2022 NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Orlando Faces Tough Decision at No. 1

The 2022 NBA Draft is merely days away, so it is time to release the fourth and final edition of Lineups.com’s 2022 NBA Mock Draft. Many prospects have seen their draft stocks fluctuate throughout the combine, interview, and individual workout processes. At this point, there is not much to do if you are a prospect except sit back and wait for Thursday night. Still, there are trade rumors galore, and anything can happen during the draft, even to existing players in the league. In a separate article, I cover the most historic draft night trades and what we might see on Thursday if some of these rumors turn into truths. For now, look below at the latest mock draft to see what your team might do!

 

1. Orlando – Jabari Smith Jr, Auburn

This is a typical Orlando Magic pick, and I don’t see them going away from Jabari Smith with the first pick despite outside pressure. Smith can shoot the lights out at 6-foot-10 and fill a ton of needs for the Magic immediately. Pairing him with a player like Wendell Carter Jr, who primarily plays inside of 15 feet, would be a match made in Heaven, and sometimes fit outweighs potential. His upside is undeniable, but there are a few other players on the board that could be equally good at the next level. 

2. Oklahoma City – Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

The Thunder seem to be between Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith with their second pick; whichever player Orlando does not take, Oklahoma City will snag. Holmgren will fit in well in OKC, which seems to take pride in unusual, positionless players like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and Aleksej Pokusevski. It’s hard to pass up a unicorn at No. 2, and if Orlando selects Banchero with the first pick for some reason, I still believe Holmgren will go second. 

3. Houston – Paolo Banchero, Duke

Houston traded Christian Wood just a few days ago, and that should clear up any confusion about what it is planning on doing with this pick. Banchero and Alperen Sengun could make a dynamic frontcourt duo; both players have supremely advanced footwork for their respective ages. Banchero should fit in well with the Rockets, a fast-paced team that values scoring a lot. Paolo should also end up being a plus on defense a few years down the road, but make no mistake: this is not a defensive-minded squad either way.

4. Hypothetical Trade: Sacramento to New York – Jaden Ivey, Purdue

Guard play has been a serious issue over the past several years for the New York Knicks, and I predict that they will do something drastic to try and change that. The best way to do that is to trade up and select the only guard in the draft that seems to be a surefire star. Ivey thrives under the bright lights, and I can think of few players who are more prepared to accept the responsibilities and expectations Knicks fans give their stars. 

5. Detroit – Keegan Murray, Iowa

I don’t imagine Detroit will pass up Jaden Ivey or Keegan Murray if they are there at five. All signs point to Ivey being gone by this point, so Murray should be the pick. Murray will give Detroit a talented scorer and versatile defender to add to its young core of players. Keegan can shoot the lights out with impressive range and has shown flashes of 1v1 scoring; he will be a solid complement to Cade Cunningham in what will be a bright core for years to come.

6. Indiana – Benn Mathurin, Arizona

Indiana will be thrilled with Benn Mathurin at No.6. Sure, Mathurin is not Jaden Ivey, who the Pacers and their fanbase seem to be dead-set on; however, if there ever was a consolation (player), Mathurin would be it. He’s another elite shooter from all over the floor and possesses a high defensive IQ and elite switchability. Mathurin’s floor is already set high as he should easily be a 3-and-D starter for many years, so there is little risk with this pick. What makes Mathurin a lock for the Top 10, though, is his ceiling, which could be as an All-Star playmaker with the ball.

7. Hypothetical Trade: Portland to Detroit – Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky

The cost of this trade will likely be Jerami Grant, but Portland could hardly do better in a win-now scenario if it indeed plans on keeping Damian Lillard for the foreseeable future. Add Anfernee Simons into the mix and a few free agents; you never know what could happen with the Trail Blazers. This makes plenty of sense for Detroit and helps continue the rebuild. If the Pistons didn’t take Murray at No. 5, then the Pacers would have scooped him. However, they also know that Indiana will likely pass on Sharpe with that pick, especially after his interview process, and go with Mathurin. Mathurin has become a fan favorite for the Pacers at No. 6; this would be an iconic chess move if Detroit can pull this off.

8. New Orleans (from Los Angeles Lakers) – Dyson Daniels, G-League Ignite

If the Pelicans decide not to trade this pick for a win-now player, they should grab Dyson Daniels of the G-League Ignite with the eighth pick. Daniels is my favorite fit in New Orleans due to his high IQ, ball-handling, playmaking, and defensive upside. New Orleans is shifting its identity to one that plays both ends of the floor, and Daniels’ ability to cross-defend positions should be a massive plus for the Pels. Daniels tested exceptionally well at the combine in terms of lateral quickness, and the eye test confirms that too. Don’t be shocked to see him go here.

9. San Antonio – Jalen Duren, Memphis

The Spurs could go in a few different directions here, but I believe Duren will be the pick at the end of the day. Duren’s upside is undeniable, and his physical profile and athleticism are elite, somewhere on the level of Dwight Howard coming out of high school. If this was 2010 or earlier, Duren might have been the first overall pick, but the game has changed, and big men that aren’t multi-dimensional on offense can fall in drafts. San Antonio has a reputation for developing raw prospects, and although Duren isn’t categorically “raw,” he could use improvements to his offensive arsenal. 

10. Hypothetical Trade: Washington to Indiana – Jeremy Sochan, Baylor

Washington could crack under pressure and trade the tenth pick to Indiana for Malcolm Brogdon here. The Wizards need a guard desperately to add to their young core, and Brogdon could fix a ton of problems on the offensive end of the floor. There have been plenty of rumblings league-wide about something like that happening on draft night. Indiana is bound to move on from Brogdon anyway, and the tenth pick is quite the consolation at this point in the rebuilding process. After selecting Mathurin, the Pacers will look to shape up their frontcourt. Jeremy Sochan has a lot of value to a team that finished close to last in several defensive categories. At 6-foot-9 with a plus wingspan and impressive lateral quickness, Sochan possibly has the highest defensive ceiling of anyone in this draft. It helps that he also showed flashes on offense; his court vision and straight-line drives were the most impressive. 

11. Hypothetical Trade: New York to Sacramento – A.J. Griffin, Duke

After the craziness of trading down from No. 4 to No. 11 and robbing the desperate New York Knicks, Sacramento was able to come away with a player who could wind up being a high-caliber NBA player due to his size length, and incredulous shooting ability. Griffin is right around fourth or fifth on plenty of big boards across the country, and he should fit nicely next to Davion Mitchell and De’Aaron Fox. Finally, Sacramento makes a good move. Even a non-Kings fan can hope that they get it right at some point.

12. Oklahoma City (from LA Clippers) – Ousmane Dieng, New Zealand Breakers

Everyone is calling for this pick to happen and for a good reason. Dieng is likely not ready yet to be a high-impact player at the next level, but there can’t be many organizations better suited to deal with a slight wait than the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dieng can get some floor time in his first few years, which will be enormous; if he went to a playoff team, he might not get that experience quite as soon. Dieng’s best shot at going in the lottery lies with OKC.

13. Charlotte – Johnny Davis, Wisconsin

Charlotte pulls the trigger on Davis with the 13th pick and fixes the Hornets’ off-guard problem; his defense and playmaking should fit in nicely next to LaMelo, but the apparent hold-up from being a perfect fit is three-point shooting. If Davis can develop a consistent mid-30s three-point shot, Charlotte will be thrilled with the value it is getting in the late lottery. He should also be able to plug some holes on defense by defending the opposing team’s best guard, as LaMelo can defend bigger guards and even wings, if necessary. This could work nicely.

14. Cleveland – Jalen Williams, Santa Clara

Williams could be the fastest riser in the draft this season; his stock has seemingly not cooled down since the combine. He has plenty of eye-popping highlights that scream “next level player.” There are multiple clips of Williams breaking down bigs like Chet Holmgren off the dribble and dropping them with slick, efficient moves. Williams fits in with Cleveland due to his solid size and impressive wingspan. If the shooting translates, Williams will immediately boost the Cavs’ backcourt. 

15. Charlotte (from New Orleans) – Mark Williams, Duke

Charlotte could wait to pick Williams until the 15th pick as long as Cleveland stays stationary, which is no guarantee. For the sake of this exercise, we will pretend the Cavs remain at No. 14, especially considering there are still plenty of talented wings available for them to grab. Williams can instantly impact the Hornets on both ends of the floor, providing a great roll man, rebounder, and defensive anchor for the league’s most “ole” prone defense. Williams is an instant upgrade over Plumlee and should work nicely with LaMelo. I would be stunned if the Hornets did not pull the trigger on him here.

16. Atlanta – Tari Eason, LSU

To Houston’s dismay, Eason will not be falling past the Atlanta Hawks if he’s available at No. 16. John Collins could be seeing his last days in Atlanta, and if that’s the case, the Hawks will quickly need another athletic forward to fill his shoes. Eason won’t be an immediate play, but he could prove extremely valuable to that organization in a few years. Houston will fall one pick short of picking up extremely high value in the mid-first round.

17. Houston (from Brooklyn) – TyTy Washington, Kentucky

Houston needs a true point guard to help delegate ball-handling and offensive responsibilities between Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., even if it’s just coming off the bench in a rotational role. While both those players are immensely talented offensive specimens, there needs to be someone to let those guys spend a bit of time off-ball. TyTy Washington has proven to be a more-than-willing passer and facilitator, and truthfully, I think Green and KPJ would welcome that. Who knows if the Rockets feel the same way, but it would make sense if they did. 

18. Chicago – E.J. Liddell, Ohio State

Rumors of a 5-year extension are swirling for Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls. If that’s the case, the Bulls will be pretty set in their backcourt for the foreseeable future with Alex Caruso, DeMar DeRozan, and LaVine. The frontcourt has not proven to be as consistent, and “injury-prone” is an understatement. Patrick Williams could be the long-term power forward for Chicago, but he still needs more reps. For now, Liddell can come off the bench and give valuable minutes due to his experience and IQ.

19. Minnesota – Nikola Jovic, Mega Mozzart

Jovic could blossom into a solid NBA player, but it will have to be in an environment conducive to his game. In this case, the Wolves love to play fast on offense and can sometimes be lackadaisical on defense. That sounds like a perfect fit for a player with limitless offensive upside but “cone-like” defense. Jovic should have plenty of opportunities to maximize his talents (shooting, speed, and length) in transition for Minnesota. 

20. San Antonio (from Toronto) – MarJon Beauchamp, G-League Ignite

Few teams have my confidence in developing Beauchamp more than the San Antonio Spurs and all-time great head coach Gregg Popovich. Beauchamp is still an incredibly raw prospect in many ways, but under the proper organization, he could shine. The primary concern with MarJon is his three-point shooting has been inconsistent at best; however, there have been moments where he has flashed potential in this area. Again, which team is better for a raw prospect to develop under than San Antonio, though?

21. Denver – Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

Fit is important. I can see Agbaji being Denver’s guy because of his 3-and-D potential and experience that could help Denver’s depth (it needs help in this area.) Agbaji isn’t going to do much in the ball-handling and creating/playmaking department, but he doesn’t need to. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray will handle most of those duties on the offensive end, and there aren’t many better fits for Ochai in this draft. 

22. Memphis (from Utah) – Dalen Terry, Arizona

Dalen Terry’s stats at Arizona weren’t mindblowing and certainly don’t look like what you might expect from a potential first-rounder; however, his on-court presence is undeniable. Terry has an energy about him that makes him fun and easy to play with, which should mesh well with a young, energetic Memphis Grizzlies team. He also has shooting upside and can do virtually everything else on the court at a high level. His fit in Memphis makes nothing but complete sense; it gives him time to develop and step into a key role in a few years.

23. Philadelphia – Blake Wesley, Notre Dame

Assuming Philadelphia doesn’t move off this pick, it should grab Blake Wesley here. Wesley’s explosiveness and electric first step make him a first-round-caliber prospect. Still, efficiency and shooting could catapult him up this board in redrafts down the road, assuming he reaches his potential. The Sixers could take a chance on Wesley, but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see them move off Danny Green and this pick either. For now, Philly stays at 23 and snags Notre Dame’s first one-and-done player ever.

24. Milwaukee – Walker Kessler, Auburn

Kessler should be an obvious choice for Milwaukee with the 24th pick simply due to the fact that it will need someone to take over Brook Lopez’s role once he retires or begins to show signs of being less effective. Lopez had a significant back injury for most of last season, and his absence did cause issues for Milwaukee, even though Bobby Portis did a terrific job absorbing his minutes and volume. Still, Kessler could be a solid starting big guy for a long time in this league. His upside probably isn’t as an All-Star, but that’s not what the Bucks need.

25. San Antonio (from Boston) – Malaki Branham, Ohio State

Branham’s shooting split at Ohio State is somewhat ridiculous, especially for a freshman playing in the Big Ten, arguably the most consistently defensive-centric conference in the NCAA. He flashed some ability to create off the ball, but he won’t have to do much of that in San Antonio, at least not immediately. His range should allow him to get minutes fairly quickly for the Spurs, who finished in the league’s bottom half in three-point shooting.

26. Houston (from Dallas) – Jake LaRavia, Wake Forest

LaRavia is one of the most versatile players in this draft; he can do a bit of everything on the floor and is 6-foot-8 with a plus wingspan. Whichever team drafts LaRavia will be incredibly happy with his skillset and drive. Houston has plenty of high-level alpha-scorers now, so it needs to begin to surround them with versatile, high-IQ players. LaRavia is definitely that; the Rockets will hope he’s still available here.

27. Miami – Kennedy Chandler, Tennessee

Kyle Lowry probably does not have a lot left in the tank to give Miami, but his experience and leadership are invaluable. Miami should snag a potential point guard replacement who could fill Lowry’s shoes in the next two years, and Chandler would fit in perfectly with that culture; he’s a winner and a hard worker. Miami loves guys that “buy in” to its organization, and Chandler seems like one of those guys. 

28. Golden State – Ismaël Kamagate, Paris Basketball

I’m not entirely sold on Ismael Kamagate, but I will say this: some of his dunking highlights were extremely impressive. Kamagate is a raw player, especially on offense, where he often looks somewhat uncoordinated and a bit slow in his decision-making and moves. Still, his upside is sky-high due to his size, length, and athleticism. Kamagate has proven to be a viable lob threat, which would already be an upgrade for the Dubs. They don’t need him to do much offensively. As long as he sets strong screens, rolls hard, rebounds, and defends/contests at a high level, he will eventually see the floor.

29. Memphis – Caleb Houstan, Michigan

I feel Memphis takes a flier on Houstan with this late-first rounder. Houstan worked out for only two teams, with Memphis being one of them. The Grizzlies have a roster right now that is pretty full with a ton of G-League talent. Terry and Houstan won’t have much available playing time in the next few years, but they are solid prospects with high upside. For that reason, let’s see if Memphis makes a move in the draft and packages these two picks.

30. Denver (from Oklahoma City, via Phoenix) – Jaden Hardy, G-League Ignite

Denver needs scoring from the perimeter outside of Jamal Murray, and who better with the last pick in the first round than Jaden Hardy, a proficient scorer with a wide array of moves to get himself open. Agbaji is more of an immediate contributor for the Nuggets, while Hardy could take a little while to see the floor. Hardy was highly ranked coming out of high school but had a somewhat disappointing year in the G-League. That fact hardly affects his upside, though, as he’s still a teenager.

Drew is one of the NBA Lead Writers at Lineups.com, specializing in betting content such as game predictions and player props. With a deep knowledge of players and prospects, Drew has an extensive edge in covering everything NBA.

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