2022 NBA Draft prospects: Jabari Smith and top-50 prospects

Now that it’s draft day, we look at the top 2022 NBA Draft prospects.

The NCAA Tournament put some of these big names on the front burner. With that said, the draft itself seems to be top heavy.

From Jabari Smith of Auburn to former UCLA star Johnny Juzang , let’s take a look at the top-50 NBA Draft prospects for 2022.

Related: 2022 NBA mock draft

Top NBA Draft prospects: The big three

1. Jabari Smith, forward, Auburn

Smith could end up being one of the top NBA Draft prospects we’ve seen come down the pike in some time. Before his Auburn team was prematurely exiled from the NCAA Tournament, this kid was about as dominant as they get for a freshman.

At 6-foot-10, it’s pretty sensational that Smith can shoot so well from the outside. In today’s NBA, that’s a point of emphasis for teams. That is to say, bigs who can stretch the floor. Smith is an ideal representation of this. He’s favored to go No. 1 to the Orlando Magic.

2. Chet Holmgren, forward/center, Gonzaga

As far as NBA Draft prospects go, Holmgren might be the most divisive of the top tier. There’s some concern over the big man’s 7-foot, 195-pound frame and whether it will hold up in the Association. We’re going to go ahead and assume Holmgren bulks up between now and the 2022-23 season.

From an overall skill standpoint, the dude can be an absolute force out of the gate. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds on 61% shooting as a freshman. That included a 39% mark from distance. You don’t see that type of ability to stretch the court from someone Holmgren’s size. Look for the big to go top two.

3. Paolo Banchero, forward, Duke

The 6-foot-10 Banchero will be among the most talked about 2022 NBA Draft prospects heading into the event. The No. 2 recruit in 2021, he displayed flashes of brilliance en route to leading Duke to the Final 4.

Overall, the Washington native averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists. He also shot 48% from the field and looked darn smooth in his mid-range game. He’s favored to head to Houston with the third pick.

4. Jaden Ivey, guard, Purdue

Electric. Quick. These are two things that came to define Ivey’s two-year career with the Boilermakers. It showed during his sophomore season with the South Bend native averaging 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Ivey also improved leaps and bounds shooting from the perimeter compared to his freshman season. This has the 6-foot-4 guard as one of the top prospects of the 2022 NBA Draft class.

5. Keegan Murray, forward, Iowa

2022 top nba draft prospects: keegan murray
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Some will conclude that Murray doesn’t have the upside of other top NBA Draft prospects in this class. We’re just not seeing it. The dude absolutely dominated against good Big 10 competition as a sophomore.

How good was Murray this past season? He dropped north of 20 points in all but 10 of his 35 games. Sure a bad performance in a loss to Richmond in the NCAA Tournament leaves a bad taste in his mouth. But this dude is going to be a darn good two-way forward in the NBA.

6. Bennedict Mathurin, guard, Arizona

Mathurin showed out big time for the Wildcats as a sophomore prior to their premature exit from the NCAA Tournament. Barely a top-100 recruit in the Class of 2020, he’s now one of the most-intriguing 2022 NBA Draft prospects.

The 6-foot-7 wing can play three different perimeter positions. Last season alone for Arizona, he averaged 17.7 points to go with 5.6 rebounds on 45% shooting. Mathurin was also a career 38% three-point shooter at Arizona.

7. Johnny Davis, guard, Wisconsin

  • Johnny Davis stats (2021-22): 19.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.1 APG, 43% shooting

Shooters shoot. As you can see from his numbers as a sophomore with Wisconsin, the 6-foot-5 Davis defines this to a T. While he still struggles from the perimeter (31% three-point shooter in 2021-22), there’s still a lot to like about Davis’ all-around game.

Primarily, we like what he brings to the table from a shot-creation standpoint and rebounding the ball. There’s a lot of DeMar DeRozan in this NBA Draft prospects’ game.

8. Shaedon Sharpe, guard, Kentucky

When looking at NBA Draft rankings, a lot of it has to do with upside. According to 247 Sports, Sharpe was the No. 3 overall recruit in the class of 2021.

Unfortunately, the 6-foot-5 guard never suited up for Kentucky as a freshman. Despite this, there’s continued talk that Sharpe will simply go pro. He’s an athletic dynamo with an unfinished floor game. As with Wesley, it will be interesting to see him perform during the pre-draft process.

9. Dyson Daniels, guard/forward, G-League Ignite

One of the most enigmatic 2022 NBA Draft prospects, Daniels likely would have been better suited playing one year in college ball. He struggled for the G-League Ignite, averaging 11.3 points while shooting 26% from three-point range. Even then, some team will exhaust a first-round pick on his upside.

10. AJ Griffin, forward, Duke

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Semifinals-North Carolina vs Duke
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Yet another Duke product that finds himself as one of our top-10 NBA Draft prospects, Griffin is an interesting figure leading up to the annual event.

He didn’t draw as much attention as Banchero, but there’s a whole lot to like. That included Griffin shooting a resounding 45% from three-point range as a freshman. Not bad for a 6-foot-6 wing.

11. Mark Williams, center, Duke

The 7-foot Williams saw his stock increase big time as one of the top big men in the class during Duke’s Final 4 run. The center averaged 13.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in five tourney games. He might not be among the highest-upside NBA Draft prospects in the class, but the foundation is here.

12. Jalen Duren, center, Memphis

Considered one of the most-talented recruits in his class, Duren decided to join Penny Hardaway with the Memphis Tigers. It might have been the best move of his amateur career.

As a 6-foot-11 freshman for Memphis, Duren averaged 12.0 points and 8.1 rebounds on 60% shooting. He might not be the same type of NBA prospect as James Wiseman and Evan Mobley from the past two years, but dude will be a lottery selection.

13. Ochai Agbaji, guard, Kansas

As far as NBA Draft prospects go, there’s a whole heck of a lot to like about Agbaji. He showed that in Kansas’ Final 4 win over Villanova by hitting his first four three-pointers to set the stage.

In the end, Agbaji earned the NCAA Tournament’s Most Oustanding player en route to helping Kansas win the title. That will help him stick as he’ll be among the most talked about NBA Draft prospects leading up to the annual event.

14. TyTy Washington, guard Kentucky

This Arizona native was great for Kentucky as a freshman — averaging 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists on 45% shooting. He’s also a capable three-point shooter (35%).

As a combo guard, teams are going to be interested in Washington. He’ll land somewhere in the lottery and should make an immediate impact.

15. Marjon Beauchamp, guard/forward, G-League Ignite

In lieu of being one-and-done in college, the Washington native is currently taking part in the G-League with the Ignite. He’s averaging 15.1 points and 7.3 rebounds on 57% shooting. The youngster could also prove himself to be pro-ready out of the gate, pretty much like what we’re seeing with Jonathan Kuminga this season.

16. Jaden Hardy, guard, G-League Ignite

The 6-foot-6 Hardy opted for the G-League Ignite rather than accepting offers from pretty much all the top programs in the country. It’s been a mixed bag.

Hardy averaged 17.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting a substandard 35% from the field. There’s a lot to like about his upside and athleticism. But he’s going to be a project at the next level.

17. Nikola Jovic, forward, Serbia

Jovic might end up being one of the best picks in the NBA Draft this June. The 6-foot-10 Serbian is as versatile as they come and can do multiple things on the court. That includes playing strong defense, plus-level passing ability and point-forward skills. In today’s NBA, that comes in handy.

18. Malaki Branham, guard, Ohio State

Starring for his home state Buckeyes as a freshman, Branham averaged 13.7 points and 3.6 rebounds on 50% shooting. While some don’t view him as one of the top-flight NBA prospects in this class, there’s going to be a future for him as a role player at the next level.

19. Ousmane Dieng, guard/forward, New Zealand

At 18-year-old, this former New Zealand Brakers star has the athleticism of a guard. He’s 6-foot-10, boasts geat agility and ball-handling skills and can pass with the best of them. A consistent shot is what’s holding him back from the top-10.

20. E.J. Liddell, forward, Ohio State

Liddell made a name for himself late in the regular season and in the postseason for Ohio State. The Illinois native and 6-foot-7 wing averaged 19.4 points and 8.6 rebounds on 47% shooting in his final 16 games. He has upside. He has a strong all-around ability. This will lead to Liddell being a first-round pick come June.

Related: 2022 NBA Playoff and championship predictions

2022 NBA Draft prospects: Late first-round picks

21. Tari Eason, forward, LSU

NBA: Draft Combine
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The 6-foot-8 Eason averaged 16.9 points and 6.6 rebounds on 52% shooting for the Tigers last season. He can make an immediate impact.

22. Jalen Williams, guard, Santa Clara

The 6-foot-6 wing averaged 18.0 points and 4.2 assists on 40% shooting from distance for Santa Clara last season. His ability to stretch the court will come in handy in the modern NBA.

23. Wendell Moore, forward, Duke

A 6-foot-5 forward, Moore improved his performance throughout a three-year career at Due. A top-25 recruit back in 2019, he took a back seat as both a freshman and sophomore.

That changed big time during his senior season with Moore averaging 13.4 points to go with 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 41% from distance. We’re talking about a three-and-D wing who still boasts upside. Moore might not have the highest ceiling of 2022 NBA Draft prospects, but he’s going to be a nice rotational player.

24. Walker Kessler, center, Auburn

Walker Kessler has been skyrocketing up draft boards. The 7-foot-1 sophomore averaged 11.4 points and 8.1 rebounds on an absurd 61% from the field. He seems to be pro-ready, which could help a team picking in the bottom end of Round 1.

25. Blake Wesley, guard, Notre Dame

A native of South Bend, Wesley stayed home to play college ball for Notre Dame. It proved to be a great decision for the 6-foot-5 guard as he led the Irish to the NCAA Tournament.

However, there’s still some questions about his overall game. As a freshman for Notre Dame, Wesley shot a mere 40% from the field — including a 30% mark from distance. The pre-draft process is going to be key for this kid.

26. Kennedy Chandler, guard, Tennessee

The 6-foot Chandler can play both guard spots. He was solid as a freshman for Tennessee, averaging 13.9 points on 38% shooting from distance.

27. Jeremy Sochan, forward, Baylor

Sochan played well for what was the nation’s top regular-season team this past season despite finding himself as the 90th-ranked recruit. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 9.2 points and 6.4 rebounds on 47% shooting. However, he has limited upside. That’s no small thing when ranking NBA Draft prospects.

28. Kendall Brown, forward, Baylor

Kendall Brown stats (2021-22): 9.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 58% shooting

A top-10 recruit in 2021 out of Sunrise Christian Academy, Brown had an up-and-down freshman season for the Bears. As you can see, the 6-foot-8 wing averaged less than 10 points per game. He also struggled in the tournament, putting up a total of 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting in two games.

Despite this, there’s so much untapped potential on the part of the athletic freak. There’s every reason to believe some team selecting in the lottery will pick him up for that upside alone.

29. Patrick Baldwin Jr., forward, Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Baldwin Jr. opted to remain home in Wisconsin to play for his father despite being a top-five recruit in the class of 2021. It didn’t work out swimmingly for his father, but this guard looked the part.

One of the most-intriguing NBA Draft prospects of 2022, Baldwin Jr. stands at 6-foot-9. He can play all three perimeter positions and performed well in limited action as a freshman (12.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG). However, there’s some concern over shooting (34% from the field in 2021-22).

30. Bryce McGowens, guard/forward, Nebraska

One of the most pro-ready NBA Draft prospects of 2022, McGowens was absolutely brilliant for the Cornhuskers as a freshman. The 6-foot-7 guard averaged 16.8 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 40% from the field. He’s going to be a solid three-and-D wing at the next level.

NBA Draft big board: Second-round prospects

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Michigan State vs Davidson
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

31. Max Christie, guard, Michigan State

32. David Roddy, forward, Colorado State

33. Trevor Keels, guard, Duke

34. Dalen Terry, guard, Arizona

35. Christian Braun, guard, Kansas

36. Hugo Besson, guard, New Zealand

37. Josh Minott, forward, Memphis

38. Orlando Robinson, center, Fresno State

39. Peyton Watson, forward, UCLA

40. J.D. Davison, guard, Alabama

41. Andrew Nembhard, guard, Gonzaga

42. Ismael Kamagate, center, France

43. Christian Koloko, center, Arizona

44. Justin Lewis, forward, Marquette

45. Khalifa Diop, center, Gran Canaria

46. Caleb Houston, forward, Michigan

47. Ryan Rollins, guard, Toledo

48. Jean Montero, guard, Overtime Elite

49. Keon Ellis, guard, Alabama

50. Johnny Juzang, forward, UCLA

Mentioned in this article:

More About: