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NBA mock draft 2022: Updated first round projection for 30 top prospects

SB Nation logo SB Nation 1/19/2022 Ricky O'Donnell

The 2022 NBA Draft class has a hard act to follow. The 2021 class always looked fantastic at the top, and that group of rookies has immediately shined in the NBA. Evan Mobley, Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, and Franz Wagner have each been terrific right away for their new teams.

This year’s class is not as strong or as deep. There’s a lack of shot creators at the top of the class because of a down year for freshman guards. The pandemic has also played a role in taking away valuable developmental time for players heading into college. The middle-to-end of the lottery still feels totally up for grabs, but five prospects have emerged to form a solid foundation at the top of the draft.

Team need was not taken into much consideration for this mock. Instead, this is a look at the 30 best prospects available in our view. The top three prospects each have a chance to go No. 1 overall. The emergence of Adrian Griffin Jr. and Jaden Ivey has added a necessary talent infusion to the rest of the class.

This is our first 2022 mock draft update since we published our initial board the day after last year’s draft. This is how we see the 2022 NBA Draft class right now.

1. Orlando Magic - Paolo Banchero, F/C, Duke

Banchero is the likeliest bet in this draft class to become a primary offensive option in the NBA. At 6’10, 250 pounds, Banchero combines raw power, advanced footwork, and soft shooting touch to form a dynamic scoring arsenal that should translate seamlessly to the next level. The freshman forward plays through contact better than any of his peers at the top of the class, showing the ability to get downhill as a ball handler, absorb contact at the rim, and finish once he gets there. At this point, Banchero often appears most comfortable as a mid-range scorer, when he can unleash jab steps and pump fakes to create separation and cleanly get into his pull-up jumper. He’s also a capable three-point shooter (34 percent on 47 attempts so far) who should be a catch-and-shoot threat (74th percentile on spot-ups) capable of spacing the floor off the ball.

Offensively, Banchero has a tendency to hold the ball at times. The highly enticing passing flashes he showed at the high school level have not fully come through during his brief college career just yet. Defensively, Banchero can be a tad slow moving backwards, and isn’t a great vertical leaper, but he has the combination of physical tools and quick hands to be solid on that end if he can refine his technique and become more disciplined. Banchero isn’t a no-brainer No. 1 pick, but his on-ball creation, deep scoring bag, and pro-ready frame make him both a safe selection and a player with a high ceiling.

2. Detroit Pistons - Chet Holmgren, F/C, Gonzaga

Chet Holmgren finished his high school career as the top-ranked player in his class, and he’s backed up that evaluation during a tremendous freshman season for a mighty Gonzaga team. The discourse around the 7-foot big man often centers around his ultra thin 195-pound frame, but it misses the toughness, motor, and competitive mindset that helps distinguish him. Holmgren is simply one of the best rim protector prospects to hit the draft over the last decade. He’s a ferocious shot blocker with great timing, instincts, and hand-eye coordination who can challenge a shot even if he gets bumped off his spot. He also shows impressive quickness to the ball in tight spaces, aided by a 7’5 wingspan that will be among the longest in the NBA.

The offense is more of a question mark for Holmgren, but there are plenty of encouraging signs. He’s a relentless finisher around the basket who is currently shooting 90 percent at the rim. He can space the floor with a 38 percent three-point stroke, and the ability to keep the ball moving as a passer. He’s also a good cutter who knows how to find seams in the defense. Holmgren can get lost at times in Gonzaga’s Drew Timme-centric offense, but his package of skills and tools should be an ideal fit for an NBA four who can eventually play the five as he adds muscle. If Holmgren continues to shoot it well, he’s simply one of the most impactful players in this class and deserves serious consideration for the No. 1 pick.

3. Houston Rockets - Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue

Jaden Ivey is in the midst of a breakout sophomore year at Purdue that has helped elevate his team to a national title contender while boosting his draft stock from fringe lottery pick to likely top-five selection. Ivey’s main appeal starts with the fact that no player in this draft class has better burst with the ball in his hands. The 6’4 guard is a blur with both his first step in the halfcourt and his transition attacking. He can consistently create advantages off the bounce by leveraging his speed, and he’s proven to be a very good finisher (71.4 percent shooting at the rim) once he gets deep penetration. One big knock on Ivey coming into the year was his three-point shooting, but he’s raised his percentage from 25.8 percent as a freshman to 43 percent as a sophomore so far. It’s possible that number is a bit overinflated because Ivey is a mid-to-low 70s free throw shooter, but there’s no denying his improvement in that area is real. Defensively, he uses his elite length (reported 6’10 wingspan) to smoother ball handlers and get out in transition.

Ivey is still very much more a two-guard than a point guard in my humble estimation, and needs to make major strides as a decision-maker to get there. He remains turnover prone and mostly makes only basic passing reads. He also has very little in-between game as a mid-range scorer and hasn’t yet mastered how to control his speeds to keep defenses off balance. If the shooting holds up, though, this mostly seems like low hanging fruit for the most physically gifted guard prospect in the class. Players in his mold are extremely valuable, and there’s no one else in this class that can match his unique gifts. Fit wasn’t taken into much consideration in this mock draft, and there’s certainly a chance Jabari Smith would fit better here given the presence of Jalen Green, but for now we like Ivey as a prospect a little bit more.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder - Jabari Smith Jr., F/C, Auburn

Jabari Smith Jr. already has a credible case as one of the best 6’10+ shooters alive at only 18 years old. The Auburn freshman is an absolute sniper from behind the three-point line with a high release, effortless range, and the numbers to back it up: he’s currently hitting 44 percent of his threes (on 86 attempts), 79 percent of his free throws, and ranks in the 93rd percentile of spot-up opportunities. His size and shooting makes him the most malleable player in this class and a seamlessly fit with a more ball dominant star. If Smith isn’t an elite defensive prospect on the other end, it certainly feels like he can hold his own. He’s light on his feet for a player his size and has plus length (7’2), showing the ability to challenge closeouts without getting burned off the dribble. He’ll be best spending most of his time next to a more traditional center who offers superior rebounding and shot-blocking.

For as tantalizing as Smith’s talent is, he still has a way of leaving you wanting a little more. He plays more like a big wing than a true front court player, often shying away from contact and showing issues finishing in close. His offensive arsenal is a bit handicapped by his lack of developed ball handling. While his rebounding numbers have been solid at Auburn, I wonder if some of that is because of center Walker Kessler doing most of the boxing out. Smith doesn’t create consistent offensive advantages off the bounce the way you’d like a potential top pick to do, but his elite shooting and plus length gives him a shot at going No. 1 overall.

5. Indiana Pacers - Adrian Griffin Jr., G, Duke

Griffin might have more variance than any top prospect in this draft class, both in terms of his production at Duke and how he’s evaluated by NBA scouts. That’s mostly because Griffin has barely played the last two years before arriving in Durham because of a high school knee injury and then a decision to join his father (Raptors assistant and 9-year NBA vet Adrian Griffin) in Tampa Bay last season during the pandemic. Even Coach K didn’t know what to do with his freshman wing in the early part of the year as he suffered another knee sprain: Griffin was completely out of the rotation for the Blue Devils for the early part of the year, but has since come on strong to flash the talent that made him someone we projected as a top-three pick coming into the year.

There’s plenty to like about Griffin when he’s actually on the floor. He has a huge frame for a wing that feels conservatively listed at 6’6, 220 pounds by the school. He’s shown incredible shot-making ability off the bounce dating back to his high school days, and he’s hit 44 percent of his threes in limited minutes at Duke this year. Griffin has also had flashes incredible athleticism on both ends so the floor, whether he’s walling up at the rim to contest a shot, making a quick defensive rotation, or launching himself into the air to attack the rim. The numbers don’t tell the whole story because of limited minutes, but Griffin’s size, shooting, and the athleticism remains extremely enticing. In a draft class mostly dominated by front court players, Griffin offers major upside on the wing even if it’s a risky bet.

6. New Orleans Pelicans - Jalen Duren, C, Memphis

Duren was considered by some outlets as the top prospect in the 2022 high school class before graduating early and joining head coach Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers. While Memphis has struggled to meet expectations so far, it’s not because of their freshman big man. While he’s a tad short for a center at 6’10 (and perhaps even 6’9), Duren otherwise has impressive physical tools for a center with a 7’5 wingspan and strong frame. He plays with impressive power at both ends of the floor despite being so young, showing the ability to get vertical and absorb contact at the rim defensively. He has good timing and instincts as a shot blocker with the numbers to prove it — currently, his 12.3 percent block rate ranks top-20 in America.

Offensively, he’s shown some impressive passing flashes. He’ll need to be a short roll playmaker and dribble-handoff hub to maximize his offensive value beyond being a lob target and putback threat on the glass. Duren does not stretch the floor to the three-point line at all, but he showed flashes of a face-up jumper from mid-range during his time on the Nike EYBL circuit. Duren isn’t the trendiest type of center prospect, but the agility he shows at his size is impressive and he’s only going to play with more power as he gets older. He should be a good NBA center even if he’s not the most exciting pick. A guard like Johnny Davis or a pure shooter like Patrick Baldwin Jr. would be a better fit for New Orleans, but we like Duren a little bit more in a vaccum.

7. San Antonio Spurs - Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin

No player in college basketball has done more help his draft stock this season than Davis. The 6’5 sophomore guard is responsible for several of the most impressive individual performances of the year, dropping 30 points against an excellent Houston team, 37 points on Jaden Ivey and Purdue, and 26 points against Keegan Murray and Iowa. Davis put himself on NBA radars with a solid freshman season, but he’s taken his game to another level this year and might end up winning National Player of the Year and solidifying his top-10 draft status in the process.

Davis lacks top-end athletic burst like Ivey, but he’s excellent at navigating ball screens and getting into his pull-up. He ranks in the 90th percentile as a pick-and-roll handler, and has burned defenders by rejecting screens all season. While he doesn’t always get all the way to the rim, Davis knows his spots and is advanced at shooting midrange off the dribble. He’s been solid at getting to the foul line all year, and he hits his free throws at an 80 percent clip. He’ll likely need to be can be more effective as an off-ball scorer against more athletic defenders at the next level, and so far his three-point shot as dipped a bit (33.3 percent) with a sky-high on-ball workload. For now, Davis projects as physical guard who can run pick-and-roll, hit pull-ups, get to the foul line, and battle on the perimeter defensively. In a class that majorly lacks elite one-and-done guards, Davis’ star turn has cemented his lottery status.

8. Sacramento Kings - Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee

Baldwin was considered a five-star recruit from early in his high school career and held scholarship offers from basically every school in America. Instead of going to Duke or Kentucky, he chose to play for his father in the Horizon League at Milwaukee. His status as a lottery pick is almost entirely resting on his pre-college sample right now, because it’s been a rough freshman debut for both himself and his team. After losing his senior season to an ankle injury, Baldwin has again faced injury issues at Milwaukee which have contributed to his struggles. While his numbers have been disappointing in a small college sample, there’s still a lot to like about Baldwin’s skill set and translation to the NBA.

The appeal of Baldwin is his intersection of size and elite shooting. A 6’10 forward with a clean release and deep range, Baldwin was an incredible three-point shooter at every level before a slow start (32 percent from deep) since entering Milwaukee. The best version of Baldwin isn’t just a pick-and-pop threat, but a movement shooter who commands serious defensive attention with just the threat of his jumper. While I’d still bet on Baldwin being a big-time shooter, his aversion to contact in the paint and lack of creation ability as a ball handler has been disappointing. Baldwin will never be a quick-twitch athlete which limits his defense, but he shouldn’t be a total liability because of his size. As long as he starts shooting like his reputation suggests, there should still be a spot in the lottery for Baldwin.

9. Atlanta Hawks - TyTy Washington, G, Kentucky

Washington skyrocketed up the high school rankings late in the senior year of high school to go from the top incoming recruit at Creighton to the top incoming recruit at Kentucky. The 6’3 guard has been Kentucky’s only freshman starter this season, and he’s emerged as a tough and productive scorer who should get looks in the lottery. Washington prefers to operate as a pull-up shooter from mid-range, and he’s been efficient on those looks all season. When veteran point guard Sahvir Wheeler went down with an injury, Washington entered the lineup and broke John Wall’s school record with 17 assists. He’s shooting 40 percent from three and has looked comfortable firing off the catch (80th percentile on spot-ups). It would be fascinating to see what Washington could do with a bigger workout on ball. John Calipari’s system has had a way of suppressing what some of his best freshman could do over the years (Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, and Tyler Herro stand out as examples), and it’s possible Washington will look even better in the NBA, particularly he he shows more comfort getting to the rim and firing from three.

10. Portland Trail Blazers - Ben Mathurin, G, Arizona

Mathurin’s breakout sophomore season has been the driving force behind Arizona’s surprising turn into one of the best teams in America. The 6’6 guard is a dynamic shooter off the catch, making 40 percent of his threes on significant volume through two college seasons. He gets serious elevation on his jump shot that helps him get off clean looks from a variety of angles. Mathurin is also a super smart cutter and excellent offensive rebounder for his size who has a way of finding scoring opportunity even when he doesn’t have the ball. The biggest knock on him is his lack of on-ball scoring juice, which limits his upside. He also might be a tad undersized for an NBA wing, though he does have a reported 6’9 wingspan. If Arizona keeps winning and Mathurin keeps getting buckets, it feels like he should carve out a spot in the late lottery at the very least.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves - Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame

Wesley was ranked outside just outside of the top-100 as an incoming recruit out of South Bend who decided to stay home and play for Notre Dame. No one expected him to be a one-and-done coming into the year, but he’s emerging as exactly that after a hot start. A 6’5 guard with a reported 6’11 wingspan, Wesley is a crafty ball handler who has shown some stunning scoring flashes in the pick-and-roll. He has good burst getting downhill, can utilize his length for finishing around the rim, and has unleashed an impressive floater. While his scoring efficiency at the rim has been a tad underwhelming (53 percent, per T-Rank), he’s been awesome on mid-range pull-ups and has mostly been around the mid-30s from three. Wesley’s shot creation ability feels like it’s among the best in the class at this point, but he’ll need to make serious strides making passing reads to fully leverage it. Wesley this high is my biggest hot take right now, so we’ll see if he continues to be this enticing as the year goes on.

12. New York Knicks - Keegan Murray, F, Iowa

Murray was totally off the radar as a recruit before emerging as a highly impactful freshman forward on Iowa midway through last season. Murray has officially taken the sophomore leap this season and has been among the most productive players in college basketball. At 6’8 with a 7-foot wingspan, Murray projects as a two-way forward who doesn’t need to hold the ball to make an impact. He’s been an elite transition scorer, has shown an ability to punish mismatches on the block, and is starting to make major strides as a spot-up shooter. Defensively, Murray gets off the floor quickly and uses his length to contest shots. It’s fair to be skeptical of his NBA translation because he’s a little older than many of this year’s top prospects and he’s getting so much of his offense in transition, but if the shooting improvement holds he feels like a 4/5 who brings a lot to table without taking much off it.

13. Boston Celtics - Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee

Chandler was a blue chip point guard recruit out of Memphis who was battle tested on some of the biggest stages before arriving at Tennessee. At 6-foot and 170 pounds, Chandler is a quick and shifty ball handler who will have to clear a high bar in terms of skill level to find sustained success in the NBA. There have been flashes of exactly that: he has extremely good hands defensively, makes solid passing reads in the pick-and-roll, and shown the ability to hit a pull-up jumper. Of course, a player as small as Chandler needs to be excellent at breaking down defenses and creating offense for himself and others to make up for his lack of size. Solving his mid-range scoring issues and developing a reliable floater would help immensely. While we didn’t factor fit into this mock, Chandler would be an excellent fit for a Boston team that desperately needs a talented playmaking point guard.

14. Toronto Raptors - Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite

Hardy was a consensus top-3 prospect in his graduating high school class who decided to follow the footsteps of Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga by opting for the G-League Ignite over college ball. Hardy’s lofty reputation was burnished by ridiculous flashes of shot-making ability with deep range both off the dribble and as a catch-and-shoot threat. To this point, his season in the G League underscored some of his worst tendencies while still producing a fair number of intriguing highlights. The 6’4 shooting guard has been woefully inefficient as a scorer this season, but the power and craft he shows in getting up shots shouldn’t be overlooked, especially given the competition he’s playing at such a young age. Scouts will want to see him either live up to his billing as a dynamo shooter, or start impacting the game in other areas. The best version of Hardy could be really dynamic scorer, but to this point he feels like a big gamble.

15. Oklahoma City Thunder - Kendall Brown, F, Baylor

Brown was the marquee recruit at Baylor coming into the year, and his productive start has helped keep the Bears near the top of the polls despite losing so much talent from last season. A 6’8 forward with a 6’10 wingspan, Brown has shown distinct strengths and weaknesses so far. He’s the most explosive leaper in the class and has been tremendous finding ways to score hyper-efficiently (70 percent true shooting) without holding the ball, mostly by being a great cutter and deadly transition threat. Brown has also had some intriguing passing flashes that only add to his reputation as a high-IQ offensive player. The issue with Brown is that he’s not really a scoring threat with the ball in his hands, and struggles to do anything off the bounce. He’s been a reluctant shooter so far this year, too. It feels like he should be a lockdown defender given his physical tools, but he too often has lapses off the ball that puts his processing on that end into question. For now, Brown feels like he could go anywhere from mid-lottery to the end of the first round depending on his season ends.

16. Memphis Grizzlies - Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite

Daniels is a 6’6 Australian wing who chose to play for the Ignite over college options in America and the NBL back home. He’s shown his skill as something of a jack-of-all-trades wing who projects as a plus defender with tantalizing playmaking flashes. Through the first 14 games of the season, Daniels boasts a 20.5 assist rate, 3 percent steal rate, and 2.25 block rate. He throws a few passes that stand out every time you watch the Ignite. The big hole in his skill set right now is as a shooter. He doesn’t shoot an easy ball from behind the three-point line, and he’s made only 13-of-51 attempts (25.5 percent) from deep. He offers good value in the middle of the first round if he can improve his shot.

17. Washington Wizards - Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite

A 6’3 guard from the Dominican Republic, Montero has been a staple on the youth international scene for the last couple years. He decided to leave his Spanish club Gran Canaria this year to pioneer the new Overtime Elite league. The unconventional route has made it difficult finding and contextualizing numbers on his performance, but there are tantalizing flashes all over his tape. Montero is a speedy point guard with a quick first step, flashy ball handling ability, and a nice floater. He’s not yet a reliable three-point shooter and will need to be to maximize his skill set. Kennedy Chandler vs. Montero should be a fun point guard debate as the draft nears.

18. Denver Nuggets - Tari Eason, F, LSU

Eason snuck into the back-end of the top-100 as a recruit out of Seattle and spent his freshman year as a nice bench piece for Cincinnati. He transferred to LSU this season and has flashed the type of talent that deserves looks in the first round — and maybe even the lottery. A 6’8 forward with a 7-foot wingspan, Eason is an explosive leaper who packs box scores with a hyper-aggressive style of play. The sophomore forward is leading LSU and scoring and blocked shots despite not starting a game so far. He’s a good rebounder, excellent secondary rim protector, and has some intriguing passing flashes. Eason also dunks everything around the rim. He’s not yet a reliable outside shooter — he’s 9-of-33 from deep to start the year — but there’s a lot to like here as an energy guy in the front court who attacks the rim and makes plays defensively.

19. Atlanta Hawks - Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor

A 6’9 forward with a 7-foot wingspan, Sochan has carved out a role as an energy big off the bench as a freshman on a loaded Baylor team. Sochan is a defensive-minded big who hits the glass, has active hands, and can provided supplemental shot blocking. He mostly scores on cuts and putbacks to this point, and teams will want to see him prove he can space the floor as a shooter. So far, Sochan is 12-of-34 (35 percent) from three, but he’s also only a 54 percent free throw shooter, so it’s tough to project him as a shooter moving forward.

20. Dallas Mavericks - Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia

A 6’10 Serbian forward playing for prospect incubator Mega Basket, Jovic possesses intriguing perimeter skills for a player his size. After a standout run in the FIBA U-19 World Cup this past summer, Jovic has continued his development as a face-up four who can hit three-pointers and put the ball on the floor. So far he’s shooting about 38 percent from three-point range, and he’s shown a comfort level taking pull-ups and attacking closeouts. Jovic’s defensive reputation remains poor, and he needs to add muscle to his frame, but his skill set is interesting enough to take a chance on in the first round.

21. Philadelphia 76ers - Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford

A 6’8 wing with a 7-foot wingspan, Ingram is leading Stanford in scoring and rebounding as a freshman and has the measurables to cut it as a rotation wing. While he’s not a high level athlete, Ingram has a nice looking jump shot that has gone in at a 34 percent clip from three-point range while making 79 percent of his free throws. He’s also shown some nice passing flashes with a 20 percent assist rate, and is a solid rebounder. He probably won’t be an impact defender but he should hold his own on that end. His combination of size and skills puts him firmly in the mix to be a one-and-done first round pick.

22. Milwaukee Bucks - MarJon Beauchamp, F, G League Ignite

Beauchamp was a top-50 recruit in the class of 2020 who took a year off to train after high school before landing on the G League Ignite this season. His development into a potential first round pick has been one of the most pleasant surprises of this cycle. A 6’7 wing with a reported 7-foot wingspan, Beaucamp has been an opportunistic and efficient scorer all season. He’s a good cutter and finisher around the basket, hits the glass hard, and has defensive versatility because of his length. Beaucamp is a reluctant and poor shooter at this stage (24 percent from three) and struggles to do much offensively off the bounce. If the shot comes around, though, he has very good size for a wing and does a lot of the little things coaches like.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers - Trevor Keels, G, Duke

Keels was a top-20 recruit who immediately put himself on the map at Duke with a breakout season opener against Kentucky, going for 25 points, three assists, and three steals on 9-of-14 shooting. He hasn’t touched those heights since, but he’s probably still done enough to end up as a one-and-done first round pick. A burly guard at 6’4, 220 pounds, Keels’ linebacker-style frame is the first thing that stands out about him. The Maryland native has active hands defensively with an impressive three percent steal rate, and can use his strength to bully smaller defenders on when he gets downhill on pick-and-roll drives. Keels had a reputation as a very good three-point shooter in high school, but that hasn’t translated so far (31 percent on 75 attempts). How he closes the season will be pivotal for his draft stock.

24. Houston Rockets - Ousmane Dieng, F, France

A skinny 6’9 wing, Dieng has had some impressive flashes for France as a youth player before going over to the NBL to play for the New Zealand Breakers. While he’s gotten off to an awfully slow start so far, Dieng’s flashes of playmaking, shooting, and defensive versatility are make him worth an upside flier. He badly needs to add strength to his frame and likely will need a few years before he’s ready to contribute. He could be a good pick for a Rockets team that is taking an extremely long-term view.

25. Miami Heat - Christian Braun, G, Kansas

Kansas is again one of the best teams in the country, and Braun and fellow wing Ochai Agbaji have each emerged into potential first round picks as upperclassmen. Braun is a 6’6 junior with a good track record as a shooter (nearly 37 percent for his career) who is also an explosive leaper capable of making plays in the open floor. He’s been an efficient scorer on a variety of different play types this year, and he has impressive defensive markers with a 3.8 percent block rate and 2.3 percent steal rate. In a world where Grayson Allen is a pretty valuable role player for the Bucks, Braun feels like he can slot in to a similar role if he finds the right fit.

26. Chicago Bulls - Caleb Houstan, F, Michigan

Michigan was hyped as a potential title contender coming into the year, with Houstan was hyped as a potential top-10 pick. Both have been a major disappointment to start the season. Houstan has failed to live up to his reputation as a monster defender and ace shooter, though there have been flashes of both. The former Montverde product is still getting up threes at an impressive clip if they’re not always falling (31 percent so far) and he’s hitting better than 80 percent from the foul line. Michigan’s conservative defensive scheme doesn’t produce many steals, so Houstan’s numbers are underwhelming there too. He also started the year with 28 turnovers to just 21 assists. Still, there remains an outline of a solid 3-and-D wing here who can make plays off the ball on both ends of the floor. His status as a first round pick is hanging on by a thread.

27. Memphis Grizzlies - Trevion Williams, C/F, Purdue

Williams was noted as one of the best college basketball players in the country heading into his senior season, and then suddenly found himself coming off the bench for a powerhouse Purdue squad. Williams’ selfless, team-first attitude should appeal to NBA teams, but there’s so much more to like where that came from. The 6’10, 250 pound big man is an incredible front court passer, whipping passes to cutters as the hub of the Boilermarkers’ offense and kick-starting transition opportunities with outlets. He’s also one of the nation’s most dominant rebounders, an efficient inside scorer, and a heady defender. Williams doesn’t look like the type of player the NBA typically goes for, but the skill level and production is worth a look in the late first or early second round.

28. Memphis Grizzlies - Wendell Moore, G, Duke

Once upon a time, Moore was considered a possible one-and-done first round pick, but he proceeded to have two underwhelming seasons at Duke. As a junior, Moore has finally emerged into the an elite college guard and the NBA prospect he was destined to be. Moore looks more quicker as a driver, significantly improved as a shooter, and more confident as a playmaker this season. A 6’5 guard with a 6’11 wingspan, Moore projects as a combo guard with a dribble/pass/shoot skill set who can hold his own defensively. There’s a spot in an NBA rotation for someone like that.

29. Golden State Warriors - EJ Liddell, C, Ohio State

Liddell has been one of the most productive players in America the last two seasons, and his decision to return to school for his junior years appears to be earning him new admirers in the NBA. While he’s a tad undersized for an NBA four at 6’7, Liddell has great length (near 7-foot wingspan) and a pro-ready frame at 240 pounds. He’s an efficiency inside scorer, a solid high-post passer, and has one of the best shot blocking rates (more than 10 percent) in this class. He’s also made major strides as a shooter and is hitting 39 percent of his threes this year. He projects as a dirty work forward in the NBA as long as his spot-up threes keep dropping.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder - Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas

Agbaji was redshirted his freshman year at Kansas until injuries forced Bill Self to insert him in the lineup mid-season. He’s been one of the Jayhawks’ top players ever since. Now a senior, Agbaji is having a tremendous season as a scoring guard who is taking his efficiency to new levels. Always an impressive athlete, Agbaji is now hitting 47 percent of his threes at a high volume of attempts. He fits the hold of an off-ball guard who spaces the floor and attacks closeouts in the NBA.

More names to watch:

  • Jordan Hall, F, St. Joseph’s
  • Hugo Besson, G, New Zealand Breakers
  • Julian Champagnie, F, St. John’s
  • Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia
  • Peyton Watson, F, UCLA
  • Alex Fudge, F, LSU
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