It is finally that time of year. Last month, we looked at the lottery big board for the 2022 NBA Draft class. As every team is now beyond the halfway point, we have at least a predictive idea of where everyone will land. So today, we will pick the entire first round.
In the first 2022 NBA Mock Draft, how will the standings at the halfway point of the season shape the class’s first look?
2022 NBA Mock Draft: 1. Jabari Smith Jr., Auburn
One of the biggest risers for most people during the season so far has been the emergence of Jabari Smith Jr. Before the season started, Smith was not even considered a lottery pick, but he has come through and dominated so far. He profiles as a go-to option as a stretch four and could be a dominant two-way force.
2022 NBA Mock Draft: 2. Paolo Banchero, Duke
The Detroit Pistons could go in a number of directions here. However, as a Pistons fan, passing on someone who feels like he could be the second coming of Carmelo Anthony at number two again 19 years later is terrifying. Paolo Banchero is an astounding scorer and has the length and drive to defend with a little further development.
2022 NBA Mock Draft: 3. Chet Holmgren
For the Houston Rockets, Chet Holmgren pairs so well with their current core. He is a defensive culture changer with the theoretical ability to stretch the floor. He is currently averaging 3.3 blocks per game in just 24.9 minutes per game. Do not make the mistake of passing on a generational defensive big in back-to-back seasons.