2022 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Final first-round predictions and analysis

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 29: A general view of the board after the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on July 29, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 29: A general view of the board after the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on July 29, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) /
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2022 NBA Mock Draft
LAS VEGAS, NV – NOVEMBER 26: Chet Holmgren #34 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs reacts after being called for a foul against Paolo Banchero #5 of the Duke Blue Devils during the Continental Tire Challenge at T-Mobile Arena on November 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Duke won 84-81, 2022 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Final first-round predictions and analysis. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

As we inch closer to the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday, it’s time to deliver one last final first-round mock draft before the Orlando Magic are officially on the clock with the first-overall pick.

In what will be a memorable night for prospects that hear their name called and turn dreams into reality, this draft is expected to have plenty of drama, movement, and action all around. It seems like this will be the most unpredictable draft since 2013, so we could be in for a rollercoaster ride on the evening of June 23.

There are many intriguing prospects in this deep pool of players. In this mock, there will be no traded picks, even though there will most certainly be movement on draft night, as always. Talent, potential, team needs, and organizational fit will strongly be considered for each hypothetical pick.

Orlando Magic. Jabari Smith. 1. player. 38. . Power Forward

2022 NBA Mock Draft: 1. Jabari Smith Jr., Orlando Magic

School: Auburn

Height: 6’10”

Jabari Smith is an efficient three-level scorer and versatile defender with stellar upside on both ends of the floor that should result in him becoming the first-overall pick this year. Smith can offer the Orlando Magic much-needed shooting and a strong defensive presence with massive room for growth at the forward positions. The 19-year-old would be a perfect piece to add to Orlando’s young core.

player. 149. . Power Forward. Oklahoma City Thunder. Chet Holmgren. 2

2022 NBA Mock Draft: 2. Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder

School: Gonzaga

Height: 7’0″

Chet Holmgren is one of the most unique prospects as a tall, lengthy, skinny-framed forward who projects to be an elite interior defender and crafty scorer with insane versatility. It will take time for Holmgren to develop physically, but his timeline is ideal for an Oklahoma City Thunder team that’s clearly prioritizing their long-term future. Holmgren will be a fascinating project coming into the league but has the clear potential to become a two-way star in a couple of years.

169. . Power Forward. Houston Rockets. Paolo Banchero. 3. player

2022 NBA Mock Draft: 3. Paolo Banchero, Houston Rockets

School: Duke

Height: 6’10”

Paolo Banchero has the chance to become the best player to come out of this draft with his superior scoring ability at all three levels, superb strength and lateral quickness for his position on the defensive end, and a high motor with a winning mentality. The Duke star is pretty much a “lock” to land in Houston at this point. Banchero would form a lethal duo alongside promising guard Jalen Green for the Houston Rockets to build around moving forward.

84. . Point Guard. Sacramento Kings. Jaden Ivey. 4. player

2022 NBA Mock Draft: 4. Jaden Ivey, Sacramento Kings

School: Purdue

Height: 6’4″

As an explosive guard with incredible athleticism, attack-minded scoring prowess, and attractive playmaking abilities, Jaden Ivey has superstar potential in this league. The fit with the Sacramento Kings could be a bit awkward since they’re already heavily invested in guards De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell, but the Kings should take the best player available if they decide to keep the pick. Many teams such as the Wizards and Knicks have reportedly inquired about trading up for this pick with the intent of selecting Ivey, and the expectation is that Sacramento will listen to offers all the way up until they’re on the clock.

player. 64. . Small Forward. Detroit Pistons. Bennedict Mathurin. 5

2022 NBA Mock Draft: 5. Bennedict Mathurin, Detroit Pistons

School: Arizona

Height: 6’6″

Bennedict Mathurin projects to be an efficient shooter and solid defender on the wing at the NBA level. Mathurin’s upside will be higher on the offensive end as an explosive athlete with a nice touch and feel for the game. The Arizona product was a scoring machine and reliable perimeter defender in college and would excel in a similar role next to Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey with the Detroit Pistons.