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2022 NBA Draft prospects: A look at the top 50 set to enter the Association

Vincent Frank

With just a couple months to go before the annual event, we look at the top 2022 NBA Draft prospects.

The recently-concluded 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 North Carolina guard Caleb Love, let’s take a look at the top-50 NBA Draft prospects for 2022.

Related: 2022 NBA mock draft

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.

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.

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.

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.

Related: Top 2022 NBA free agents

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. 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.

9. 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.

10. AJ Griffin, forward, Duke

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.

Related: Top 50 NBA players of 2022

11. 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.

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. 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).

15. 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.

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16. 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.

17. 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.

18. Max Christie, guard, Michigan State

Yet another top-20 recruit from the Class of 2021, Christie played well for the Spartans as a freshman. He averaged 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds. Unfortunately, there’s some concern over shooting which could push him out of the lottery. The guard shot just 38% from the field in 2021-22.

19. 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.

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2022 nba draft prospect: mark williams
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

20. 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.

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21. 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.

22. 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.

23. J.D. Davison, guard, Alabama

The 6-foot-3 Davison looked darn good for Alabama at times as a freshman. However, he did not live up to his billing as a top-10 recruit. That included shooting a mere 30% from distance. It’s going to be hard for an NBA team to justify a lottery selection on a guard without perimeter shooting ability.

24. 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.

25. 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.

26. 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.

27. 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.

28. Trevor Keels, guard, Duke

Is it possible that five Duke players could go in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft? We wouldn’t be surprised with Keels likely being the last one off the board.

The 6-foot-4 guard scored 19 points on Duke’s national semifinal loss to North Carolina and continued to hit big shots throughout the season. A top-19 recruit in 2021, Keels was inconsistent. But his late-season performance should have him ascending the draft boards.

29. Christian Koloko, center, Arizona

The first of several upper classmen NBA Draft prospects in 2022, Koloko’s standing might be impacted by his performance in the NCAA Tournament. He scored just 10 points in Arizona’s loss to Houston after recording 28 in a second-round win over TCU. Despite this inconsistency, there’s a ton of upside here.

30. 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.

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2022 nba draft prospects: jabari walker
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

31. Jabari Walker, forward, Colorado

32. Tari Eason, forward, LSU

33. Ousmane Dieng, guard/forward, New Zealand

34. Peyton Watson, forward, UCLA

35. Ismael Kamagate, center, France

36. Julian Strawther, guard, Gonzaga

37. Kennedy Chandler, guard, Tennessee

38. Jaime Jaquez, forward, UCLA

39. Zach Edey, center, Purdue

40. Trevion Williams, center, Purdue

41. Matthew Mayer, forward, Baylor

42. Keon Ellis, guard/forward, Alabama

43. Caleb Houstan, forward, Michigan

44. Orlando Robinson, center, Fresno State

45. Josh Minott, forward, Memphis

46. Johnny Juzang, guard, UCLA

47. Trayce Jackson-Davis, forward, Indiana

48. Alondes Williams, guard, Wake Forest

49. Terrence Shannon Jr., guard/forwad, Texas Tech

50. Caleb Love, guard, North Carolina