Weeks of anticipation gave way to Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery, where the Orlando Magic earned the No. 1 pick and teams selecting No. 2 through No. 14 also learned their fates. With the complete draft order now known, the 26 teams that have concluded their seasons will turn their primary attention to the 2022 NBA draft to be held June 23 at the Barclays Center in New York. The potential destinations of the big three — Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren, Auburn power forward Jabari Smith and Duke forward Paolo Banchero — will be among the top storylines, and how the dominoes fall later in the lottery and the first round will be an all-consuming question.
With that in mind, ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony considered the draft board and the likely players available at each spot, updating the ESPN 2022 NBA mock draft accordingly. Givony’s latest mock, which reflects a long period of exhaustive evaluation of the 2022 draft class and considers intel gathered from conversations with scouts and front-office personnel, also accounts for picks owed and owned by all 30 teams.
The Magic are loaded with young talent on the perimeter and could very well look to the frontcourt, where much of this draft’s high-end talent is concentrated. The Magic struggled to space the floor effectively last season, and Smith is arguably the most dynamic shooter in the college game, converting 42% of his 3-pointers despite standing 6-foot-10. He’s also a highly versatile defender who plays with outstanding intensity, switching all over the floor with quick feet and impressive energy, giving the Magic the ability to play in a variety of lineup configurations with their many existing pieces.
The Thunder don’t have much in the way of long-term building blocks in the frontcourt and will be thrilled to see Holmgren, arguably the most talented prospect in the draft, available here. In Holmgren, the Thunder can acquire the draft’s biggest difference-maker defensively, a force on the glass and a rim protector who also shot 39% from beyond the arc and brings significant upside as a passer, finisher and shot creator.
The Rockets drafted a franchise building block in Jalen Green last year and will now likely look to improve their frontcourt, which happens to be the strength of this class. Banchero’s ability to create offense off the dribble both for himself and teammates should pair well with the explosive transition scoring and shot-making ability Green offers. Banchero could start next to a more traditional big man, such as Alperen Sengun, or operate alongside another perimeter-oriented big man, like Christian Wood, making Banchero a strong fit for the Rockets long term.
The Kings will take long looks at both Jaden Ivey, who could create a dynamic backcourt with De’Aaron Fox, or Murray, arguably the best player in college basketball this past season. Murray doesn’t need plays called for him to be effective and should be able to play as a stretch-4 alongside Domantas Sabonis, as well in smaller lineups as a small-ball center with Harrison Barnes. The Kings have said they want to return to playoff contention as soon as possible, and picking an almost 22-year-old All-American certainly will help with that.
5. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons struck gold in potential rookie of the year Cade Cunningham last year and can now look to add another dynamic backcourt player who can help shoulder the offensive responsibility. Ivey is the most electric prospect in the class, possessing the type of extra gear-changing speeds in the open floor that few NBA players possess. Ivey’s size, frame and length, along with the strides he has made as a shooter, will allow him to slide into a variety of lineup configurations, making it easy for him to find his way onto the floor, especially as his defense and decision-making improve.
The Pacers are in rebuilding mode and will likely be looking to swing for the fences for a franchise player to pair with Tyrese Haliburton and Malcolm Brogdon. Sharpe is oozing with talent, possessing elite physical tools with his exceptional frame, length and explosiveness, to go along with dynamic perimeter shooting ability. There was a reason he was the No. 1-ranked player in his high school class, but his lack of experience and how little he has been evaluated might make it difficult for a team picking higher than this to roll the dice on him.
The Blazers are early in their rebuilding process and have a gaping void at center, where often-injured Jusuf Nurkic is entering unrestricted free agency this summer. Duren is the most physically gifted big man in this class, bringing impressive finishing prowess as well as outstanding defensive potential as both a rim-protector and in guarding pick-and-rolls. As the youngest player in this class, he has considerable upside to grow into as well.
The Pelicans really struggled to space the floor effectively at times this past season, ranking among the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA in both makes and accuracy. Griffin, who made 45% of his 3-pointers, is arguably the best shooter in the draft and also one of the youngest players in this class. His 7-foot wingspan gives him significant potential defensively, and he plays one of the most coveted positions in the modern NBA.
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The Spurs have quite a few young players in the backcourt but are in full-fledged talent-acquisition mode and will be thinking hard about picking the best long-term prospect they can acquire with this pick. Adding a versatile guard who can play in a variety of lineup configurations and do a little bit of everything could be attractive here, especially considering the type of players Gregg Popovich typically values. Daniels is an outstanding defender who fills up the box score with rebounds, assists, blocks and steals, and has plenty of upside to grow into considering he just turned 19 years old.
The Wizards will certainly look to improve their backcourt, both in the draft and free agency, after cycling through a cascade of guards in an injury-plagued season. Enter Davis, who brings many of the winning intangibles the Wizards should be looking for with his defensive versatility, unselfishness and ability to score with or without the ball. Davis would fit well alongside the ball-dominant Bradley Beal and looks ready to contribute immediately coming off an All-America season, despite being relatively young at 20.
The Knicks had a difficult season offensively, ranking last in 2-point percentage and second to last in assist rate. This pick won’t solve all their issues, but adding an All-American wing like Mathurin, who is an outstanding perimeter shooter and looks ready to contribute immediately, could make sense, as he can play either wing spot alongside RJ Barrett and has plenty of upside to grow into at just 19 years old.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Clippers)
The Thunder can afford to be patient and take a swing on a high-upside prospect such as Dieng, who has the type of positional size, feel for the game and versatility the front office typically values. A fluid wing with ample size to slide to the power forward position as his frame fills out, Dieng hit his stride in a major way as the season moved on in the Australian NBL, flashing dynamic shot-making ability, vision operating out of pick-and-roll, and the ability to guard multiple positions. Not yet 19, Dieng isn’t particularly close to being ready to help a team win games, but that might not be the worst thing for the Thunder.
The Hornets have been seeking a legitimate rim-protecting, lob-catching center to pair with LaMelo Ball from the moment they drafted the pick-and-roll maestro, and could very well be attracted to Williams, with whom they’ll be very familiar from down the road in Durham. Williams led college basketball in dunks this season, won ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors and made considerable progress in his sophomore season.
The Cavs will be looking to add firepower on the wing this offseason, both in free agency and in the draft. Branham’s frame, length, scoring instincts and shot-making prowess off the dribble (44%) and with his feet set (43%) make his game look seamlessly translatable for what the NBA is looking for at his position. He started the season slowly but looked like one of the most talented perimeter players in the country down the stretch, carrying Ohio State offensively, and in a highly efficient manner.
15. Charlotte Hornets (via Pelicans)
While the frontcourt will surely be an area for improvement this offseason, adding depth on the wing should also be a priority, as starting small forward Gordon Hayward is often injured and backup Kelly Oubre Jr. is entering the final season of his contract. Enter Agbaji, one of the best shooters in the draft who looks like a relatively plug-and-play, 3-and-D prospect who comes off a national championship in which he won the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player award. The fact that he’s already 22 may make him even more attractive to the Hornets, who are clearly looking for immediate results after surprisingly firing head coach James Borrego.
TyTy Washington Jr.
The Hawks are one of the deeper teams in the NBA on paper and it may not be easy for any rookie to crack their rotation next season. Finding a guard who can both run the team when Trae Young is taking a breather, and also bring enough size and length to play alongside him when sliding up wing players Kevin Huerter and De’Andre Hunter to the frontcourt, could be attractive. Washington is effective with or without the ball, knows how to play pick-and-roll and is a strong perimeter shooter, while also being capable of playing in many different lineup configurations.
17. Houston Rockets
The Rockets are early in their rebuilding and will likely be looking to take swings on talent and upside, as they don’t appear to be particularly close to contention. Eason is one of the most explosive and productive players in the draft, putting consistent pressure on opposing defenses with his quick first step, physicality and insatiable intensity, characteristics that allow him to live at the free throw line. These same traits helped make him one of the most versatile defenders in the college game, a magnet for steals, blocks and rebounds who flew all over the floor in LSU’s suffocating press while rotating from guarding point guards to big men.
The Bulls aren’t particularly deep in the frontcourt, making this a potential position of need the team will look to address this offseason. Sochan brings some different dimensions for a team that could be attracted to his ability to defend all over the floor, pass the ball effectively and slide up or down positions depending on the matchup. He has plenty of upside to grow into at 18 years old.
After an encouraging season, the Timberwolves might look to bolster their depth at the forward spots with another dynamic shooter who doesn’t need the ball, can facilitate for others and has upside to grow into long-term. Enter Jovic, who has excellent size at 6-10, a strong feel for the game and could slide nicely in between Jalen McDaniels and Jarred Vanderbilt while not detracting from the Timberwolves’ core of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns.
20. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors)
With three first-round picks at their disposal and a roster that is far from settled, the Spurs can afford to take a long view in selecting the best player available regardless of positional fit. After a rocky start, Chandler emerged as one of the premier point guards in the college game in the second half of the season, showing blazing speed, dynamic ballhandling and passing ability, and an increasingly consistent pull-up jumper. His measurements (6-foot-1, 171 pounds with a 6-5½ wingspan) are what might keep him out of the lottery position his talent suggests, but didn’t prevent him from playing outstanding defense and leading the SEC in steals. The fact that he proved capable of playing off the ball in two- and three-guard lineups should be attractive as well.
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With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back in the fold next season alongside MVP Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon, adding quality depth on the wing looks like a priority for the Nuggets, who cycled through different options all season at this position. Beauchamp’s ability to defend multiple positions, score without having plays called for him and do the dirty work to help a team win games could be attractive, as well as the fact that he’s already 21 years old and has pro experience under his belt.
The Grizzlies have drafted extremely well and now have a stacked roster of contributors to choose from, giving them the flexibility to draft more of a long-term prospect. Wesley is a physically gifted, instinctual scorer who excels in the open court and creating off the dribble. His youth and tools give him plenty of upside to grow into on both ends of the floor, which could very well be attractive to a team such as Memphis at this stage of the draft.
23. Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers; Nets can defer to 2023)
With all of the Nets’ center options on expiring contracts, it would certainly make sense to look to this position as an option to add a young prospect on a rookie-scale deal. Kessler was the best defender in college basketball this season, a force as a rim protector who also brings upside as a pick-and-roll finisher and even as a perimeter shooter.
The Bucks are in win-now mode and would be well-served adding a player who can step in and contribute immediately, as they don’t have a great deal of flexibility with their salary-cap situation. With several frontcourt players on expiring contracts or entering their final seasons, adding an All-American big man such as Liddell could be attractive. Liddell is a solid rim protector who can switch on the perimeter and improved his shooting significantly as a junior, giving him a high floor as a prospect. His productivity and toughness make him a solid option at this stage of the draft.
25. San Antonio Spurs (via Celtics)
In this scenario, the Spurs drafted backcourt players in the lottery and with the 20th pick, so adding a combo forward in the late first round could make sense, especially since Brown is among the most explosive players in the draft and brings significant upside to grow into at just 18 years old. Finding more confidence and consistency in his jump shot, which Brown could very well locate in the Spurs’ vaunted player development program, and discipline defensively — a trademark of Gregg Popovich teams — would make him a major steal at this stage of the draft.
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Keeping defenses honest from loading up on Luka Doncic will always be a priority, something Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie have both done very effectively this season. With Brunson entering unrestricted free agency, adding another sparkplug combo guard such as Hardy could be attractive. Hardy entered the year as a potential top-five pick and still has plenty of upside to tap into as a shot-making, instinctual scorer who is still only 19.
Few teams have been as successful drafting in the first round as the Heat have over the past few years. The team seems to prioritize finding young players who fit their mentality culturally and have room to grow in their strong player development infrastructure. Keels is one of the youngest prospects in the draft and brings the type of toughness, feel for the game and winning spirit the organization covets. Improving his body and finding more consistency as a perimeter shooter are priorities for Keels moving forward, something he could elect to try to do with another year in college, potentially.
The Warriors’ luxury tax situation makes it imperative they find contributors on cheap rookie-scale contracts, something they’ve proved capable of doing with several shrewd picks. Braun looks like a plug-and-play wing who brings lockdown defense, passing ability, excellent rebounding and is a career 38% 3-point shooter in college. His lack of ballhandling and a slow release on his jumper lowers his ceiling somewhat, but Braun is exactly the type of role-playing, two-way wing many NBA teams are actively seeking these days.
29. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies have proved to be one of the shrewdest teams in the NBA the past few years in terms of using their draft capital. With a loaded roster, it remains to be seen how attractive adding another two first-round picks will be, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team swing for the fences with a high-upside prospect to see if it can uncover another draft-day steal. McGowens is one of the most talented wing prospects in this class long-term, a fluid scorer who needs time to build his frame and improve his defensive intensity, but he has intriguing tools that are hard to come by from a talent perspective.
30. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Suns)
The Thunder have precious few roster spots at their disposal and four draft picks (three first-rounders), meaning there is a decent chance they won’t be making this selection ultimately. One of the big mysteries surrounding the 2022 NBA draft will be where Caleb Houstan, a onetime projected top-10 pick, ends up. Houstan declined his invite to the NBA combine, indicating there might be something to the rumors of a first-round promise, or that Houstan has a landing spot he’s comfortable with. Houstan’s positional size, defensive awareness and perimeter shooting gives him a high floor as a prospect, despite his disappointing freshman season at Michigan.
31. Pacers (via Rockets)
Patrick Baldwin Jr. | Milwaukee | SF/PF | Age: 19.4
David Roddy | Colorado St | PF | Age: 21.1
33. Raptors (via Pistons)
Terquavion Smith | NC State | SG | Age: 19.3
Ismael Kamagate | Paris | C | Age: 21.3
35. Magic (via Pacers)
Hugo Besson | NZ Breakers | PG/SG | Age: 21.0
36. Trail Blazers
Wendell Moore Jr. | Duke | SF | Age: 20.6
Leonard Miller | Fort Erie International Academy | SF/PF | Age: 18.4
38. Spurs (via Lakers)
Jake LaRavia | Wake Forest | PF | Age: 20.5
39. Cavaliers (via Spurs)
Dalen Terry | Arizona | PG/SG | Age: 19.8
40. Timberwolves (via Wizards)
Christian Koloko | Arizona | C | Age: 21.8
Khalifa Diop | Gran Canaria | C | Age: 20.3
Justin Lewis | Marquette | SF/PF | Age: 20.0
Jalen Williams | Santa Clara | SF | Age: 21.0
Jean Montero | Overtime Elite | PG/SG | Age: 18.8
Max Christie | Michigan State | SG | Age: 19.2
46. Pistons (via Nets)
Jaylin Williams | Arkansas | C | Age: 19.8
47. Pelicans (via Cavaliers)
Josh Minott | Memphis | PF | Age: 19.4
JD Davison | Alabama | PG | Age: 19.6
49. Kings (from Bulls)
Keon Ellis | Alabama | SG/SF | Age: 22.3
50. Timberwolves (from Nuggets)
Trevion Williams | Purdue | C | Age: 21.6
Andrew Nembhard | Gonzaga | PG | Age: 22.3
52. Pelicans (via Jazz)
Matteo Spagnolo | Cremona | PG | Age: 19.3
Gabriele Procida | Fortitudo Bologna | SG | Age: 19.9
54. Wizards (via Mavericks)
Alondes Williams | Wake Forest | PG/SG | Age: 22.8
Peyton Watson | UCLA | SF/PF | Age: 19.6
56. Cavaliers (via Heat)
Yannick Nzosa | Unicaja Malaga | C | Age: 18.4
57. Trail Blazers (via Grizzlies)
Harrison Ingram | Stanford | SF/PF | Age: 19.4
58. Pacers (via Suns)
Dominick Barlow | Overtime Elite | PF/C | Age: 18.9
Note: The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat each lost a second-round draft pick after an NBA investigation revealed premature discussions into the free agency of guards Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and International teams.