The 2021 NBA Draft has recently wrapped up and attention shifts to the prospects that are likely to enter the 2022 NBA Draft. The projections for players are based on current talent and with many players on this list being freshmen it is likely to change throughout the year. The draft positions for teams are largely based on the 2020-21 standings and will also shift as NBA teams play games and the season progresses. This 2022 NBA Mock Draft will focus on likely draft entries.
2022 NBA Mock Draft
1. Houston Rockets
Chet Holmgren: Gonzaga Bulldogs
Chet Holmgren is an incredibly skilled recruit heading to the Gonzaga Bulldogs for his single season in college. There has been concern about his frame, but his skill is unmatched in this draft class. His shot is nearly ungradable and he posses the ability to shoot from anywhere on the court. It will take a lot to dethrone the big man from the top spot in the 2022 NBA Mock Draft.
2. Detriot Pistons
Paolo Banchero: Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils are always producing NBA-ready talent that goes in the lottery. Banchero is set to join the brotherhood and become yet another Duke “one and done” talent. There aren’t many things that he needs to work on while at Duke. This year is more of a placeholder until he can hit the NBA courts. He will have the chance to prove he’s ready for the next level and potentially compete for an NCAA Championship in Coach K’s final season.
3. Orlando Magic
Caleb Houstan: Michigan Wolverines
Caleb Houstan is coming into a great situation with Head Coach Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines. He is already a top prospect heading to a program that is known for producing NBA talent. Houstan should be a primary option this year and showcase why he can be a top-five pick in next year’s draft.
Jaden Hardy just announced he’s going to the G LEAGUE IGNITE ? @JadenHardy1 pic.twitter.com/hLt51hetmJ
— Overtime (@overtime) May 16, 2021
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
Jaden Hardy: G League Ignite
Jaden Hardy is the top G League Ignite prospect of this year’s draft class and might be the biggest contender to challenge Chet Holmgren for the number one spot in this 2022 NBA mock draft. With the COVID-19 Pandemic hopefully moving to the rearview the exposure for G League athletes can grow this year. Jalen Green went top three this year and Jaden Hardy will look to follow suit.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jalen Duren: TBA
Jalen Duren has debated reclassifying to the 2021 class and if he does that will make him eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft. He’s a talented prospect and will likely play in a pro league if he does decide to reclassify to 2021. Duren will immediately be a lock for the top ten in this draft class unless something happens to prove he doesn’t belong here.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves
Jabari Smith: Auburn Tigers
Jabari Smith might be the best prospect that Bruce Pearl has ever coached. The 6’10” power forward will likely be the focal point of the Aubrun program this year. He will be able to showcase his defensive ability while he works on fine-tuning his offense for the NBA. Pearl is a master at getting his players NBA ready so Smith should stay in the Top Ten.
7. San Antonio Spurs
Yannick Nzosa: Unicaja Malaga
Judging where International prospects fit into the draft isn’t always easy. NBA teams judge and scout guys that play overseas differently. Yannick Nzosa could very well be the top international prospect of this year’s draft class. He has some things he needs to polish, but he could very well be NBA-ready this time next year. Time will tell if he stays in the NBA lottery. Nzosa will remain the top international prospect so far in the 2022 NBA mock draft.
8. Sacramento Kings
Peyton Watson: UCLA Bruins
Peyton Watson is joining a loaded UCLA program and that may impact his numbers this year in college. This could hurt his draft stock, but the important factor will be how he performs when he does get touches. The talent is there, but upperclassmen could outshine the five-star recruit.
6’6 with BOUNCE ? AJ Griffin about to show off his skillset at Duke this season pic.twitter.com/PshPTo6Kn6
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) July 28, 2021
9. Chicago Bulls
A.J. Griffin: Duke Blue Devils
Duke is back to having multiple lottery picks in the 2022 NBA Draft with A.J. Griffin looking like a top ten pick. Griffin has incredible athletic ability and he could become one of the most talked-about prospects in this year’s class. Duke has a crowded roster, but Griffin should still be more than capable of showcasing his talent on the team.
10. Washington Wizards
J.D. Davison: Alabama Crimson Tide
J.D. Davison is joining a growing list of Alabama players that Nate Oats has sent to the NBA. The Crimson Tide lost some talent this offseason, but that just gives Davison a chance to be the focal point of the team moving forward. While his size and frame could worry some teams the proof is in his skill on the court. The SEC plays some tough basketball and Davison will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Ousmane Dieng: New Zealand Breakers
The NBL in Australia is starting to get more attention and Ousmane Dieng could be a lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Dieng is a French prospect and looks like a promising point-forward prospect heading into the NBA. Several teams in the lottery will be looking for prospects with professional experience. Dieng may just be the ideal fit for a team in the late lottery looking to make a push to the playoffs in 2023.
12. Memphis Grizzlies
Patrick Baldwin Jr: Milwaukee Panthers
Patrick Baldwin made a bold decision when he picked his father and the Milwaukee Panthers. His successes could largely be viewed as a given due to being in a weaker conference. The shortcomings he faces this year will be put under a microscope. Make no mistake Patrick Baldwin Jr. is talented and should be in the lottery. His stock could go up or down based on how he plays this upcoming season.
13. Toronto Raptors
Jaden Ivey: Purdue Boilermakers
Jaden Ivey is the first non-freshman player that isn’t an international prospect. His first year with Purdue showed promise and his second year is expected to include a massive increase in production. His second year will largely determine if he’s ready for the NBA or not. Ivey is at best a borderline lottery talent at the moment but a great or bad year could change things for him.
14. New Orleans Pelicans
Kennedy Chandler: Tennesse Volunteers
Kennedy Chandler joins a growing Tennesse pedigree with Rick Barnes putting several players on NBA rosters. Chandler needs to prove he can run an offense on the NBA level and that could keep him out of the lottery. Barring a poor showing in his freshman year he should still be a lock for the first round. Chandler is also an undersized guard, but his skill set should help teams overlook that issue. He may need to bulk up some throughout the year.
15. Indiana Pacers
Dyson Daniels: G League Ignite
The G League Ignite team continues to attract talent and Australian-born Dyson Daniels is no exception. Experience against professional players is never a bad thing and Daniels will have a full year to showcase why he should be a first-round pick. The risk he runs is being overshadowed by bigger names on the team.
16. New York Knicks
TyTy Washington: Kentucky Wildcats
TyTy Washington isn’t a guaranteed “one and done” prospect, but a good freshman year could change that. Coach John Calipari is used to putting players into the NBA and if anyone can get him ready it’s Coach Calipari. Washington has the size to be an NBA guard, but he needs to polish some of his skills before next year.
17. Portland Trail Blazers
Jean Montero: Overtime Elite
Jean Montero could be the first player from the Overtime Elite program to get drafted into the NBA. It’s hard to argue the International prospect’s talent, but he will help decide if the Overtime Elite program will be a good path to the NBA. Evaluating his progress in the new league will help set the pace. This isn’t exactly like the new G League Ignite team because players won’t be going up against professional athletes. Players like Montero will determine if this is a legitimate path to the next level.
18. Boston Celtics
Daimion Collins: Kentucky Wildcats
Daimion Collins seems like a lock to enter the 2022 NBA Draft and go somewhere in the first round. He has good size and an NBA skill set. His position in the draft will largely depend on how he handles SEC play and the different things he polishes on both sides of the ball. Kentucky is typically a “one and done” machine and next year Collins should join that list. It is also possible he decides to stay in college, but his goals seem NBA-oriented.
19. Houston Rockets (from Miami Heat)
Tristan Vukcevic: Real Madrid
Tristan Vukcevic plays in a tough European league and has gained and will continue to gain valuable experience against professional athletes. He has great size and a skill set that could help many NBA teams down the line. There’s also a possibility that he needs to spend more time in Europe before he’s ready for the NBA. He will likely enter this draft, but teams could be considered about his NBA readiness.
20. Atlanta Hawks
Nolan Hickman: Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are loaded this year and Nolan Hickman is going to have plenty of competition for touches on the court. Hunter Sallis has plenty of focus, but Hickman could be the guard prospect from the Bulldogs that finds himself as a first-round prospect in next year’s draft. There will be plenty of chances for Hickman to earn a “one and done” status this year. Hickman has NBA talent but he needs to put it all together before he is ready for that level.
21. Denver Nuggets
Allen Flanigan: Auburn Tigers
Allen Flanigan had a solid sophomore year with Auburn and after a stellar junior year, he could be the top upperclassman in the 2022 NBA Draft. He has great size for a guard in the NBA and he paired that with really good shooting numbers last year. He needs to make some adjustments, but he looks like he could be NBA-ready soon. There are plenty of teams that prefer working with older prospects.
22. Dallas Mavericks
Bennedict Mathurin: Arizona Wildcats
Bennedict Mathurin is expected to get an increased role with the Wildcats in his sophomore season. Should he handle that role well and increase his output he could make his way into the first round next year. He has great size for a guard, but he may need to bulk up some for the NBA. Mathurin does several things well, but he may not be elite at any one skill.
23.Oklahoma City Thunder (from Los Angeles Clippers)
Nikola Jovic: Mega Basket
Nikola Jovic has lottery potential and could be the top international player taken in this year’s draft class. The Serbian professional basketball player has experience against professional athletes and could make an instant impact in the NBA. He is measured at 6’10” and 210 pounds but plays shooting guard and small forward for the Mega Basket of the ABA League. He is incredibly skilled and could skyrocket up draft boards. Jovic could compete for a top spot in the 2022 NBA mock draft.
24. Utah Jazz
Earl Timberlake: Memphis Tigers
Earl Timberlake transferred to the Memphis Tigers from the Miami Hurricanes over the offseason. The change of scenery could help him moving forward in college basketball. He should be a focal point in the offense under Head Coach Penny Hardaway. We did not get to see much of him last year due to an injury. Timberlake only got to play seven games last year with Miami. He was a highly touted recruit out of high school and hopefully this year he proves e deserved that ranking.
Caleb Love with the and-1 slam ? pic.twitter.com/VlwV8rC8z7
— ESPN (@espn) February 6, 2021
25. Philadelphia 76ers
Caleb Love: North Carolina Tar Heels
Caleb Love was planning on being in the 2021 NBA Draft, but after a less than ideal freshman season, he decided to stay in college. There are some clear things he needs to improve on in his second season with the Tar Heels. A better second-year campaign in Chapel Hill should land him a first-round selection in the 2022 NBA Draft class. It looks like Head Coach Hubert Davis is going to run a more modern offense at North Carolina this year, so that should help.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Phoenix Suns)
Michael Foster: G League Ignite
This year’s G League Ignite team is loaded and that could help or hurt some player’s draft stock. Michael Foster is incredibly talented and could even be a lottery-level talent. He will spend the year leading up to the draft playing against professional basketball players. It is harder to judge players like Foster until he has actually played some games against these professional athletes. He should be a first-round selection next year.
27. Golden State Warriors
Mark Williams: Duke Blue Devils
The Duke Blue Devils have reloaded and may put several players into the first round of this year’s draft. Mark Williams was one of the best center prospects heading into college last year. His freshman year had him playing limited minutes behind other players, but he maximized his time on the court. This year he should be handed a bigger role and with it, he can prove why he could be a first-round pick. It seems likely that he will head to the NBA after his sophomore season.
28. Memphis Grizzlies (From New Orleans via LAL)
Marcus Bagley: Arizona State Sun Devils
Marcus Bagley looked like a lock to go in the first round this year before he decided to return to college. Did he make a mistake or can he improve his draft stock with a strong sophomore campaign? Time will tell, but with some key players moving on he will be the focus for the team’s offensive output. Barring a major collapse in his second season the brother of NBA forward Marvin Bagley should still be a first-round selection.
29. Miami Heat (From Brooklyn)
Johnny Juzang: UCLA Bruins
Upperclassmen going in the first round isn’t super uncommon, but it normally happens later in the first. Johhny Juzang’s move to UCLA seems to have worked out and after debating a jump to the NBA he decided to return to the Bruins. His junior year could feature a National Championship and then a first-round selection in the 2022 NBA Draft. There are some teams that prefer experienced players and they would struggle to find better than Johnny Juzang.
30. Milwaukee Bucks
Hunter Dickinson: Michigan Wolverines
Hunter Dickinson tested the draft waters this past year and said NBA teams gave him specific things they wanted him to work on back in college. Assuming he makes those adjustments he could squeeze into the first round. A second-round selection seems more likely, but for now, he cracks the Top 30 of this 2022 NBA mock draft. Dickinson should be the focal point for the Wolverines next season and hopefully, that helps him improve his draft stock for next year.