The Chronicle’s 2022 NBA Mock Draft

Connor Youngberg and Keith Savage

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will take the stage on Thursday to call out the names of the NBA’s future stars at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In comparison to past years, this draft is quite unpredictable from start to finish.

The Chronicle’s Connor Youngberg and Keith Savage will try our best to predict the entire first round of the NBA draft without any trades.

1. The Orlando Magic select…


Connor’s Pick: Jabari Smith Jr., F, Auburn

Auburn forward Jabari Smith is No. 2 on ESPN’s draft rankings. Photo from Wikimedia Commons
(Chris Gillespie)


Ever since the Magic won the draft lottery, Smith Jr. has been a popular choice for the first overall pick and it’s easy to see why. The Magic are one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league, while Smith Jr. was one of the best shooters in all of college basketball last season at Auburn. He’s also a versatile defender and a good rebounder. Although he could improve on his offensive game inside the three-point line, Smith Jr. is still the clear favorite to be the first overall pick.


Keith’s Pick: Jabari Smith Jr., F, Auburn


The 6-foot-10-inch forward has the potential to be a future superstar in the NBA. Smith Jr. shines the most as a scorer: he can score off the dribble, catch & shoot and in the post. His three-point shot is also one of his strengths as he shot 42% last season. The scoring will translate into the NBA, but the 19-year-old does need to improve on his passing if he wants to take the next step. On the defensive side, the Auburn forward shines on the perimeter and is average as a rim protector. The Orlando Magic have found their future all-star.


2. The Oklahoma City Thunder select…


Connor’s Pick: Chet Holmgren, C/F, Gonzaga


As a die-hard Thunder fan, this team desperately needs size and shooting. Last year, the Thunder ranked last in three-point percentage and went without a consistent option at the center position all season. Thankfully for OKC, Holmgren is the perfect prospect its team needs, while also being the best player left on the board. Holmgren is a seven-footer who can handle the ball, make high IQ plays and shoot from behind the arc, while also being the best rim protector in the draft. Holmgren will fit in perfectly with OKC’s standout guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey.


Keith’s Pick: Chet Holmgren, C/F, Gonzaga


Ever since Holmgren’s high school days in Minnesota, people could see the future was bright for the lengthy big man. He fits the Thunder’s needs at the center position, and he has shown he can be a great rim protector . But something surprising to me is the rumors swirling that the Gonzaga star has not provided his medical information to some teams, insider Matt Babcock reported. It could mean nothing or it could mean that the seven-footer has a specific team he wants to play for like OKC. For Holmgren to fulfill his potential he needs to gain weight to keep up with the top big men in the league.


3. The Houston Rockets select…


Connor’s Pick: Paolo Banchero, F, Duke


The Rockets will likely take whatever player falls to three out of Smith Jr., Holmgren and Banchero. In this case, Banchero is heading to H-Town to team up with last year’s second overall pick, Jalen Green. The Rockets just traded starting power forward Christian Wood, meaning Banchero should slide in perfectly to the starting lineup moving forward. Banchero is a great scorer at all levels and if he can continue to work on his three-point jumpshot, Houston might have landed the best player in this draft.


Keith’s Pick: Paolo Banchero, F, Duke


I believe that Banchero is the best player in the draft. The Duke forward has every tool to be one of the best players in the league one day. He showed during his lone season at Duke that his mid-range shot is lethal. The three-pointer needs improvement, but that will come with time. He shot a whopping 71% at attempts at the rim, where the freshman star did most of it off isolations. Banchero has an extremely high basketball IQ, which he shows in the mid-range and as a passer. A lot of people are concerned with his defense, but he was 11th in defensive rating and 10th in blocks in the ACC. He is sometimes caught staring at the ball, but with more NBA experience, that will improve. The Houston Rockets will be thanking the Magic and Thunder that they got a future All-NBA player at pick three. 


4. The Sacramento Kings select…


Connor’s Pick: Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue


The Kings have a long history of missing with their draft choices. Lucky for them, Ivey will still be available. Ivey is a scoring sophomore guard out of Purdue with incredible athleticism. He can dunk, he can attack the rim, he can shoot, he can play defense and hopefully for Sacramento, he can turn this Kings franchise in the right direction alongside De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.


Keith’s Pick: Keegan Murray, F, Iowa


Sacramento is in win-now mode and Murray is the best selection. He is an all-around great scorer that can also defend. He is an amazing fit for the Kings, as he can be an all-around great scorer at the power forward position. He is the perfect third option that Kings needs to make the playoffs. The 21-year-old will start coming off the bench but I expect Murray to enter the starting lineup for Sacramento by mid-season. 


5. The Detroit Pistons select…


Connor’s Pick: Benedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona


The Pistons have a lot of options here at the fifth overall pick. I have them selecting Mathurin to pair in the backcourt with last year’s first overall pick, Cade Cunningham. Mathurin excels coming off screens and can be effective with or without the ball in his hands. He is lengthy and a great scorer who will be a perfect fit for the next era of Detroit basketball.


Keith’s Pick: Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue

Purdue guard Jaden Ivey is No. 4 on ESPN’s draft rankings. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

This is an easy selection for Detroit. Ivey is the perfect shooting guard to match with 2021’s first -overall selection Cade Cunningham. He is a high-energy guy that can show off his vertical with electric finishes at the hoop. Ivey is quick and can make you pay with his first step. But there are concerns with his three-point shooting and playmaking. I see his shot improving with more experience but his playmaking will prevent him from playing the point guard position. But it works out for him that Detroit already has its point guard for the future in Cunningham. Ivey is the shooting guard of the future for this young team. 


6. The Indiana Pacers select…


Connor’s Pick: Keegan Murray, F, Iowa


Murray was one of college basketball’s best players this past season for the Hawkeyes. He’s an elite post scorer with a great jump-shot from three-point range. After trading Domantas Sabonis to the Kings at the trade deadline last season, the Pacers need a long-term answer at the power forward position. Murray should fill that hole perfectly and provide great spacing for guard Tyrese Haliburton to run the offense.


Keith’s Pick: Dyson Daniels, G, G-League Ignite


The Australian guard decided to take the route of playing in the G-League and it worked out great. Daniels is a player that will be in the NBA for a long time. He is an amazing 6-feet-7-inch defender and playmaker that any team would love to have with his team-oriented play style. The Pacers will most likely get rid of Malcolm Brogdon in the future so that Tyrese Haliburton can be moved to the PG position. Daniels does need to improve on his catch & shoot to fulfill his potential, but I see that happening eventually. Haliburton and Daniels will be a fun backcourt to watch.


7. The Portland Trail Blazers select…


Connor’s Pick: Jalen Duren, C, Memphis


For the first time ever, an NBA player will be younger than me, which is not fun. Duren is the youngest player in this draft class, and he will still be 18 years old when the regular season starts. Long time starting center Jusuf Nurkic hits unrestricted free agency this offseason and I don’t see a world where the Blazers sign him back, especially with enough cap space to sign big free agents, such as Bulls’ guard Zach Lavine. Instead, I expect Portland to pick-up Duren to be Damian Lillard’s pick-and-roll buddy for the foreseeable future. Duren has great size and rebounding skill to make an impact right away for the Blazers.


Keith’s Pick: AJ Griffin, G/F, Duke


The Blazers have found the perfect player to match with Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons. Griffin is a great three-point shooter, shooting over 44% in his lone collegiate season. He can also create his shot if Lillard and Simons are not making theirs during a game. The biggest red flag for the Duke forward is his defense; he needs to improve all around if he wants to play impactful minutes. Knee health may also be an issue for the former five-star prospect, though his shooting will have him in the rotation to start the season. 


8. The New Orleans Pelicans (from LA Lakers) select…


Connor’s Pick: AJ Griffin, G/F, Duke


Griffin should be excited to join fellow Blue Devils Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram in New Orleans. He’s arguably the best shooter in this year’s draft, shooting 44.7% from three-point land this past season and the Pelicans were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league last year, ranking 27th in three-point percentage (33.2%). With Williamson returning to the lineup, the Pelicans are going to need shooters more than anything. Griffin can provide shooting, athleticism, and solid defense to a Pelicans team that could surprise some people next year.


Keith’s Pick: Benedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona


Mathurin’s draft stock has been rising in the past few weeks. The reason? The Arizona guard can fit with any team and is the best player available at this pick. He is an amazing scorer and a gifted offensive player. The three-point shooting can be a great addition for New Orleans. His defense needs some work, but I can see the lengthy 6-foot-6-inch guard improve on that throughout his career. Amazing fit for the Pelicans if he can fall to them.


9. The San Antonio Spurs select…


Connor’s Pick: Ousmane Dieng, F, NZ Breakers


Dieng is one of the more interesting prospects in this draft. He’s a tall, lanky forward with guard skills who can score the basketball in a variety of ways. I think Dieng would be in the ideal landing spot if the Spurs choose to take him here, because of their player development skills and of course, head coach Gregg Popovich. 


Keith’s Pick: Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor


Sochan is the perfect fit for the Spurs with his amazing defensive skills. San Antonio has progressed good defenders like DeJounte Murray and Kawhi Leonard into guys who are elite on both offense and defense. The Baylor forward does not yet have that star potential in him but he is a perfect starter on a playoff team. The Big 12 conference Sixth Man of the Year needs to improve as a shooter. At Baylor, he shot 29% from three and 59% from the free-throw line. I see him as a project that fits the Spurs culture.


10. The Washington Wizards select…


Connor’s Pick: Dyson Daniels, G, G-League Ignite


Daniels is one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft. He’s a tall point guard who’s a great playmaker and a tenacious defender. The Wizards have tried to pair Bradley Beal with a plethora of point guards, such as John Wall, Russell Westbrook and Spencer Dinwiddie, but none have panned out. Hopefully, for them, Daniels will be the point guard of the future in Washington.


Keith’s Pick: TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky


The point guard position is a fill that the Wizards need. I do not see Bradley Beal returning to Washington and the team will begin a rebuild. Washington Jr. is going to be an amazing player if he can stay healthy. He suffered some injuries at Kentucky but still looked very promising. The All-SEC freshman is great in the pick and roll and a solid shooter. He needs some time to develop but the Wizards will be a perfect match. I never doubt the talents of Kentucky guards and Washington Jr. is another highly-skilled one.


11. The New York Knicks select…


Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis is No. 10 on ESPN’s draft rankings. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Connor’s Pick: Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin

Davis is one of the best two-way prospects in this class. He can score with ease by creating his own shot, while also playing good defense. The Knicks need help on the offensive side of the ball, which Davis can provide alongside RJ Barrett. With the help of Davis, the Knicks could possibly put together a winning season similar to 2020-2021.


Keith’s Pick: Shaedon Sharpe, G/F, Kentucky


Sharpe is the mystery of the 2022 NBA draft because he joined Kentucky in the middle of the season after reclassing and did not play a game in college. The talent is there, the question is who will take the risk. The Knicks are in a weird spot at the moment because the team has too many veterans to enter a rebuild but are not talented enough to be a contender and I believe the team needs to take a risk with this selection. He is a 6-foot-5-inch guard and with a seven-foot wingspan, he is built to be an elite defender. There is not much film on him so it is tough to see what he can bring to the NBA. He showed offensive talent in high school but it is difficult to really know how good he is. 


12. The Oklahoma City Thunder (from LA Clippers) select…


Connor’s Pick: Shaedon Sharpe, G/F, Kentucky


Sharpe is by far the most confusing prospect in the draft. He joined Kentucky during the middle of the season and then made the decision to not play for them. Then he declared for the draft as a consensus top-10 prospect. Sharpe is easily the most high risk, high reward player of this draft, but that’s a risk the Thunder are willing to take. I’m not sure Sharpe will be available by pick 12, but I think Thunder GM Sam Presti might try his absolute best to trade up to take Sharpe if necessary.


Keith’s Pick: Jalen Duren, C, Memphis


Duren is pro-ready and I would not be shocked if he is selected before this pick. The Thunder will be blessed if the big man falls to them. Oklahoma City doesn’t have a center that they can rely on to be a part of their future. Duren would be great with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the pick and roll. He is a traditional big man without much three-point skill but still has a bright future at only 18 years old.


13. The Charlotte Hornets select…


Connor’s Pick: Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor


The Hornets need defense and Sochan might just be the best defender in the draft. He’s a big forward who can guard every position with ease. He can switch onto quicker point guards and battle down low with the seven-footers. There are concerns with Sochan’s offensive game, but the Hornets will be willing to let his offensive skills develop over time. They need his elite level defense to bring some intensity and grit to a flashy basketball team.


Keith’s Pick: Mark Williams, C, Duke


Charlotte needs a center and Williams is the best pick for that. He is a shot-blocker that can protect the rim at an elite level. It is something that the Hornets have been looking for; he is 7-feet-2inches tall with a 7-foot-7-inch wingspan  He can also be a lob threat with LaMelo Ball on the offensive end. Williams will be fun to watch with this young team.


14. The Cleveland Cavaliers select…


Connor’s Pick: Malaki Branham, G, Ohio State


The Cavaliers need a replacement for guard Collin Sexton. Sexton is up for a new contract this offseason and he’s coming off of an ACL tear. Rather than pay big money to an injured Sexton, I think the Cavs will opt to pick up Branham who can score at all three levels and had an impressive freshman season with the Buckeyes.


Keith’s Pick: Ochai Agbaji, F, Kansas


Cleveland has a bright future and can be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The team has young talent and is finally not in a rebuild with their All-Star Darius Garland and other young talent.  Agbaji is a great perimeter defender that can also score well. He is used the best on offense as a catch and shoot player. His shot is quick and is great at setting his feet. Those features are a huge reason why he shot 40% from three. He’ll make an impact right away on any team he is selected to.


15. The Charlotte Hornets (from New Orleans) select…


Connor’s Pick: Mark Williams, C, Duke


Williams feels like the most obvious choice for the Hornets to take on draft night, which probably means it won’t happen. However, it just makes too much sense for me not to do it. Williams is an all-around big man, with rim protection skills and great rebounding ability. The Hornets have struggled to maintain a franchise center for pretty much the entire existence of their franchise. Williams could be the guy they’ve been looking for.


Keith’s Pick: Jaden Hardy, G, G-League Ignite


I am going with a bit of reach right here  with the selection of Hardy. After being one of the top-ranked high school players in the nation, he decided to join the G-League. He is a streaky scorer that can be a great fit for a sixth-man role. Hardy averaged 21 points while shooting 40% last season with the Ignite. He is not afraid to shoot the ball and needs to become more consistent but it is a good risk to take for Charlotte.


16. The Atlanta Hawks select…


Connor’s Pick: TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky


The Hawks are in desperate need of a backup point guard. Washington Jr. is one of the best point guards in this class and the Hawks should be ecstatic he’s on the board at pick 16. Washington Jr. is a good scorer with great playmaking skills. Surrounded by shooters and lob threats in Atlanta, he should be the facilitator they’ve been needing off the bench when Trae Young needs a breather.


Keith’s Pick: Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin


If Johnny Davis falls to 16 it is an easy selection for Atlanta as he is the most talented player on the board. He is a solid defender and scores in the mid-range. Davis is a great in isolation with his pull-up shot. But he does need to work on his three-point shot if he wants to stay in the NBA for a long time. With Trae Young as the point guard, Davis’s catch and shoot game will improve. I believe that will happen and he can be a valuable player for the Hawks. 


17. The Houston Rockets (from Brooklyn) select…


Connor’s Pick: Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas


The Rockets have been trying to trade Eric Gordon for about three seasons now. When they finally pull the trigger on a deal, Agbaji will fill in nicely next to Jalen Green as an elite scorer and catch-and-shoot threat. Agbaji led the Jayhawks to a National Championship and he’ll bring a winning mentality to a bad Rockets team.


Keith’s Pick: Ousmane Dieng, F, NZ Breakers


Dieng is a very difficult prospect to understand in this draft. He is a 6-foot10-inch forward who played in the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) last season. His scoring was not great, shooting 40% from the field and a dreadful 27% from three. But he is a lengthy,good defender that has potential on the defensive side of the court. He does need to work on parts of his game like the catch and shoot, but the Rockets won’t be afraid to take that risk. 


18. The Chicago Bulls select…


Connor’s Pick: Tari Eason, F, LSU


Eason put on a scoring clinic off the bench this year for LSU, earning himself the SEC Sixth Man of the Year award. The Bulls know a thing or two about taking college bench guys, selecting the ACC’s 2019 Sixth Man of the Year, Patrick Williams, fourth overall in the 2020 NBA draft. Williams has struggled with injuries and Chicago has struggled with forward depth, making Eason a great fit for the Bulls.


Ohio State forward EJ Liddell is No. 21 on ESPN’s draft rankings. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Keith’s Pick: E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State


Liddell is a guy who is a high school basketball legend, winning Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois twice. He is a great fit for the Bulls being a great all-around player. He is 6-foot-5-inches with a 6-foot-11-inch wingspan that can be a great defender in the NBA. With Nikola Vucevic at the center position, the Bulls need somebody to cover the other team-best scoring big man. He is smart with the ball too, especially in the post-game. Chicago is close to being a contender and Liddell would be a big-time help. 

19. The Minnesota Timberwolves select…


Connor’s Pick: EJ Liddell, F, Ohio State


The Timberwolves have been searching for the perfect forward to pair with their star center, Karl-Anthony Towns. Liddell’s big frame and defensive versatility make him the perfect fit with  Minnesota. During his three years in college, he improved as a scorer, rebounder, defender, but most importantly a shooter. Liddell was an above-average shooter this past season, which is very critical in today’s league.


Keith’s Pick: Malaki Branham, G, Ohio State


Branham is a great offensive player that is starting to rise on draft boards. If he falls to 19  Minnesota would love to have this off the bench scorer who could potentially crack the starting lineup. He has trouble creating his shot but outside of that, the Ohio State guard can be valuable on offense. Defense is a major concern but if he is playing with Patrick Beverley, an elite defender himself, I can only imagine it will improve. 


20. The San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto) select…


Connor’s Pick: Jalen Williams, G/F, Santa Clara


Williams seemingly came out of nowhere during the NBA combine. He was a projected second round pick early on in the draft process, but he’s climbed up every draft board and ends up being drafted at pick 20 for me. Williams is an all-around talent that can truly do it all on the floor. He can play defense, he can shoot, he can drive to the basket, he possesses a high basketball IQ and he can jump out of the gym. The Spurs will be happy to select Williams and develop him under Popovich.


Keith’s Pick: Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest


LaRavia is a three-and-D guy that can be an impactful player off the bench and can develop into a starter. I can see the Spurs taking a risk on the lengthy forward who could be with the team for a long time. He is not great as a ball-handler so he will be used as a catch and shoot player. 


21. The Denver Nuggets select…


Connor’s Pick: Nikola Jovic, F, KK Mega


I promise I am not just drafting him here because his name is one letter away from having the same name as Nuggets’ star big-man, Nikola Jokic. He’s  just a great fit with this team. Jovic is a good three-point shooter with great length. With Michael Porter Jr.’s injury history, it’ll be necessary to get some depth at the forward position.


Keith’s Pick: Nikola Jovic, F, KK Mega 


I have been in love with Jovic’s play for about two years now. I think he has the potential to be an all-star. Like Nikola Jokic, who won back-to-back MVPs, he is from Serbia and has an eerily similar name. The two could potentially be international teammates this summer  with the Serbian national team. As a player, he is 6-foot-10-inches, can handle the balland do a lot offensively. We are going to look back in the draft and view Jovic as the biggest steal. The Serbian duo will win an NBA championship one day if this selection occurs.


22. The Memphis Grizzlies (from Utah) select…


Connor’s Pick: MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G-League Ignite


Beauchamp is one of the best defenders in the draft. He’s versatile with great length, but was also a solid scorer for the Ignite. The Grizzlies need depth at the shooting guard spot and Beauchamp should provide some solid rotational minutes immediately for them.


Keith’s Pick: Jalen Williams, G/F, Santa Clara


The last time a player was drafted from Santa Clara it was some guy by the name of Steve Nash. However, Williams plays nothing like the former two-time MVP. He is 6-foot-6-inches with a 7-foot-2-inch wingspan, which is a gift from the basketball gods. Williams is an amazing scorer who is efficient too, averaging 18 points per game on over 50% shooting. His defense needs some improvement but with his size, it will get better. He will fit in great with Memphis.


23. The Philadelphia 76ers select…


Connor’s Pick: Dalen Terry, G, Arizona


The 76ers could use another defender at the guard spot next to James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, who aren’t known for their defense. The Sixers have used Matisse Thybulle as their defensive stopper, but he’s struggled to improve his offensive abilities and is currently on the trade block. Terry should provide a two-way presence off the bench for Philadelphia.


Keith’s Pick: Tari Eason, F, LSU

LSU forward Tari Eason is No. 16 on ESPN’s draft rankings. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Eason can make the 76ers rotation starting on day one. He is a great defender in the frontcourt and is valuable to any team. If he falls to Philadelphia it is an easy pickup for this versatile defender. Not a great three-point shooter but his superb defense makes up for it.


24. The Milwaukee Bucks select…


Connor’s Pick: Walker Kessler, C, Auburn


The Bucks need to address their center position badly. Brook Lopez is 34 years old and is heavily regressing. As Lopez becomes worse, the Bucks will need a reliable center to join Giannis Antetokounmpo in the frontcourt. Although Kessler is not the shooter that Lopez is, his defensive presence and offensive abilities down low are too good to pass up on for Milwaukee. It’s also possible that the Bucks can help Kessler develop a serviceable jumper down the line.


Keith’s Pick: Christian Braun, G/F, Kansas


With Pat Connaughton having one-year left on his contract, the Bucks will be searching for somebody to replace his role off the bench. Braun is a solid perimeter defender and decent enough on offense with his athleticism to help replace that role if Connaughton leaves. He is a great end-of-bench player to have.


25. The San Antonio Spurs (from Boston) select…


Connor’s Pick: Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee


Chandler is an athletic guard who can score and facilitate, while also bringing solid defense. He is an undersized guard, which could be concerning for some teams, but he can make up for it with his insane vertical. He had the highest max vertical jump at the combine this year at 41.5 inches, and has the potential to be a great pro-level point guard. Dejounte Murray currently runs the point for the Spurs, but he could potentially move to the shooting guard spot if Chandler makes the starting lineup.


Keith’s Pick: Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee


The All-SEC freshman guard is a solid all-around player that can be valuable to San Antonio. At only 6-feet he is considered a small guard but his 6-foot-5-inch wingspan and 41.5 inch vertical jump make up for it. Chandler is very talented and the sky’s the limit for the 19-year-old.


26. The Houston Rockets (from Dallas) select…


Connor’s Pick: Jaden Hardy, G, G-League Ignite


Hardy is one of the more interesting prospects in the draft. He was once in consideration for the number one overall pick about a year ago, but after a rough season with the Ignite, Hardy finds himself falling to a late-first round pick. It’s undeniable that he has talent, but with awful efficiency this past season in the G-League, it is hard to justify him being a higher pick in this year’s draft. At 26th overall, the Rockets are willing to take a low risk swing at Hardy with the hopes he can develop into a superstar next to Jalen Green.


Keith’s Pick: Wendell Moore Jr., G/F, Duke


Moore Jr. was a star in high school and he made huge improvements in each of his three years at Duke. His three-point shooting jumped from 21% to 41% in two seasons. He is also going to be able to be a reliable defender. This selection can also keep their third overall pick Paolo Banchero happy because he will be with one of his college teammates.


27. The Miami Heat select…


Connor’s Pick: Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame


Wesley struggled with efficiency throughout his freshman season at Notre Dame, but his shot making ability off the dribble is too good to pass up on. The Heat struggled with depth during the playoffs, where guys like Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson looked unplayable at times. Wesley should bring guard help immediately and could develop into a solid NBA player.


Keith’s Pick: MarJon Beauchamp, F/G, G-League Ignite


At 21 years old Beauchamp has been through a lot. From being a high-ranked high school prospect to playing at Yakima Valley College, his local community college. But he found a place with the Ignite and shined averaging over 15 points per game with 50% shooting. His three-point shooting needs to improve from 27% but his play on defense is amazing and makes up for his weaknesses. He fits perfectly in the Miami Heat culture. 


28. The Golden State Warriors select…


Connor’s Pick: Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest

Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia is No. 28 on ESPN’s draft rankings. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

LaRavia is one of my favorite players in this year’s draft. I am a firm believer that whatever team drafts him is getting a potential steal. LaRavia is a Swiss Army knife on the court.. He scored the ball from everywhere on the court at a highly efficient rate, while being a good rebounder and an underrated passer at his position. The reigning NBA champions are known for finding their talent through the draft and I think if they can get their hands on LaRavia, the league might be in even more trouble.


Keith’s Pick: Walker Kessler, C, Auburn


With center Kevon Looney being a free agent and James Wiseman’s health concern, a center could be a smart draft pick. Kessler would be an excellent selection for the reigning champions. He is a player that can crash the board and is an excellent rim protector. The seven-footer averaged over 4.5 blocks last season and is a need for the Warriors with potentially a lack of shot-blockers. 


29. The Memphis Grizzlies select…


Connor’s Pick: Christian Koloko, C, Arizona


Koloko is another one of my favorite players in the draft. He was one of the best defenders in all of collegiate basketball last season with Arizona, bringing elite rim protection and defensive versatility to the Wildcats. The Grizzlies current starting center is Steven Adams, who was almost unplayable during some stretches of the NBA playoffs and is up for a new contract following the 2022-2023 season. Koloko could join Jaren Jackson Jr. in the Grizzlies’ frontcourt, making them one of the best defensive teams in all of basketball.

Keith’s Pick: Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame


At 29th overall, I believe the Grizzlies will draft the best player available, which is Wesley. He is not the most efficient scorer but is athletic and has a solid mid-range game. I see him as a guy that Memphis can put in the G-League next season with the hope of him progressing into a rotational player.


30. The Denver Nuggets (from Oklahoma City via Phoenix) select…


Connor’s Pick: Christian Braun, G/F, Kansas


Braun rounded out his three-year career at Kansas with a national title. He was a consistent scoring option for the Jayhawks, including good shooting from behind the arc. The Nuggets could use that level of consistency at the wing position, with nagging injuries and streaky play from in-house players, like Will Barton.


Keith’s Pick: Kendall Brown, F, Baylor


In the last pick of the first round, I see Brown being selected by the Nuggets because of his defensive versatility and youth, only being 19 years old. Denver likes to take time on their young players and I can see Brown playing a good amount of the season in the G-League but making a jump into the rotation in year two.