We’re just a few days away from the 2022 NBA Draft, and with the order officially set, speculation is reaching its peak. The Orlando Magic will make the first pick, but with no consensus No. 1 prospect heading the class, determining who the franchise will take isn’t easy.
The Game Day’s Jordan Schultz is here to provide his picks and analysis for the first round of the NBA Draft, pairing prospects with teams that will hopefully make their hoop dreams come true.
Please note that all NBA Draft odds and lines are current as of Wednesday, June 22.
2022 NBA Mock Draft Round 1 Predictions
1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith, F, Auburn
Smith has NBA tools on both sides of the ball, namely as a knockdown pick-and-pop man (he shot 42% on three-pointers as a freshman) whose athleticism at 6-feet-10-inches also enables him to erase shots at the rim.
He’s a great fit for the young Magic, who really want to run.
NBA Draft Bet: If you also believe Smith will be the first player off the board, consider betting on him to go No. 1 overall at Caesars Sportsbook. He can be had at (-280) odds, and while that’s not a great value, many believe Smith is a lock to go here, making this our NBA bet of the day.
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2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren, F/C, Gonzaga
Holmgren can make an argument as the top player in this class. He has sensational instincts, particularly defensively, where he can cover ground at an Inspector Gadget-like level. Sam Presti, welcome to the fan club.
He’s more than capable of blocking shots (he averaged 3.7 per game for the Zags) and creating all sorts of issues in the paint. Offensively, the seven-footer is already a polished passer and terrific three-point shooter, knocking down 39% of his attempts from beyond the arc.
NBA Draft Bet: Think Holmgren is a lock to go at No. 2? At Caesars, you can bet on him to land in Oklahoma City at (-240) odds.
3. Houston Rockets: Paolo Banchero, F, Duke
Banchero has a robust offensive skill set that leads me to believe he’s a guy who will average 16 points and eight rebounds per game from the jump. He’s also got All-Star upside and will eventually be a go-to scorer at all three levels. I love how he can be deployed as a shot-creator on the perimeter with a ball screen as well.
For the young Rockets’ squad, Banchero is one heck of a consolation prize.
NBA Draft Bet: The (-350) odds don’t present a great value, so you should only lock in Banchero to go third overall is you’re absolutely sure of it.
4. Sacramento Kings: Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue
Ivey has Ja Morant vibes — and at the time, I was adamant that New Orleans should have taken Morant at No. 1, over Zion Williamson.
An electric athlete who soars to the basket – Ivey calls it the “Baja Blast” – he would be part of a wonderful backcourt pairing with De’Aaron Fox, especially after Tyrese Haliburton was traded to Indiana.
NBA Draft Bet: This is where things get interesting. Ivey is (-150) to go fourth to the Kings, which is the best value available so far. He’s likely t0 be the best player available at this point, and if Sacramento gets it right, they’ll pick him here.
5. Detroit Pistons: Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky
Build through the perimeter! That should be the Detroit’s outlook in this draft.
Cade Cunningham, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, had a strong rookie campaign. Adding Sharpe, an explosive athlete and scorer into the mix — as well as ancillary ball handler — will benefit both players and ultimately help Detroit take another big step forward.
NBA Draft Bet: If you were waiting for huge value, this is the bet for you to make. Sharpe is (+1200) to go fifth to Detroit, which is surprising considering he was once thought of as a potential top-three selection. This is more than worth a sprinkle.
6. Indiana Pacers: Keegan Murray, F, Iowa
With Domantas Sabonis gone, Haliburton teams up with Murray, a very polished offensive player who can play inside and out, alongside Myles Turner as well. Murray can be an instant contributor, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
7. Portland Trail Blazers: Bennedict Mathurin, SG, Arizona
Mathurin, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, was a revelation for the Wildcats. Need a bucket? Done. Big-time defensive stop? Just tell me who! Grab a key rebound late? No problem.
The bouncy 6-foot-6-inch scorer would be a great addition for Damian Lillard and potentially Anfernee Simons, should he be extended.
8. New Orleans Pelicans (via Lakers): Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite
The best perimeter defender in the draft, the Australian-born Daniels has elite upside.
His innate feel for the game and menacing defense will be an instant aid to CJ McCollum in the backcourt and add another lockdown option for head coach Willie Green next to Second-Team All-Rookie performer Herb Jones.
9. San Antonio Spurs: AJ Griffin, F, Duke
Griffin was a McDonald’s All-American and Team USA gold medalist who didn’t disappoint during his lone season in Durham, drilling 45% of his threes for the Blue Devils while often guarding the best offensive player as well.
A very smart player with the NBA in his bloodline — his father Adrian spent nearly a decade in the league — Griffin’s seven-foot wingspan is a scary proposition paired with hyper-athletic second-year man Josh Primo.
10. Washington Wizards: Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin
Davis is another tantalizing talent out of the Big Ten. He has a highly advanced handle, great first step, is a sound pull-up shooter with NBA range, and possesses high-level defensive attributes that make him the perfect player to slot next to Bradley Beal.
He also earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors as a sophomore, which is no easy feat.
- Keep up to date with our best NBA betting tips.
11. New York Knicks: Jalen Duren, C, Memphis
The Knicks need Duren. He can be their Patrick Ewing! Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but I think Duren has real All-Star upside as a freaky athletic seven-footer with good hands, good touch, and crazy shot-blocking ability.
What more could New York want from its first-round pick this year?
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Clippers): Ochai Agbaji, F, Kansas
The Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, Agbaji comes off a brilliant senior season for the Jayhawks in which he averaged 18.8 points and 5.1 rebounds on 48% shooting.
He’s added wiggle to his game, while featuring a powerful 6-foot-5-inch, 215-pound frame and the mentality to become a true weapon defensively.
13. Charlotte Hornets: Mark Williams, C, Duke
Williams makes way too much sense this late in the lottery for Charlotte. LaMelo Ball needs an athletic lob threat — Williams is that — and this defense, which ranked mid-pack last year, is desperate for an eraser.
The 7-foot-2-inch (in shoes) sophomore averaged 2.8 blocks and altered a whole lot more while helping propel Duke to the Final Four. Williams also recorded a ridiculous 9-foot-9-inch standing reach at the Combine, a good four inches better than any of the other draft prospects.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jalen Williams, G/F, Santa Clara
One of the biggest risers in the draft, Williams has a complete floor game and classic jumper (51/40/81 shooting splits) that should pay immediate dividends for the rising Cavaliers. Darius Garland will love his versatility too.
Santa Clara once produced the great Steve Nash. Williams, at 6-foot-6 with a seven-foot wingspan may not be Nash, but he’s a wonderful prospect for an improving playoff roster and an impressive young head coach in J.B. Bickerstaff.
15. Charlotte Hornets (via Pelicans): Ousmane Dieng, G/F, New Zealand Breakers
A project, but a very worthwhile one, Dieng is a phenomenal athlete who projects as a potential shutdown defender, elite rebounder and capable third or fourth scoring option. I like him a lot.
16. Atlanta Hawks: Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor
Just 18, Sochan already displays a good feel for the game with a refined offensive game and motor to match. Cam Reddish is long gone, and GM Travis Schlenk knows he needs a gritty forward who can do a bit of everything next to DeAndre Hunter.
17. Houston Rockets (via Nets): Kennedy Chandler, PG, Tennessee
At 6-feet-1 inches and 171 pounds, Chandler is a freak athlete with elite speed and bounce. Sounds a bit like a smaller John Wall, yes?
A McDonald’s All-American, Chandler explodes to the basket and finishes above the rim. As he masters the pick-and-roll game, he’s got the talent to become one of the best players in this draft.
18. Chicago Bulls: Malaki Branham, G, Ohio State
Another talented Big Ten product off the board. This time it’s Buckeyes’ freshman Malaki Branham, a rangy 6-foot-5-inch guard with excellent pace and giddy-up to his game, not to mention the ability to guard guards and wings at the next level.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite
A powerful, 6-foot-4-inch wing, Hardy is a microwave-type of offensive weapon, showcasing himself as a tough shot-maker who doesn’t need a ball screen to get his own. He’s the perfect addition for the upstart Wolves.
20. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): MarJon Beauchamp, G, G League Ignite
A rangy athlete who can play the 1 through 3 spots, Beauchamp excels in the open floor and when he’s attacking the paint in isolation. The Spurs add another explosive creator — and fellow Seattleite like Dejounte Murray — to their backcourt with tremendous defensive upside to boot.
21. Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia
Another Nikola in Denver. Jokic & Jovic. Okay, you get the point! Jovic, at 6-feet-10-inches, is a natural floor spacer who can put it on the deck as well.
A good athlete tailor-made for the NBA’s spread-out, up-tempo nature, Jovic also provides insurance for Michael Porter Jr., who is coming off of back surgery.
22. Memphis Grizzlies (via Jazz): Dalen Terry, G/F, Arizona
Terry is one of the most versatile wings in this draft class. He can make plays, get you a bucket, and lock up opponents on defense as well. I just love his game and couldn’t love the fit more for the Grizz.
23. Philadelphia 76ers: E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State
At 6-feet-7-inches and 240 pounds, Liddell is a highly-skilled, albeit undersized four who can operate out of the mid-post and use his flurry of moves to score out of the block. He averaged 19.4 points per game in his third year at Ohio State and brought his three-point percentage up to a respectable 37.4%.
The First-Team All Big-Ten standout is a good find for the 76ers at 23 thanks to his functionality as a team defender and glass-eater.
24. Milwaukee Bucks: Max Christie, G, Michigan State
This is a big upside play here for GM John Horst and the Bucks, who need to get younger and more athletic on the perimeter. Enter Christie, a gifted wing with tangible two-way ability if he’s coached up and given time to properly develop.
25. San Antonio Spurs (via Celtics): Jaylin Williams, F/C, Arkansas
Williams is an athletic, high-motor defensive menace who can impact the game even when he’s not involved offensively. He wreaked havoc for the Hogs in the SEC.
I like him as a complementary piece to rising stars Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV, two perimeter players who will be able to run the two-man game with Williams.
26. Houston Rockets (via Mavericks): Christian Braun, G/F, Kansas
Braun is the type of physical, two-way wing the Bulls need. A stout 6-foot-7, the national champion can impact the game with his defense and rebounding, while ultimately serving as a good No. 3 option offensively.
27. Miami Heat: Tari Eason, F, LSU
Eason will improve leaps and bounds in an organization run as well as Miami’s, where he will learn how to get in great shape and grow his frame and mindset into the dogged-like mentality that the Heat demand.
28. Golden State Warriors: TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky
Washington, almost quietly, put together a terrific freshman season in Lexington, showcasing a splendid feel for the game, tight handle, and capable scoring ability. More guard depth for the reigning champions in the form of Washington, a Second-Team All-SEC pick.
29. Memphis Grizzlies: Kendall Brown, F, Baylor
I thought there were times last season when Brown, just 18, was a top-ten pick. His upside is that immense and often stood out in the high-wire Big 12 act. Consistency and offensive fluidity could bump him down a tad, but Brown has all the physical gifts to morph into an NBA starter, and a dang good one at that.
30. Denver Nuggets (via Thunder): Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame
Just 19, Wesley is a prototypical NBA combo man whose bounciness and toughness make him an interesting proposition for both rebuilding teams and contenders.
The 6-foot-4-inch, 187-pounder uses his powerful upper body to bully bigger players — not only on the perimeter, but also as a deft paint finisher. He measured a healthy 6-foot-9-inch wingspan as well in Chicago.
2022 NBA Mock Draft Round 2 Predictions
31. Indiana Pacers (via Rockets): Ryan Rollins, SG, Toledo
“He was great when he worked out with us.” Those are the words of a lead scout I spoke with, referencing the former Toledo star. Over 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-10-inch wingspan, Rollins has CJ McCollum-type measurements and enough wiggle in his game to warrant a first-round pick as well.
32. Orlando Magic: Jabari Walker, F, Colorado
I love Walker’s game. He can handle it, shoot it, and defend well enough to stay on the floor. Serious upside play here for the Magic, who can afford to take a risk or two in this draft.
33. Toronto Raptors (via Pistons): Wendell Moore, SF, Duke
Moore was the glue for Duke’s Final Four run, and his defensive upside is in line with how the Raptors want to play.
34. Oklahoma City Thunder: Johnny Juzang, SG, UCLA
Juzang is a highly skilled, intelligent wing who plays team ball and understands how to impact the game even when he’s not scoring. He’ll have a decade-long career in the league.
35. Los Angeles Lakers (via Magic): Peyton Watson, SF, UCLA
Watson’s best basketball is in front of him, and that’s an understatement. At 6-foot-8 with bounce, length, and enticing talent, Watson has Pascal Siakam-type ability and represents excellent value in the second round.
36. Detroit Pistons (via Trail Blazers): Ismael Kamagate, C, France
Rim-protecting asset with crazy length. One GM compared him to a poor man’s Rudy Gobert.
37. Sacramento Kings: Patrick Baldwin, Jr., G/F, UW-Milwaukee
Baldwin was a McDonald’s All-American who chose to play for his pops at UW-Milwaukee. Admittedly, he’s a challenging player to evaluate. He didn’t shoot the ball well in 11 collegiate games as a freshman, nor did he test well at the Chicago pre-draft Combine.
On the flip side, Baldwin wasn’t surrounded by top-tier talent and was the focal point of the entire defensive game plan. At 6-feet-10-inches, he can handle the ball and flashes a silky-smooth offensive arsenal.
38. San Antonio Spurs (via Lakers): Jake LaRavia, SF, Wake Forest
Knockdown shooter with a good handle and above-average athleticism. Sounds like a Spur!
39. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Spurs): Justin Lewis, F, Marquette
Lewis is a classic Marquette two-way forward with crazy length at 6-foot-7 and a near 7-foot-3 wingspan who can score it and defend guards and forwards.
40. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Wizards): Walker Kessler, C, Auburn
The most dominant shot-blocker in the country last season, Kessler — a former McDonald’s All-American and UNC transfer — is a great depth addition next to KAT. I love adding another athletic seven-footer into the mix for the Wolves.
41. New Orleans Pelicans: Jordan Hall, G, St. Joseph’s
Hall should be talked about more! He’s a super talented offensive player, albeit a late bloomer. He represents terrific value this late in the draft. “Really like him,” says one GM I spoke with.
42. New York Knicks: Jamaree Bouyea, G, San Francisco
Undersized guard who compensates with a lightning first step and change of direction. Belongs in the NBA thanks to an immense skill set that will stick.
43. Los Angeles Clippers: Bryce McGowens, SG, Nebraska
McGowens is a 6-foot-6-inch playmaker with a lot of stuff to his game. Toughness will be a key factor for him as a pro, as will his shooting.
44. Atlanta Hawks: Khalifa Diop, C, Senegal
Diop has big-time defensive and rebounding ability with impressive agility as well. He’s pushing seven feet with a good lower base, sound footwork (thanks to his soccer background in Senegal), and soft hands.
45. Charlotte Hornets: JD Davison, PG, Alabama
McDonald’s All-American and Iverson Classic participant with crazy athleticism and upside across the board. “He has a real chance to become an NBA star,” says one lead scout.
46. Portland Trail Blazers (via Pistons): Ron Harper Jr., SF, Rutgers
Rugged swingman who can score from all three levels and doesn’t mind playing bully ball in the mid or low block.
47. Memphis Grizzlies (via Cavaliers): Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State
Underrated combo guard with a tight handle and the playmaking/shooting chops to play next to Ja Morant.
48. Minnesota Timberwolves: Trevor Keels, SG, Duke
Physically imposing wing whose football mentality will be a welcome sight next to rising superstar Anthony Edwards.
49. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Bulls): Dereon Seabron, G, NC State
Seabron is a 6-foot-7 hybrid guard/forward who can be an ancillary creator and serve as a third or fourth scoring option as well. Good cutter and finisher too.
50. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Nuggets): Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite
Classic modern-day forward with an inside-out game that teams covet, Barlow averaged a healthy 15 PPG and shot over 36% from three-point range in the G League.
51. Golden State Warriors (via Raptors): Caleb Houstan, SF, Michigan
It’s unlikely that the Warriors keep all these picks, but I do like Houstan for them. In fact, I like him for a lot of teams. Just 19, his talent is super exciting. At 6-foot-8 and 205 pounds, he can shoot it, drive it, and, in time, will have multi-positional defensive upside as well.
52. New Orleans Pelicans (via Jazz): Josh Minott, PF, Memphis
There’s some Kevin Martin to Minott. He’s a big-time bucket-getter with elite size to boot.
53. Boston Celtics: Jean Montero, PG, Overtime Elite
Undersized scorer with a slick game who loves the pick-and-roll and certainly has a chance down the road. I call him “Cookies,” because of his tremendous on-ball defense and capacity for theft.
54. Washington Wizards (via Mavericks): Julian Champagnie, SF, St. John’s
Versatile 6-foot-7 wing who can drive and score it. Does a little bit of everything and can play pretty quickly thanks to his defensive chops.
55. Golden State Warriors: Trevion Williams, PF, Purdue
The reigning Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year is a classic bruising power forward, but just nimble enough to defend smalls as well. Can score in a multitude of ways on the low block.
56. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Heat): Andrew Nembhard, PG, Gonzaga
Highly undervalued, steady combo guard with enough size — he pushes 6-feet-5-inches and 200 pounds — to match up against the plethora of NBA bucket-getters on the wing.
57. Portland Trail Blazers (via Grizzlies): Orlando Robinson, C, Fresno State
Bouncy seven-footer who can play-make a little bit and block a ton of shots, thanks to his timing and length.
58. Indiana Pacers (via Suns): Christian Koloko, C, Arizona
Highly athletic prospect at 6-feet-10-inches who dunks everything around the basket and gives the Pacers another big body after trading Domantas Sabonis to Sacramento.
Note: Picks 54 and 55 were to be made by Milwaukee and Miami, but their selections were forfeited.