The Kings Beat NBA Mock Draft 2.0
Breaking down all 30 potential picks for the 2022 NBA Draft
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It’s mock draft time!
We began this draft season by using a consensus draft board from Brett Huff, who has been refining his process for the last five or so years, to fill out Mock Draft 1.0. Huff’s updated version of the consensus board is below as a point of reference, but we’ve moved the pieces on the board to represent our final prediction here at The Kings Beat leading into Thursday’s festivities.
The rumor mill is churning and we’ve already had a few trades materialize in the last few days. There is potential for plenty more movement this year, so prepare yourself for a wild next 24 hours.
Note: due to the length of Mock Draft 2.0, you may need to view the post on the TheKingsBeat.com, instead of newsletter format. Also, please excuse any typos in this nearly 5,000 word post.
1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith Jr., PF, Auburn
Measurables: 6-foot-10, 210 pounds Draft Age: 19
Orlando has stocked up on young talent over the last few seasons, but they still can’t seem to put it all together. They have a ton of guards and they seem to be in love with Franz Wagner at the three and Wendell Carter Jr. at the five. Injuries have slowed the progress of Jonathan Issac, which means the Magic have a hole at the four. There just happens to be a couple of good ones here on the board at No. 1.
The Magic were the big winners in the lottery. The word coming out of the combine was that Smith Jr. secured this spot in the draft. There has been zero intel that counters this notion over the last few weeks. The Magic could still stun the world and go in a different direction, but Smith Jr. is one of the safer bets in what could be an otherwise very unstable draft.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren, PF/C, Gonzanga
Measurables: 7-foot, 195 pounds Draft Age: 20
Who is a keeper and is not in OKC? The Thunder have a lead scorer in Shai Gilgious-Alexander, a slick wing in Josh Giddey and a defensive stopper in Lou Dort. They also have three first round picks in this year’s draft and nine more in the next two drafts. The lottery gods delivered a top 3 pick in this year’s draft, which opens up a ton of possibilities.
Holmgren is too intriguing to pass on. The Thunder have a young roster and can wait for him to pack on some pounds and develop into what could be a two-way star. There’s a possibility OKC goes with a player like Paolo Banchero due to the offensive upside, but Holmgren’s skill set and ability to play multiple positions fits well with the long term build the Thunder are working on.
3. Houston Rockets: Paolo Banchero, PF, Duke
Measurables: 6-foot-10, 250 pounds Draft Age: 19
Houston has a pair of young studs to build around in Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun. Outside of these two, they have a lot of long term holes to fill. When you’re selecting this high, you go for the best player available, regardless of position. This is a big-heavy top end of the draft, which should suit the Rockets just fine. They’ll likely just wait to see who of the big three falls to this spot and then make an easy selection.
Banchero isn’t a finished product, but he is the player that likely walks into the league and makes an impact early. There is potential for the Duke star to develop into a No. 1 scoring option and his passing ability should translate well. Houston may have found Jalen Green’s long term scoring partner.
4. Sacramento Kings: Keegan Murray, PF, Iowa
Measurables: 6-foot-8, 225 pounds Draft Age: 21
Winners. Defenders. Length. 3-point shooting. General manager Monte McNair took a swing at the deadline when he landed Domantas Sabonis via trade. He’ll pair the two-time All-Star with De’Aaron Fox moving forward, which means the Kings need long, versatile shooters at the two, three and four. At No. 4, the focus is on finding the highest ceiling player possible. Fit shouldn't matter, but it might in this case.
The Kings will shop this pick all the way until the second the selection has to be in. The issue is that they need the Pistons to play ball in order to maximize their value for the pick. If Detroit doesn’t break and give up assets to move from five to four, the Kings run the risk of losing out on a player they value in Murray. Don’t count out the Pacers jumping up to this spot or some random deal with an unknown team that comes out of nowhere.
This is high stakes poker. Kings GM Monte McNair is playing it close to the vest, but there is enough smoke to predict that Jaden Ivey might not be the choice here, unless some other team is making the selection.
5. Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey, SG, Purdue
Measurables: 6-foot-4, 200 pounds Draft Age: 20
The Pistons landed a star in the making in Cade Cunningham and a few nice young pieces. They also have a ton of needs. At the top of that list is a star scorer to pair long term with Cunningham, regardless of position.
This is a perfect scenario for Detroit. This is the player they want and they are one of the teams on Ivey’s “preferred” list. They will monitor the Kings and the potential for someone moving up and stealing away Ivey. There is always a chance they offer the Kings something to secure Ivey, but holding the line might be the most prudent move.
6. Indiana Pacers: Dyson Daniels, SG, G League Ignite
Measurables: 6-foot-7.5, 195 pounds Draft Age: 19
Indiana is a team in flux. They made a big move at the trade deadline to add Tyrese Haliburton in a swap for Domantas Sabonis, which might trigger more moves in the coming months. The No. 6 spot is still a point in the draft where you value the highest ceiling over anything else and Haliburton and even Myles Turner are easy players to build around.
Daniels' measurements at the combine and improvements as a shooter has him on the rise. This might be a little high for the Australian-born guard/forward, but his versatility, high basketball IQ and ability to make teammates better separates him from some of the others in this range. This is an open draft after the top 5. Bennedict Mathurin makes sense here as well, and there is potential for someone to take a gamble on Shaedon Sharpe.
7. Portland Trail Blazers: Shaedon Sharpe, SG, Kentucky
Measurables: 6-foot-5.25, 198 pounds Draft Age: 19
Are the Blazers in rebuild or reset mode? After trading away CJ McCollum and shutting down Damian Lillard, the focus shifted to Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little. Little injured his shoulder in January and missed major time, but he is still part of the core moving forward. Will Portland shop this pick to add immediate help for Lillard? They already added Jeremi Grant in a last minute move and rumors of them shopping the No. 7 is heating up.
Sharpe is the mystery man of this year’s draft. Depending on who you talk to, he’s a top two talent and the player with the highest bust potential of the entire class. Portland could still move off of this pick to get Lillard more help, but the addition of ESPN’s Mike Schmitz to the front office could lead to a huge draft day gamble.
8. New Orleans Pelicans (via Lakers): AJ Griffin, SF, Duke
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 220 pounds Draft Age: 18
Adding CJ McCollum at the deadline was a stroke of genius. He’s the right veteran for a squad that desperately needed more shooters and more leadership. Brandon Ingram is a star at the three and Jonas Valanciunas is an anchor in the post. Add to this core a stellar rookie in Herb Jones and a complete unknown in Zion Williamson and this team has a core on the rise. The Pelicans still need more pieces, but they have taken a leap ahead with their play-in victories and first round playoff appearance.
This could be a coin flip situation between Griffin and Mathurin. Griffin is the better pure shooter and Mathurin is the better pure scorer. New Orleans needs a long term partner for McCollum and they need all the floor spacing they can find, which gives Griffin the edge.
9. San Antonio Spurs: Bennedict Mathurin, SG/SF, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 205 pounds Draft Age: 20
San Antonio won’t commit to a full rebuild, so they will perpetually be stuck in the middle, at least for the next few seasons. DeJounte Murray took a tremendous step forward this year, not only becoming an All-Star, but also a nightly triple-double threat. Keldon Johnson is a player on the rise and the team’s patient approach to Devin Vassel should pay dividends down the road. Overall, the Spurs just need more talent, regardless of position.
Mathurin is one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft. He’s a three level scorer with a winning mentality and flair for the dramatic. The Spurs drafted Josh Primo last year, which could cause them to look for a swiss army knife like Jeremy Sochan or a big like Jalen Duren, but Mathurin’s potential is tough to pass on.
10. Washington Wizards: Johnny Davis, SG, Wisconsin
Measurables: 6-foot-5.75, 196 pounds Draft Age: 20
Washington is one of those teams that seems to value raw stats over fit. They usually have plenty of talent and rarely live up to expectations. They added Kristaps Porzingis at the deadline to bolster the frontline. Kyle Kuzma looks like a keeper and the young forward tandem of Deni Avdija and Rui Hachimura still has upside. Bradley Beal’s decision to opt out of his contract has to have the Wizards on edge. Is this a franchise on the brink or a team in search of one more piece to tie it all together?
Davis might be one of the more polished prospects coming into this year’s draft. He can do just about everything, although his shooting stroke let him down when he was asked to shoulder too much of the load at Wisconsin. Davis is a winner and can play on day 1. Washington is in a strange spot. Beal is testing free agency waters and if he bolts, this is a tear down. Davis can’t replace Beal, but someone has to eat minutes at the two.
11. New York Knicks: Jeremy Sochan, SF/PF, Baylor
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 230 pounds Draft Age: 19
After a really solid 2020-21 campaign, the Knicks fell back to Earth this season, missing the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years. Like the Wizards, they have talent, but the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Julius Randle is either a franchise player or a man on his way out, depending on the month. RJ Barrett is a keeper, but the rest of this roster should have a price sticker on it.
The Knicks stuck with head coach Tom Thibodeau and now they need to get him the type of defender that he covets. Sochan is versatile and has all kinds of upside. His offensive game will take time to develop, but this is the type of player whose impact goes well beyond the boxscore.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Clippers): Jalen Duren, C Memphis
Measurables: 6-foot-11, 250 pounds Draft Age: 18
The Thunder are almost always in this same position. They have a top tier pick that they can swing for the fence with and then another selection around the middle of the draft that they can play a little safer. OKC has some pieces, but what they need is talent at almost every position. Eventually they will try to go for wins, but for now, this is a franchise that is mining for talent and has plenty of draft capital to work with.
Is it possible that we live in a world where the Thunder land Holmgren and Duren in the same draft? That would be an impressive overhaul of OKC’s frontline. Two or three years from now, this duo could be dominant.
13. Charlotte Hornets: Ousmane Dieng, SF, New Zealand
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 185 pounds Draft Age: 18
Charlotte is one of the teams on the cusp of being really good. They are young, exciting and have talent with more room to grow. They are going to have to fork out a ton of cash to keep Miles Bridges and then LaMelo Ball two years later, but this is a group on the rise and they have solid players at almost every position. Taking a swing with a veteran college player who can help right away is one approach that might work here. There is also potential for this pick to be moved for a veteran player or two that can help them take the next step.
This is a mystery man in the middle of the draft. Dieng has the physical tools and all kinds of potential, but he’s a project on almost every front. Charlotte has a pair of picks here in the middle of the first round. They have depth and can take a flier on a kid with all kinds of potential.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers: Tari Eason, PF, LSU
Measurables: 6-foot-8, 217 pounds Draft Age: 19
The biggest need for Cleveland is a fast forward button. They have incredible young talent at almost every position and they are already taking major steps forward, including Darius Garland, Isaac Okuro and Evan Mobley. They need depth in the backcourt, more shooting on the perimeter and a veteran or two to help accelerate the growth of their youth.
Eason is fun. He flies all over the court, can play two or three positions and he doesn’t mind doing the dirty work. Cleveland has an exciting young core, but they could use an energizer like Eason to tie it all together.
15. Charlotte Hornets (via Pelicans): Mark Williams, C, Duke
Measurables: 7-foot-2, 242 pounds Draft Age: 20
The Hornets had a difficult time getting young players like James Bouknight and Kai Jones minutes on the court last season. The fact that they have picks No. 13 and No. 15 this season gives them a lot of flexibility to make a move. If they stay here, there are plenty of options, but they might be better suited either packaging the picks to move up or even move out of the draft.
Williams is your standard rim runner at the NBA level, which always has value. Charlotte has been searching for a long term answer at the five for a while. They may use one of these picks to secure that player, but Williams’ ability to defend, block shots and provide muscle should keep him in the league for a long time.
16. Atlanta Hawks: Jalen Williams, SF, Santa Clara
Measurables: 6-foot-5.75, 209 pounds Draft Age: 21
The Hawks made it to the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago and then came crashing back down this season. Trae Young is still the centerpiece to their system, but the rest of the parts could be shuffled dramatically over the offseason. They have major injury issues and some huge decisions about how to move forward. They have talent at every position, but when it doesn’t work, like it didn’t this season, it’s time for change.
Williams has turned heads throughout the draft process. From his monster wingspan to his ability to shoot the rock, he’s shown that he belongs. Atlanta is a team in flux, but they need more players with defensive upside. In the right situation, Williams could be a complete steal.
17. Houston Rockets (via Nets): Malaki Branham, SG, Ohio State
Measurables: 6-foot-5.5, 195 pounds Draft Age: 19
Houston has very few commitments moving forward. Green is a keeper and Sengun has potential. The rest of this roster is wide open. The Rockets are slated to select at the top of the draft with their first first-rounder. This is another strong selection that could add a rotational piece for the future.
After a slow start to his freshman season, Branham really got it going down the stretch. He’s very young and needs a ton of work on the defensive end, but at this point in the draft, you are trying to balance upside and fit. This is a recurring theme with the Rockets. They like to take risks and sometimes it works out.
18. Chicago Bulls: Ochai Agbaji, SG/SF, Kansas
Measurables: 6-foot-5.5, 217 pounds Draft Age: 22
So close, yet so far away. The Bulls are a team on the brink of contention, but some of it feels like a house of cards. They made savvy moves to bring in DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. They had a setback with Patrick Williams due to injuries this season, but it opened the door for Ayo Dosunmu to develop. Zach LaVine is a free agent, which could set this team back if he leaves, but this is a deep and talented roster on the rise.
You know exactly who Agbaji is coming into the NBA and that is a good thing. This is a prototypical 3-and-D two/three at the NBA level who brings a maturity and professionalism to the table. The Bulls have a lot of question marks heading into free agency and Agbaji would be a nice insurance policy in case things go sideways.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves: TyTy Washington Jr., PG, Kentucky
Measurables: 6-foot-3.75, 196 pounds Draft Age: 20
The T-Wolves are all grown up. After struggling with the expectations that come with top tier talent, Minnesota took a huge leap forward this season. Chris Finch is building something and he has plenty of elite young players with upside to continue to grow this team. The Timberwolves have a few free agents coming into the offseason and will likely look for upgrades. They could use another long wing defender, a shot blocker to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns and more 3-point shooting, since they love to hoist it from deep.
Why Washington Jr.?
Washington Jr. is likely the first true point guard taken off the board on draft night, which is crazy this late in the draft. Once considered a top tier talent, Washington struggled with an ankle injury and didn’t post the type of year he had hoped. The Timberwolves are a team on the rise, but they can use depth all over the court.
20. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Blake Wesley, SG, Notre Dame
Measurables: 6-foot-4.25, 187 pounds Draft Age: 19
This is the second of three first round selections for the Spurs, but there is a chance they use all of them, instead of trading out or consolidating. The roster is wide open and in need of just about everything. San Antonio has spent plenty of development time on players who haven’t taken the big leap. They might need to start over with a fresh young crop, regardless of position.
Wesley is an interesting prospect. He has length, athleticism and he plays with incredible energy. He’s raw and will need to hone most of his skills to find real success at the NBA level, but there might be something here. The Spurs have multiple picks, so they can take a few risks. This is a player with upside, but he needs time.
21. Denver Nuggets: E.J. Liddell, PF, Ohio State
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 243 pounds Draft Age: 21
The Nuggets' biggest need is some better luck with injuries. Nikola Jokic is one of the NBA’s best, but he can’t do it all on his own. Denver desperately missed Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. and they could use more depth overall in case the injury bug continues to be an issue. They have solid veterans throughout the rotation and Bones Hyland was a true find. At this point, they can choose the best player available and not truly concern themselves with positional fit.
Liddell plays much bigger than his 6-foot-7 frame and his ability to fill the stat sheet is impressive. Will his 3-point shooting carry over? Will he be able to block shots at the same clip? Is he really an undersized five? Denver needs depth at the four and this is a fun player who brings some physicality to the table.
22. Memphis Grizzlies (via Jazz): Nikola Jovic, SF, Mega Bemax (Serbia)
Measurables: 6-foot-11, 223 pounds Draft Age: 19
More of the same. Memphis is building something and it looks very sustainable. The team is built around a young superstar in Ja Morant, but Jaren Jackson Jr. is becoming that second guy and the team has another 5-6 guys that are that third guy. This is a machine that has a chance to become a contender in the next year or two, without even adding through the draft.
Rarely do you see a player with this type of skill set and size fall this far in the draft. Jovic can shoot, pass and handle the ball. He’s a high basketball IQ player who should be able to stick at the small forward position at 6-foot-11. Memphis is really good at bringing in talent and figuring out how to fit them into a role. This isn’t really a gamble at this point in the draft, but it is a pick that could pay huge dividends down the road.
23. Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers): Kennedy Chandler, PG, Tennessee
Measurables: 6-foot-.5, 172 pounds Draft Age: 19
This is a mess. Brooklyn flamed out in the playoffs in ugly fashion and Kyrie Irving’s status with the team moving forward is almost a complete unknown. And then there is the Ben Simmons situation. This team is in cap hell and they have holes to fill all over the roster.
Chandler isn’t a big guy, but he posted a 41.5-inch vert at the combine and his 6-foot-5 inch wingspan may have earned him a bump up draft boards for a sub-6-footer. Chandler can shoot the rock and he’s a solid distributor. The Nets are in an interesting spot. At least one of their stars is already gone and Irving could be on his way out as well. This is a team in flux that needs to find cheap talent.
24. Milwaukee Bucks: Dalen Terry, SG, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 195 pounds Draft Age: 19
If it wasn’t for some bad injury luck with Khris Middleton, the Bucks could have made a much deeper run in the 2022 NBA playoffs. They have All-Star level players all over the court and one of the greatest players in the world to build everything around in Giannis Antetokounmpo. They need more shooters and maybe another scorer off the bench, but this team is a title contender next season and this pick might not matter all that much.
For whatever reason, Terry never found his offensive game at Arizona. He started all 37 games this season and posted just 8 points in nearly 28 minutes per game, although he did earn Pac 12 All-Defense honors. The 19-year-old took advantage of the pre-draft process and likely earned his way into the first round and guaranteed money. The Bucks value roster spots, but they could also use a young player to hide on the bench and groom for the next year or two.
25. San Antonio Spurs (via Boston Celtics): Bryce McGowens, SG, Nebraska
Measurables: 6-foot-6.5, 181 pounds Draft Age: 19
This is the third first round pick for the San Antonio Spurs and with their current roster, all of them matter. Outside of Murray, the Spurs need help everywhere. Can Popovich and Co. build out a roster for one more run?
McGowens is one of those players who looks like he should be much better than he is. He has good size. He has good form. He has solid athleticism. It didn’t work at the NCAA level, so obviously, it’s time to go pro. San Antonio knows how to take moldable clay and turn it into something special. They have three first round picks, but they also have a lot of holes to fill in their roster.
26. Houston Rockets (via Dallas Mavericks): Jake LaRavia, SF, Wake Forest
Measurables: 6-foot-8, 227 pounds Draft Age: 20
The Rockets dealt away Christian Wood to land this pick from the Dallas Mavericks. It seems like they could have received more in return, but for a team in rebuild mode, a first round pick is a first round pick.
LaRavia does all the little things. After a strong combine, he’s moved into the first round and he has major potential as a shooter and jack-of-all-trades player. Houston is in talent collection mode. They have plenty of picks and even more openings in their rotation to fill.
27. Miami Heat: Jaden Hardy, SG, G League Ignite
Measurables: 6-foot-4, 190 pounds Draft Age: 19
Miami is in a battle to make it back to the finals, which means that they have a deep and talented roster. They still have plenty of holes they could fill long term, but this late in the draft, a team like the Heat are focused on either finding talent to stash at the G League or searching for veteran college players with one or two NBA skills.
There is a possibility that Hardy climbs higher than this on draft night. He's a high end prospect that just didn't quite find his shooting stroke in a short season with the Ignite. There is still a lot to work with here and a team like the Heat, that has a long history of developing players, could reap the benefits of a draft night tumble.
28. Golden State Warriors: MarJon Beauchamp, SG, G League Ignite
Measurables: 6-foot-6.5, 197 pounds Draft Age: 20
Golden State is doing a bang-up job of competing for titles with veteran players while peppering in young talent. They typically keep their picks, regardless of how deep it is in the first round. They also mine for talent as well as any team in the league. They need more shooting and some size in the middle, but this far down the board, you’re just hoping for a player that sticks in the league.
The Warriors have a knack for finding guys in the late first and early second rounds. They also had some success pulling a player from the G League Ignite program last season when they selected Jonathan Kuminga. Beauchamp isn’t Kuminga, but he is a high level prospect that needs time to develop. The Warriors have that time and a strong staff that has proven they can pull the best out of young players.
29. Memphis Grizzlies: Walker Kessler, C, Auburn
Measurables: 7-foot-1, 256 pounds Draft Age: 20
This is the second pick in the first round for Memphis and with a jam packed roster and plenty of other young players already in the fold, they may not keep this selection. If they do, they can use more depth overall, including another shooter or two.
Kessler’s super power is blocking shots and no one at the college level did it better. The Grizzlies are building a hard-nosed group that can compete with anyone. They already have Steven Adams and Jaren Jackson Jr., but adding another elite rim protector is never a bad idea, especially this late in the draft.
30. Denver Nuggets (via OKC): Kendall Brown, SF, Baylor
Measurables: 6-foot-7.5, 201 pounds Draft Age: 19
Denver jumped back into the first round in a trade with the Thunder. They are clearly looking for pieces that can fit in right away and help while not breaking the bank. After surviving a year with major injuries to their core, this is an opportunity to add to the depth of the squad.
Long, athletic and defensive-minded, Brown has fallen in the draft due to a lack of offensive arsenal and just an overall concern about his ceiling. He has strong physical attributes, but there seems to be something missing. There’s a chance he falls out of the first round completely.
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