang got together one last time to give our final predictions for the 2022 NBA Draft along with our usual "What Would We Do" selections.
It’s the end of the road for the 2022 NBA Draft cycle here at No Ceilings.
All year long, we’ve provided valuable insight and analysis into each and every player you’ll likely hear about on draft night. We’ve published countless podcasts and YouTube videos exhibiting the strengths and weaknesses of top prospects all the way down to those who find themselves on the fringe of being drafted in the second round.
We are proud of all that we have done to cover the draft in ways that haven’t been done to this extent.
But enough of that gibberish. You came here for a MOCK DRAFT!!!!
So let’s give this one last go. Not only are we publishing our final thoughts on what we would do with each pick in the first and second rounds, but we’ve also included PREDICTIONS for what we think will play out for all 30 picks in the first.
We don’t project trades here, and yes, there could be a stunning amount of trades on Thursday night. This is what we think and what we would do based on all of the information in front of us as of the publishing of this mock.
Without further ado, let’s break out the champagne and pre-game draft night with one last mock draft!
1. Orlando Magic
Prediction: Jabari Smith | Auburn | F
Our Pick: Chet Holmgren | Gonzaga | C
Nathan: There’s Jabari Smith, who has been the betting favorite to land with the Magic for weeks…But then there’s Chet freaking Holmgren. Our projected best talent in the 2022 class, the 7-footer changes the game on both ends of the floor with his size, skill, and high IQ. The way he anticipates, deters, and makes plays on the defensive side of the ball, coupled with his potential offensive impact from the perimeter and finishing down low, offer a tantalizing package for Orlando. There’s too much to pass on here; Holmgren should be the pick.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Prediction: Chet Holmgren | Gonzaga | C
Our Pick: Paolo Banchero | Duke | F
Rucker: While the Oklahoma City Thunder have been heavily connected to Chet Holmgren at the second overall selection, the No Ceilings crew voted on mixing it up near the top of the Draft. In this situation, Duke freshman Paolo Banchero ends up with OKC. Banchero is arguably the most ready out of the “Big 3” in this class. His offensive firepower, alongside his playmaking ability and upside, would give the Thunder another welcomed asset for their future. With Banchero’s ability to score from multiple levels, paired with the talents of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, OKC would be quickly trending in the right direction.
3. Houston Rockets
Prediction: Paolo Banchero | Duke | F
Our Pick: Jabari Smith | Auburn | F
Corey: In a league that continually moves towards spacing and versatility, it should come as no surprise that Jabari Smith Jr took the draft world by storm. At 6’10” with a high release, Smith comes equipped with an unblockable shot that he can get over any defender thrown his way. Smith connected on 42% of his looks from deep this season, making him the perfect running mate for Jalen Green. The duo should form a deadly two-man game that will force defenses to choose between giving up an open pick-and-pop attempt for Smith or allowing Jalen Green to pressure the rim. Smith is also a seamless fit alongside Alperen Sengun in the front court. The newest Rocket will also immediately set the tone for the Rockets as a versatile defender that should one day be able to guard one through five. Smith will have to improve his ability to finish at the rim and his ball-handling long term to reach his ceiling, but the floor for a sniper forward that can guard multiple positions is pretty damn high.
4. Sacramento Kings
Prediction: Keegan Murray | Iowa | F
Our Pick: Jaden Ivey | Purdue | G
Metcalf: In terms of explosiveness, Jaden Ivey is in a league of his own in the 2022 NBA Draft class. Ivey’s ability to go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye is a jaw-dropping experience. He is a blur in the open court, lethal in the pick-and-roll, and essentially impossible to stay in front of regardless of the situation. Drafting another guard may seem frustrating, and the fit next to De’Aaron Fox may initially seem clunky, but we don’t really care. Ivey has superstar potential, and you can’t really pass that up with a top four pick. The addition of Ivey gives the Kings arguably the most athletic backcourt in the NBA, and Ivey has proven that he can succeed off-ball. He’s an excellent cutter, impossible to stick with running off screens, and eager to leak out in transition. Take the best player available, and if the fit doesn’t work with Fox, then you figure it out later.
5. Detroit Pistons
Prediction: Jaden Ivey | Purdue | G
Our Pick: Keegan Murray | Iowa | F
Nick: The Detroit Pistons pick up Keegan Murray with the fifth overall pick here–a move that would make even more sense now in light of yesterday’s Jerami Grant trade. Murray provides elite scoring inside the arc, good three-point shooting, and solid defensive potential; furthermore, his dramatic growth between his first and second seasons at Iowa bode well for his work ethic and ability to improve at the NBA level. Murray has the potential to be a great second option on offense behind Cade Cunningham, and Murray and Saddiq Bey will make a versatile forward duo with excellent shooting around Cade.
6. Indiana Pacers
Prediction: Bennedict Mathurin | Arizona | W
Our Pick: Johnny Davis | Wisconsin | G
Albert: Johnny Davis is the epitome of a dynamic two-way player. If I hear one more person talk about his inefficiency as a negative, I will absolutely lose it. I think evaluating basketball players in a vacuum is one of the worst things we can do. When it comes to Davis, we have to look at the situation he was in and what was asked of him on a nightly basis. Davis is going to be a really good basketball player because of what he can do on both ends of the floor. In the NBA, with NBA spacing and NBA-level talent, he will be so much better, and those efficiency numbers should look pretty different. I’m not saying he’s a perfect player; what I am saying is you will find very few players who excelled at the level that he did while being asked to do as much as he was asked to do on both ends of the floor. Give the man his credit—he carried that team on his back.
7. Portland Trail Blazers
Prediction: Dyson Daniels | G-League Ignite | W
Our Pick: Dyson Daniels | G-League Ignite | W
Maxwell: Dyson Daniels would immediately provide versatility for a team that finished dead last in defensive rating and 27th in offensive rating. His ability to drive the lane and make quick decisions would allow him to thrive around shotmakers like Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons. He’d also lighten the burden on them defensively and should be able to handle tougher assignments out of the gate, thanks to his size, footwork, and instincts. Daniels struggled as an outside shooter but hit 43% of his triples over the last ten games of the season; if he can continue to progress as a shooter, he’ll take himself from being a polished, low-maintenance role player to being a potential All-Star. No matter the outcome, you can feel great about Daniels. As a 6’8” player who can create offense, read the floor, rebound, run the break, and defend multiple positions, he should be a contributor to winning who sticks around for a long time.
8. New Orleans Pelicans
Prediction: AJ Griffin | Duke | W
Our Pick: AJ Griffin | Duke | W
Nathan: Griffin’s draft stock has certainly been turbulent all year long. To start the year, he came off the bench and had to work his way into meshing with his fellow Duke teammates on top of getting used to playing competitive basketball due to the injuries that held him out of games late in his high school career. As the season went on, Griffin capitalized on more opportunities and was one of the most efficient freshmen shooters in the country, along with showing why he has two-way potential. At 6’6” and 220 lbs. Griffin is built for the modern NBA on the wing and could give the Pelicans an electric fourth or fifth option offensively while having plenty of room to grow and build chemistry with his teammates defensively.
9. San Antonio Spurs
Prediction: Johnny Davis | Wisconsin | G
Our Pick: Jalen Duren | Memphis | C
Rucker: The San Antonio Spurs are going to find themselves as one the “underrated” teams to monitor in the Lottery. While this team has a plethora of guards on their roster, the Spurs won’t be afraid to go the best player available route if it comes down to it. At the same time, there’s also a serious opportunity for the Spurs to have their pick of some of the top big men prospects in this class. Jalen Duren has the tools to be a heck of a scoop here for San Antonio. If the Spurs are in on Duren, they will have the potential to add a raw big man with freakish tools who will be 18 years old when he plays his first NBA game.
10. Washington Wizards
Prediction: Shaedon Sharpe | Kentucky | W
Our Pick: Shaedon Sharpe | Kentucky | W
Corey: Everyone loves to refer to Shaedon Sharpe as the draft’s mystery man. However, there are fun mysteries like Scooby Doo and the gang chasing ghouls, and then there are the kind of mysteries that leave you chain-smoking while pontificating that time is a flat circle. Shaedon Sharpe feels like the latter. Sharpe has an innate unteachable ability to create his own shot, and he can flat-out jump out of the gym. He’s got an ideal frame and length for a modern NBA swingman. He is theoretically everything you’d want out of a lottery pick. However, there is little to no footage of him playing in a fully structured system, and he has…umm…not exactly been Billy Shakesphere with a camera and mic in his face throughout the pre-draft process. Taking him early in the draft is the kind of risk that either gets you fired or nets you an extension. But at 10? Well, at 10, he’s a tremendous value play that is a no-brainer for a Wizards team with little direction. If Beal re-signs with Washington, he’ll provide Sharpe with someone to model his game after, and if he doesn’t, Sharpe can learn on the fly while jumping onto a team with low expectations that will more than likely be at the front of the race for Victor Wembanyama.
11. New York Knicks
Prediction: Jalen Duren | Memphis | C
Our Pick: Bennedict Mathurin | Arizona | W
Metcalf: At the very least, Bennedict Mathurin will be an excellent off-ball scorer from day one. Mathurin has already proven his adeptness at hitting tough movement threes and thriving on back door cuts. The next step in Mathurin’s development is improving his on-ball equity. If Mathurin somehow falls to the Knicks, they should sprint to the podium. He immediately improves their off-ball shooting and athleticism. His inconsistencies on defense should hopefully be improved in this environment as well. Whether they are looking for fit or upside, Mathurin would be a dream come true for the Knicks.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder
Prediction: Jeremy Sochan | Baylor | F
Our Pick: Mark Williams | Duke | C
Nick: After picking up Paolo Banchero with the second overall pick, Oklahoma City adds a ready-made center prospect in Mark Williams. Williams should be an above-average drop defender from Day One in the NBA, and he and Josh Giddey would instantly become one of the most fun young alley-oop connections in the NBA. The Thunder have a fascinating crew of young players already in the fold but no center of the future behind Derrick Favors; Williams would shore up their defense around the rim while also setting solid screens and cleaning up around the basket on offense.
13. Charlotte Hornets
Prediction: Mark Williams | Duke | C
Our Pick: Jeremy Sochan | Baylor | F
Albert: Adding Jeremy Sochan and Jalen Williams to run with Lamelo Ball is a ton of fun. The Hornets were not a good defensive team last year, and Sochan will bring a ton of talent on that side of the ball. Jeremy Sochan is easily one of the best defenders in this class with his size, length, and intelligence. Offensively, I think he’s going to be a ball of clay and will be extremely moldable. It’s hard to tell what kind of offensive player he will become, but the tools are there. I liked that he was unafraid to put up shots, but there is still a long way to go until he becomes a real threat on that end.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers
Prediction: Malaki Branham | Ohio State | G
Our Pick: Ochai Agbaji | Kansas | W
Maxwell: Ochai Agbaji might not be a tantalizing upside swing, but he slides in perfectly to a Cleveland team on the way up. Little is made of his defense, but he was an excellent communicator on that end for Kansas this past season. As we saw with Ayo Dosunmu on the Bulls last year, high-level athletes and solid college defenders who see a reduction from their massive collegiate usage can compete on defense right away. Agbaji also dunked over 30 times and hit 40.7% of his 253 three-point attempts last season, a rare feat demonstrating his violent finishing package and smooth shooting stroke. He’ll bring maturity, understanding of his own game, high-level athleticism, and shooting to one of the most exciting young teams in the league.
15. Charlotte Hornets
Prediction: Ochai Agbaji | Kansas | W
Our Pick: Jalen Williams | Santa Clara | W
Nathan: Back on the Draft Deeper podcast a few weeks ago, I made this very selection on a mock draft show for the Hornets. The bottom line is Charlotte could look to go into a more pressure-filled winning push sooner rather than later with LaMelo Ball’s continued development and the re-signing of Miles Bridges. The Hornets need to NAIL these two picks, and getting a defensive stopgap like Sochan with one pick while picking up a wing who can dribble, pass, and shoot with the other could be too good of an opportunity for Charlotte to pass on. Williams has an excellent path to starting in the league, and at worst is a rotation player capable of secondary ball-handling and scoring duties off the bench.
16. Atlanta Hawks
Prediction: Dalen Terry | Arizona | G
Our Pick: EJ Liddell | Ohio State | F
Rucker: Atlanta has plenty of guys who can put the ball in the basket. Let’s get them some more help on the defensive side of the ball. The Hawks are expected to be one of the most active teams in the league this offseason, as it seems as if they’ve been rumored in trades every 30 minutes. While Atlanta will likely try to make some adjustments to their roster, EJ Liddell would be a sensational get here for the Hawks. Liddell has the versatility to be an intriguing addition in the front court, especially when it comes to his pick & pop ability.
17. Houston Rockets
Prediction: Ousmane Dieng | NZ Breakers | W
Our Pick: Ousmane Dieng | NZ Breakers | W
Corey: Ousmane Dieng is the ultimate tale of two tapes. The French wing looked nearly undraftable throughout the first half of the season until something clicked, and he started looking more like Paris Paul George. In a class devoid of playmakers, Dieng ranks near the top. His feel and ability to pass the rock is as impressive of a skill as any prospect has in the class, as he’s already adept at making advanced live dribble reads and weak-side hits. Dieng can play on or off the ball and should serve as another floor spacer for the Rockets. Adding Dieng after nabbing Smith would give the Rockets one of the most promising young frontcourt pairings in the league and provides them with two long, versatile, switchable dudes to complement the primary scoring talent of Jalen Green.
18. Chicago Bulls
Prediction: EJ Liddell | Ohio State | F
Our Pick: Tari Eason | LSU | F
Metcalf: Few defenders were as disruptive as Tari Eason was this year. Eason had a near historic combination of steal and block rates, which, when combined with his defensive rebounding, made Eason a monster transition scorer. The bigger questions with Eason come with his half-court offense. He got to the rim almost whenever he wanted this season, but he barely has a left hand. Despite showing meaningful improvement as an outside shooter as the year progressed, Eason’s funky mechanics still leave many skeptical about how the jumper will translate. For the Bulls, though, there may not be a better fit in this range of the draft. Eason will help provide toughness, defensive playmaking, interior scoring, and depth to their frontcourt on day one. He has some tantalizing upside, but the player he is today is essentially exactly what the Bulls need.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves
Prediction: Tari Eason | LSU | F
Our Pick: Dalen Terry | Arizona | G
Nick: The Minnesota Timberwolves shore up their forward rotation here by taking Dalen Terry out of Arizona. Terry closed out the season strong for Arizona, as he took full advantage of his increased minutes down the stretch to showcase his all-around game. Terry’s playmaking potential, excellent scoring game inside the arc, and burgeoning jump shot from long range give him to potential to possibly develop into a top-notch third option on offense alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards.
20. San Antonio Spurs
Prediction: Jake LaRavia | Wake Forest | F
Our Pick: Malaki Branham | Ohio State | G
Albert: Grabbing Branham at this spot is good value for the Spurs. As we were going through this mock draft, we all talked about how this Spurs team is not one or two steps away from being a legitimate contending team. For all of the young talent and names they have on their roster, a lot is still up in the air. Other than Dejounte Murray, are any of their young guards and wings untouchable? With that being said, grabbing a high ceiling wing in Branham at this spot makes sense. Branham has a beautiful-looking stroke and will be a three-level scoring threat from day one. I think he still has work to do with his finishing, but his mid-range game is really pretty, and he will be able to shoot off the catch from three at a high clip. He’s also a sneaky good playmaker who has decent vision and touch. He shouldn’t be your primary creator, but the Spurs won’t have to worry about that since they have Murray.
21. Denver Nuggets
Prediction: Jalen Williams | Santa Clara | W
Our Pick: Jaden Hardy | G-League Ignite | G
Maxwell: Though next season will see the return of Jamal Murray, the rest of the Nuggets backcourt has some unanswered questions. Monte Morris’ name has persistently popped up in trade rumors. Outside of Bones Hyland, the rest of the pack is either older or unproven. Hardy may not have had the campaign he hoped for the G League Ignite, but he did excel as a shooter off the catch, a wildly useful skill to have on a team that has Nikola Jokic. He also developed as a playmaker throughout the season, finding teammates more consistently, getting to the rim more easily, and creating more separation for himself on the perimeter. Hardy would give Denver another on-ball option in time, but his off-ball skillset could see him contribute more immediately.
22. Memphis Grizzlies
Prediction: Jaden Hardy | G-League Ignite | G
Our Pick: Gabriele Procida | Fortitudo Bologna | W
Nathan: It’s the NBA Draft, which means swings abound! There are fewer teams in the first round who can more easily afford to take some major gambles on talent in this range than the Grizzlies. Already possessing a deep roster with few roster spot openings should Tyus Jones and Kyle Anderson return, Memphis could look to draft and stash one of the best talents in the international group. Procida is an explosive 6’7” wing who can shoot the lights out and score from all three levels. With more developmental time and better coaching in the NBA, he could become one of the best steals in the draft. The rich always keep getting richer.
23. Philadelphia 76ers
Prediction: Blake Wesley | Notre Dame | G
Our Pick: Max Christie | Michigan State | W
Rucker: While everyone in the world continues to joke about how the Philadelphia 76ers want to basically “give” this pick away, we don’t project trades here at No Ceilings. If Philadelphia does decide to keep this selection, adding some upside in the backcourt would be a wise decision. Michigan State’s Max Christie had an inconsistent freshman year, but he still has the tools to be one of the top talents in this class. A nasty defender with SERIOUS offensive upside as a bucket-getting machine, Christie would be a great get here for the 76ers.
24. Milwaukee Bucks
Prediction: TyTy Washington | Kentucky | G
Our Pick: TyTy Washington | Kentucky | G
Corey: There are three certainties in life; death, taxes, and Kentucky guards outplaying their draft position. The Bucks need depth behind Jrue Holiday, and TyTy Washington has the pedigree and skillset to provide major value to Milwaukee. A mid-range killer with one of the smoothest floaters in his class, Washington can create his own offense when called upon, make plays for his teammates when asked while also serving as a floor spacer, spot up off the ball, and knock down shots when teams load up on Giannis and Khris Middleton.
25. San Antonio Spurs
Prediction: Nikola Jovic | Mega | F
Our Pick: Patrick Baldwin Jr. | Milwaukee | F
Metcalf: Homerun swing. After a year with horrid guard play and an unhealthy level of instability, what better location for a former top high school recruit to land than the Spurs. The hope is that this season was the worst of the worst-case scenarios for Baldwin and that he will eventually turn into that 6’10” lethal shooter we all hoped he would be. Despite having the season from hell, Baldwin did show he had a high feel for the game with some of his ball movement and off-ball defense. The athletic testing is a concern, as is the lackluster shooting numbers, but with a historically great coaching staff, shooting coach, and culture, why not take a swing on a prospect who many thought would challenge for the first pick at the start of the season?
26. Houston Rockets
Prediction: MarJon Beauchamp | G-League Ignite | W
Our Pick: Christian Koloko | Arizona | C
Nick: After selecting two versatile 6’10” forwards in Jabari Smith Jr. and Ousmane Dieng with their first two picks in the first round, the Houston Rockets opt to bolster their center rotation here with Christian Koloko. Koloko will provide rim protection and efficient scoring around the basket and will set solid screens on the perimeter. Koloko and Smith Jr. make a ton of sense as a big man duo; he will allow Jabari to roam on the perimeter on defense, and Jabari already showed last season while playing with Walker Kessler that he works incredibly well with a shot-blocking center behind him to clean up any missteps.
27. Miami Heat
Prediction: Trevor Keels | Duke | G
Our Pick: Ryan Rollins | Toledo | G
Albert: Ryan Rollins is dynamic. With all the Tyler Herro trade rumors swirling about, it makes sense for the Heat to grab the saucy guard from Toledo. Rollins has an incredible handle, shake, and shot-making ability. He creates space for himself effortlessly, and that will easily translate to the next level. He’s not the biggest guard, but that doesn’t hurt his ability to put up buckets at all. He isn’t a good three-point shooter yet, but with what he’s shown in the mid-range, I don’t think he’s very far away from at least being decent. The fact that he was an 80% free throw shooter last season is a good sign as well.
28. Golden State Warriors
Prediction: Christian Koloko | Arizona | C
Our Pick: Jake LaRavia | Wake Forest | F
Maxwell: Jake Laravia would be a fantastic get for any team at this stage of the first round, but especially the Warriors. As their front court gets older, he can fit in with their younger core while simultaneously bringing value to the table now. He’s a sharp decision-maker and excellent passer who averaged 3.7 APG this past season. He’ll bully smaller players inside (61.6% on 2s), and he can knock down threes (38.4% this past season). LaRavia’s athleticism doesn’t jump off the page, but he’s strong, moves his feet, and knows where to be. He’s everything you look for in a modern forward, and he would excel within Golden State’s fast-moving offense.
29. Memphis Grizzlies
Prediction: Max Christie | Michigan State | W
Our Pick: Trevor Keels | Duke | G
Nathan: If the Grizzlies are going to draft-and-stash one first-round pick, they can afford to play it a tad bit safer with their second selection. Memphis going the route of Keels late in the first is just that. We at No Ceilings understand why he’s slid a bit on mock drafts and big boards: inconsistent shooting. But if his high school sample is to be taken into account, then it’s likely he’ll correct his efficiency sooner rather than later while also offering some secondary playmaking upside AND he’s built like a brick house. His toughness and style would fit right in with the other Grizzlies on the roster, and he could find a way to sneak into the rotation during his rookie season for some opportunities to continue developing.
30. Denver Nuggets
Prediction: Caleb Houstan | Michigan | W
Our Pick: Peyton Watson | UCLA | W
Rucker: The Denver Nuggets made a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder with the clear intention of targeting someone with the 30th pick. While the Nuggets could look to add a veteran-like floor general (Andrew Nembhard, anyone?), we think they could be intrigued by a raw developmental talent with some serious upside. Insert UCLA freshman forward Peyton Watson. Although it was a disappointing year for Watson, there’s no denying he has the long-term upside to be a dynamic weapon at the NBA level. Watson is said to have plenty of fans around the league still, speculating that he still could find his way into the first round even after a down year.