Re-Drafting The 2022 NBA Draft
It’s always fun to go back and analyze the ‘what if’ element when it comes to sports. When it comes to drafting players, some teams look quite smart — while others look utterly foolish. In this case, we’ll tackle the vaunted 2022 NBA Draft, where two big-time prospects (Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren) were taken back-to-back. Would the same thing still happen a year later?
1. Paolo Banchero — Orlando Magic
2022 Stats: 20.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.7 APG, 42.7-percent from the field
Original Draft Slot: No. 1 Overall (1st Round)
Banchero was everything Orlando thought he’d be. Not only did he win the Rookie of the Year Award, but he showed the fortitude in wanting to be ‘the man’ on this team. The Magic would routinely run plays through him during crunch time. Some guys shy away from the big moment, whereas Banchero relishes it.
He does need to improve on his shooting (.298 from three) and turnover rate (2.8 per game) from his rookie campaign. However, being such a young player, we see him having little issue improving in those categories. He really does represent the first franchise player in Orlando to get excited about since the days of Dwight Howard.
2. Chet Holmgren — Oklahoma City Thunder
2022 Stats: N/A
Original Draft Slot: No. 2 Overall (1st Round)
Holmgren was held out the entire last season due to a foot injury. Even so, we are comfortable in assuming the Thunder will take him here. Remember, we’ve seen other guys sit out virtually their entire rookie seasons and still come back to become very good pros.
Holmgren’s skill set is tantalizing — and even more so for the Thunder in terms of roster construction. The potential last piece to their puzzle is a rim-running/rim-protecting big with floor spacing skills. If you were to describe Holmgren’s game in a sentence, this would exemplify his most impressive traits.
3. Walker Kessler — Houston Rockets
2022 Stats: 9.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 72.0-percent from the field, 2.3 BPG
Original Draft Slot: No. 22 Overall (1st Round)
Kessler had the reputation as being a shot blocker coming out of college at Auburn. However, he took his game to a completely different level upon entering the NBA. Utah nabbed him in the Rudy Gobert trade — and it looks right now as if Kessler might already be a better player. One can make the argument he’s already a top-five shot blocker in the league.
He shot over 70-percent from the floor as a rookie (which is utterly ridiculous), and there’s still room for growth on both ends of the floor. In this scenario, Houston would throw him at the center spot and not think twice about doing so.
4. Keegan Murray — Sacramento Kings
2022 Stats: 12.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 45.3-percent from field, 41.1-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: No. 4 Overall (1st Round)
Sacramento went toe-to-toe with the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs last year. A big reason for that was Murray — who performed quite well in some of Sacramento’s most important games. Game 4 of the series saw Murray drop 23 points. He went on a four-game stretch in which he scored in double figures (including a +19 +/- mark in Game 6).
The Kings totally hit the ball out of the park with this pick. Murray is already shooting beyond 40-percent from three. He’s a jumbo forward with the versatility to play both the 3 and the 4 spots. As he gets older, he figures very much to become a bona fide bucket getter — largely based upon his skill level and his basketball I.Q.
5. Jalen Williams — Detroit Pistons
2022 Stats: 14.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 52.1-percent from field, 35.6-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: No. 12 Overall (1st Round)
Williams would be a very nice fit with Detroit in retrospect. While Jaden Ivey was decent for the Pistons, Williams has a far higher ceiling as a player. A legit 6-foot-6 with a massive wingspan, Williams proved to be a very good defender from the jump. He makes the simple play, and rarely attempts anything out of his comfort zone.
It’s also quite rare to see a rookie guard shoot over 50-percent from the field (with a good stroke from three as well). In this scenario, Williams would play off the ball as Cade Cunningham initiates the offense. He’d immediately be a fan favorite in the Motor City.
6. Bennedict Mathurin — Indiana Pacers
2022 Stats: 16.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 43.4-percent from field
Original Draft Slot: No. 6 Overall (1st Round)
Mathurin was one of the more potent bench scorers in the NBA during his rookie campaign. Averaging close to 17 PPG and a blistering .487 effective field-goal percentage, Mathurin got to the rim whenever he wanted. We saw the explosive first-step quickness constantly — and the upside for Mathurin to turn into a healthy Victor Oladipo is clearly there.
While Mathurin must clean up his turnovers and become a more consistent three-point shooter, you’re still looking at a young, explosive playmaker in the backcourt. When given the chance to nab him again in a re-draft, Indiana wouldn’t think twice about gobbling up Mathurin.
7. Jabari Smith Jr. — Portland Trail Blazers
2022 Stats: 12.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 40.8-percent from the field
Original Draft Slot: No. 3 Overall (1st Round)
Portland could stand to add some size to its frontcourt. With Scoot Henderson and Anfernee Simons already in tow, taking Shaedon Sharpe — a player with tons of upside — would be a bit redundant. We saw flashes of what could be a very good player. However, with Smith Jr. on the board, he’s the fit here.
You could plug him into the 4 spot next to DeAndre Ayton — or even use him at the 5 in certain situations. While Smith could improve upon his shooting numbers, you’re still looking at a 20-year-old who averaged double-figure scoring totals with nearly one block per game. In a more stable environment, you may see him become more unlocked from a productivity standpoint.
8. Jaden Ivey — New Orleans Pelicans
2022 Stats: 16.3 PPG, 5.2 APG, 41.6-perent from the field
Original Draft Slot: No. 5 Overall (1st Round)
Ivey slipped a little bit down the first round in this redraft. New Orleans in all actuality is a rather complete team. With Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones on the wings, C.J. McCollum and Trey Murphy in the backcourt, and the Jonas Valanciunas-Zion Williamson pairing up front, there aren’t a whole lot of glaring needs personnel-wise.
If we had to pick, it would involve getting another ball-handling guard in the backcourt. Ivey was solid with the Pistons as a rookie, His game steadily trended upward as the year progressed. It wouldn’t be out of the realm to see a Darius Garland-like rise — assuming Ivey can continue to improve on his jumper.
9. Jalen Duren — San Antonio Spurs
2022 Stats: 9.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 64.8-percent from the field, 0.9 BPG
Original Draft Slot: No. 13 Overall (1st Round)
When Duren got more of a chance to play towards the end of this season, he flashed the ridiculous ability many saw when he was considered to be the top prep prospect coming out of high school. Duren’s springiness on second-jump attempts showcased his shot-blocking process. While not a threat to stretch the floor, Duren was highly efficient around the rim.
Duren isn’t a modern-day big with shooting ability from the perimeter. With that said, he’s a plus-athlete with the ability to be a plus-defender both in terms of protecting the rim and when switching onto smaller athletes. At only 19 years of age, there’s plenty of development left in his game.
10. Andrew Nembhard — Washington Wizards
2022 Stats: 9.5 PPG, 4.5 APG, 44.1-percent from the field, 35.0-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: No. 31 Overall (2nd Round)
Nembhard really came on for the Pacers toward the midway portion of his rookie season. Few expected him to be a starter over the more-hyped Bennedict Mathurin, but Nembhard ended up starting 63 of the 75 games in which he played.
He was a steadying force for the Pacers — often making the right play with his ability to function as a true combo guard. Whether playing on or off the ball, you knew Nembhard would be in a position to make the right play. For a franchise desperate for ‘winning’ basketball players, Washington would’ve gladly taken Nembhard in the re-draft over Johnny Davis (who averaged 5.8 PPG on 24.3-percent from 3).
11. Jeremy Sochan — Oklahoma City Thunder (by way of NYK)
2022 Stats: 11.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 45.3-percent from the field, 0.8 SPG
Original Draft Slot: No. 9 Overall (1st Round)
Sochan is a good player — and is one of the more valuable players in this draft. It just so happened that he was put onto a very bad team in what was an abysmal season. The Spurs let him play extensively, which will only help his development moving forward. Sochan primarily played the four where he shot a respectable 45-percent from the floor. He will without a doubt have to improve on a porous .246 from three.
Teams will learn to sag off of Sochan unless that changes. Still, you do like the fact he’s an aggressive, athletic player with real defensive chops. His defensive versatility, along with an exuberance on the court, gives Sochan a real chance to become a winning basketball player down the line. In short, he’s a perfect fit with Victor Wembanyama.
12. Shaedon Sharpe — Oklahoma City Thunder (by way of LAC)
2022 Stats: 9.9 PPG, 47.2-perent from the floor, 36.0-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: No. 7 Overall (1st Round)
This would be a total OKC selection in retrospect. Sharpe has among the highest upside of anyone in this class. As a rookie, we saw flashes of a guy who could be the next Jason Richardson. We’re talking about a guy who’s arguably the best athlete in the NBA already. He averaged 10 PPG on decent shooting percentages.
Can Sharpe improve his defensive numbers? Absolutely. He also needs to become more of a playmaker when assisting teammates. Still, one has to wonder how good Sharpe may be when out from behind Anfernee Simons’ shadow.
13. Mark Williams — Detroit Pistons (by way of CHA via NYK)
2022 Stats: 9.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 63.7-percent from the field, 1.0 BPG
Original Draft Slot: No. 15 Overall (1st Round)
The Pistons originally took Jalen Duren here. Dipping back into the center pool, Mark Williams is a solid consolation prize. Standing a legit 7-foot-1, he immediately became a deterrent when protecting the rim. In only 19.3 MPG, he averaged 1.0 BPG and 7.1 RPG. Those numbers are utterly outstanding — especially when on a per 36-minute basis.
A bit of a throwback, Williams really is a physically imposing guy. He should be a starter in this league for a long time — if nothing else as an athletic, long rim-protecting/rim-running big.
14. Tari Eason — Cleveland Cavaliers
2022 Stats: 9.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 44.8-percent from the field
Original Draft Slot: No. 17 Overall (1st Round)
Eason was playing heavy minutes for the Rockets down the stretch. His play throughout the year was recognized by the league, as he was named an All-NBA Rookie selection. For one thing, Eason plays hard. He crashes the glass with ferocity and is always on the floor scrapping for loose balls.
When you need the little things done, Eason is normally the guy to do it. For the Cavs, he’d be a very nice rotation piece capable of playing quality minutes at both the 3/4 spots.
15. A.J. Griffin — Charlotte Hornets (by way of NO)
2022 Stats: 8.9 PPG, 46.5-percent from the field, 39.0-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: No. 16 Overall (1st Round)
AJ Griffin will make a lot of money one day simply for his ability to shoot the basketball. One of the better 3-and-D players from this class, he’s a legit 6’6″ with long arms and exceptional shooting percentages. We may even be rating him a tad low here — because Griffin’s proclivity for hitting shots is quite good. He’s not much of a rebounder at this stage — nor is he a facilitator for others.
However, Griffin’s ultimate role could be spotting up in the corner knocking down threes. As we’ve seen in this league, there’s plenty of value there for those types of players.
16. Christian Braun — Atlanta Hawks
2022 Stats: 4.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 49.5-percent from the field, 35.4-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: No. 21 Overall (1st Round)
Atlanta loves loading up on springy wings. Braun would fit the build here as a plus-athlete offering competitiveness. It says something when Denver — the No. 1 seed in the West — has Braun as a fixture within its three-man postseason rotation. You can expect him to become an even better three-point shooter as the years go by.
17. Ousmane Dieng — Houston Rockets (via BKN)
2022 Stats: 4.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 42-percent from the field, 26.5-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: No. 11 Overall (1st Round)
Houston is rolling the dice with this one. The Thunder are usually pretty good at unearthing good players via the draft. When Dieng was taken in the lottery, it raised more than a few eyebrows. The French forward is bursting with natural talent — though he’s still raw collectively as a basketball player. If Houston can tap into the upside here and hope Dieng pans out, you’re looking at a very gifted basketball player.
18. Jaden Hardy — Chicago Bulls
2022 Stats: 8.8 PPG, 43.8-percent from the field, 40.4-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: 37th Overall (2nd Round)
Hardy was a walking bucket dating back to his prep days in Nevada. As one of high school basketball’s most prolific scorers, he opted to skip college in favor of the G-League. He slipped into the second round — largely due to size and immaturity issues (allegedly).
As the season progressed, Dallas played him more. We saw glimpses as to why Hardy can be a very good scorer off the bench for someone. For one, he showcased his three-point shot better than anyone really expected from a percentage standpoint. Hardy has some real juice off the bounce, and at this point can be viewed as a very talented reserve.
19. Malaki Branham — Memphis Grizzlies
2022 Stats: 10.2 PPG, 44.0-percent from the field, 30.2-percent from 33
Original Draft Slot: 20th Overall (1st Round)
The 20-year-old out of Ohio State would be a good fit for the Grizzlies. Memphis really lacked depth off its bench in general — especially at the guard spot. While Branham isn’t the shooter Luke Kennard is, he’s a far better athlete. San Antonio also wasn’t shy in letting Branham defend the opposing team’s best player. From a trajectory standpoint, Branham looks like a very solid pro for the foreseeable future.
20. Ochai Agbaji — San Antonio Spurs (by way of TOR)
2022 Stats: 7.9 PPG, 42.7-percent from the field, 35.5-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: 14th Overall (1st Round)
The Spurs have been very guard-happy with their picks in recent years. This isn’t changing here — as SA will opt to take Ochai Agbaji out of Kansas. You did see some glimpses of a guy who could be productive as a role player. He shot over 80-percent from the line and a decent 36-percent from 3. When combining that with above-average athletic ability, you’re looking at a solid NBA rotation player.
21. Dalen Terry — Denver Nuggets
2022 Stats: 2.2 PPG, 44.4-percent from the field, 25.9-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: No. 18 Overall (1st Round)
Terry was a disappointment this year for the Bulls…there’s no other way to put it. He only played in 38 games last year — not starting any of them. The hitch in his perimeter shot was a major problem, and Terry was also prone to some mental errors (which clearly limited his time on the floor).
With that said Denver can afford to roll the dice here. Terry is a plus-athlete with terrific length and very strong defensive skills. He’s also a point forward of sorts dating back to his days in Arizona. If he were to improve his perimeter shot — and perhaps overhaul his motion completely — you’re looking at a valuable rotation piece.
22. Dyson Daniels — Utah Jazz (via Minnesota)
2022 Stats: 3.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 41.8-percent from the field
Original Draft Slot: 8th Overall (1st Pick)
The Australian was another high-upside pick. New Orleans took him No. 8 Overall hoping Dyson would have a Josh Giddey-like impact on the team. Defensively, he passed virtually every test thrown his way. The Pelicans would often insert Dyson into the game to defend elite perimeter talent. More often than not, he’d more than hold his own.
However, the offensive end of the floor was an adventure (to put it mildly). Dyson will need to get stronger when finishing at the rim, and the perimeter shot must get better. There’s still plenty to like about Dyson’s game — especially when he’s only 20 years of age.
23. Peyton Watson — Memphis Grizzlies
2022 Stats: 3.3 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 49.2-percent from the field
Original Draft Slot: No 30 Overall (1st Round)
The former UCLA Bruin didn’t play a ton for Denver last year. As was the case during his time in Westwood, Watson is still a very raw prospect. His dribbling needs work, as does his perimeter shot. Still — Watson goes seven spots higher in this draft based on flashes. The combination of Watson’s frame and athleticism is tantalizing. He could end up a total monster on the defensive end of the floor.
As he gets older and physically more mature, the same can exist in transition. He’s only 21 years old, which makes Watson very alluring as a prospect moving forward.
24. David Roddy– Milwaukee Bucks (by way of HOU via CLE)
2022 Stats: 6.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 42.9-percent from the field
Original Draft Slot: No. 23 Overall (1st Round)
As we saw in the playoffs last season, Milwaukee needed to get younger off its bench. Little came in the way of production — especially up front. Roddy is a bit atypical based on his defensive-end build. Still, he proved with Memphis to be a bit of a playmaker. If anything, Roddy brings some real energy off the bench.
He can score inside on the block, and can also stretch the floor beyond the three-point line. As his shot continues to improve, Roddy can be counted upon to be a rotation guy during the postseason.
25. Johnny Davis — San Antonio Spurs (via BOS)
2022 Stats: 5.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 38.6-percent from the field, 24.3-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: No. 10 Overall (1st Round)
We’ll give Davis a bit of a break here. He went to a dumpster fire of a franchise in Washington. Being a top-10 pick, he was quite good in college at Wisconsin. With the Wizards, he only featured in 28 games a season ago. Davis couldn’t get his shot going, and thus it adversely impacted the rest of his game. The Spurs surely will take a chance on a potential top-10 talent this late in the draft.
26. Jaylin Williams — Minnesota Timberwolves (via HOU)
2022 Stats: 5.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 40.7-percent from 3, 43.6-percent from the field
Original Draft Slot: No. 34 Overall (2nd Round)
No one really expects much from a second-round pick — particularly if they’re a rookie. Well, Williams surprised everyone by becoming a starter at center for what turned out to be a playoff team.
While not much of a shot blocker or finisher around the rim, Williams did connect on more than 40-percent of his three-point attempts. Finding this sort of player at 6-foot-10 is pretty rare. Nabbing him at the end of the first round for the T-Wolves would be a wise move.
27. Nikola Jovic — Miami Heat
2022 Stats: 5.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 40.6-percent from the field
Original Draft Slot: No. 27 Overall (1st Round)
We’ll trust the Heat on this one. Jovic is a skilled player with some nice upside. Miami is really good at recognizing these unheralded guys and turning them into studs (see Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin). Jovic didn’t get a ton of playing time last year — though we expect him to break through within the next couple of seasons. Remember…trust Miami’s track record.
28. Kenneth Lofton — Golden State Warriors
2022 Stats: 5.0 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 52.7-percent from the field, 35.3-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: Undrafted
Lofton is a load at 6-foot-7 and generously listed at 275 pounds. In college, he was a fantastic player — carving out space with his frame and finishing at the rim with both hands. Possessing a soft touch, it extended beyond the three-point range.
If you watched Golden State versus the Lakers in last year’s playoff series, the Warriors had virtually no scoring threat up front. Lofton would’ve been a nice player to bring off the bench for paint touches. If anything, he’ll provide energy and considerable energy on the glass.
29. Blake Wesley — Houston Rockets (by way of MEM via MIN)
2022 Stats: 5.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 38.5-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: 25th Overall (1st Round)
The 20-year-old out of Notre Dame did shoot nearly 39-percent from 3 on the year as a rookie. That facet is quite encouraging. However, Wesley also shot 32.1-percent from the field. Not so encouraging.
At this point in the draft, Houston will take a young player with possible upside. The three-point stats help Wesley, and the fact he’s considered to be an above-average defensive player on the wing should also solidify his spot in the first round. If the athletic Wesley can stay healthy, Houston may be getting a steal here.
30. Max Christie — Denver Nuggets (by way of OKC via PHX)
2022 Stats: 3.1 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 41.5-percent from the field, 41.9-percent from 3
Original Draft Slot: No. 35 Overall (2nd Round)
Christie’s numbers won’t wow anyone. But when asking the Lakers’ staff about the former Michigan State player, they light up. The tools are there for him to become a very good 3-and-D player. A plus athlete, he showed flashes of also being very good in transition on occasion. He moves his feet quite well, and Christie’s perimeter shot improved as the season went on. For the purposes of this exercise, he’d give the Nuggets another intriguing bench piece.