NBA draft night is hugely exciting for pretty much everyone involved. For the draftees, it’s the culmination of a lifelong dream (and a hefty paycheck). For families, it’s a time of absolute pride. For fans, it’s a chance to dream of a future full of MVP awards and NBA titles. Some of the most entertaining reactions, however, come from NBA players following along at home, as they see who they’ll be playing once the season tips off.Imagine being on an NBA team that’s struggling to make the leap from also-ran to contender and finding out your front office drafted the absolute perfect complement to your playing style — or, conversely, seeing it just picked up your obvious replacement. The stakes — or the emotions — of old and new players alike absolutely could not be higher. The 2022 NBA draft was no different, as the drama started as soon as the NBA draft 2022: Taking a look at each of the 58 picks and first-round analysis
The NBA is welcoming its newest class of rookies to the league Thursday night during the 2022 draft from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.There were some surprises. It started at No. 1 when the Jabari Smith of Auburn, who was widely expected to go first, fell to the No. 3 spot and the Houston Rockets.Draft night also is always a time for trades, and this year is no different. The Oklahoma City Thunder made a trade of New Zealand Breakers for three future conditional first-round picks.In another draft-day trade, the Detroit Pistons in a three-team deal.And the Philadelphia 76ers reportedlyas part of trade to acquire De’Anthony Melton.USA TODAY Sports will recap the entire 2022 NBA draft with all 58 picks (two second-round picks were forfeited), plus pick-by-pick analysis from Jeff Zillgitt, Cydney Henderson, Matt Eppers and Larry Starks on each of the first-round selections.
. Orlando Magic: Paolo Banchero, Duke
The Magic need help on the offensive end. The team finished last season 28th in effective field goal percentage, 28th in free throw rate, 27th in offensive rebounding percentage and 23rd in turnover rate. Look no further than Paolo Banchero, who can add versality to the Magic’s offense with his physical tools (size, strength, speed) and on-court skills. He can pass, handle the ball, drive to the basket and finish near the rim and possesses solid footwork. He’s easily the most NBA-ready player among the top projected top five. The 6-10 Banchero averaged 17.2 points on 47.8% shooting from the field, in addition to 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals in his only season at Duke, which marked Mike Krzyzewski’ final season.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
Holmgren has immense potential, with an impressive all-around skillset for a modern NBA big man. With his elite rim protection and shot-blocking, he fills an immediate need for the Thunder as an interior defender. He has a versatile offensive game and has shown the ability to handle the ball, shoot from the outside and finish at the rim. Holmgren will need to add strength to reach his peak on offense, but the Thunder can give him time to develop behind top options Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey.
3. Houston Rockets: Jabari Smith, Auburn
Smith was widely expected to the No. 1 pick but instead went No. 3. He only worked out for the Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Smith averaged 42% on his 3-pointers (5.5 attempts), which could make him a good fit in Houston. At his size, he is difficult to defend. And he was also a quality defender at Auburn.
4. Sacramento Kings: Keegan Murray, Iowa
With a point guard in place with De’Aaron Fox, the Kings bypassed Jaden Ivey and took Murray, an efficient wing scorer. Murray, who improved significant from his freshman to sophomore seasons, averaged 23.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 55% from the field and 39.8% on 3-pointers. Murray, 21, is one of the oldest lottery picks and could have an immediate impact for Sacramento. Like Banchero, Murray is NBA-ready.
5. Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey, Purdue
Ivey only worked out for the Pistons and Magic. He uses his speed to blow by defenders, who will have a hard time slowing Ivey down in transition. He can explode into the lane similar to Ja Morant and has the bounce to finish. The son of Niele Ivey, the women’s basketball coach at Notre Dame and a former women’s college champion.
6. Indiana Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona
One of the biggest risers in the months leading up to the draft, Mathurin has the shooting touch and size to fill a 3-and-D role on the wing for the Pacers. Mathurin shot 42% from 3-point range in his final year at Arizona and flashed nice speed and athleticism. He can play off the ball next to Tyrese Hailburton and Chris Duarte, while helping boost a Pacers offense that was 18th in efficiency and 25th in 3-point shooting.
7. Portland Trail Blazers: Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky
Sharpe is one of the biggest mysteries in the draft. He enrolled at Kentucky in January, didn’t play a second for the Wildcats and once he was ruled eligible for the draft, he entered. While teams only had high school and AAU-type video on Sharpe, he is a gifted scorer with his jump shot and at the rim. He is an explosive leaper who loves to get out in transition and dunk. Wildcats coach John Calipari said that if Sharpe returned to Kentucky next season, he would be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft. Instead, he ends up the No. 7 pick and backcourt mate for Blazers star Damian Lillard.
1. Orlando Magic – Paolo Banchero, F, Duke
Banchero has been ourbecause he’s the best shot creator in the class at 6’10, 250 pounds. Banchero’s ball handling and live dribble passing ability is remarkable for someone with his frame. He’s also an excellent scorer who can finish with strength when he gets downhill, drain midrange shots from the elbow after creating space with his jab step, and bury defenders in the post with his power and touch. Banchero is only an average three-point shooter right now, and he’s not an elite run-and-jump athlete. There will be questions about his defensive translation, but his size and feel for the game should help him be at least average on that end. Where Banchero is really special is with the ball in his hands creating shots for himself and his teammate. The Magic have a nice stable of guards, but they don’t have anyone who profiles as the primary option on a team that can make a deep playoff run. Banchero can be that guy. After months of rumors that Jabari Smith Jr. would go No. 1 to Orlando, I think the Magic eventually landed on the right pick.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder – Chet Holmgren, C/F, Gonzaga
Holmgren was ourand feels like a great fit for the Thunder’s long-term rebuild. Oklahoma City already has two gifted young guards who can create good looks for others but have shaky outside shots in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Holmgren gives them a front court player with extreme length (7’6 wingspan), the ability to space the floor to three-point range on offense, and incredible shot-blocking skills on defense. He was one of the most productive players in the country as a freshman at Gonzaga, and has essentially aced every test he’s faced since first emerging as a top prospect in the high school ranks. It’s easy to question Holmgren’s translation because of his thin frame, but his tools, statistical output, and relentless motor makes him an easy player to bet on. The Thunder got a good one.
3. Houston Rockets – Jabari Smith Jr., F, Auburn
It’s easy to see the appeal of Smith: he might already be one of the best 6’10+ shooters in the world, and he’s a strong defender in space, as well.because he often struggles to create shots for himself and his teammates off the bounce. He only shot 43.5 percent on two-pointers this season, which feels way too low for a 6’10 player going in the top-three of the draft. The most interesting top-end outcome for Smith might be as an oversized wing defender a la Mikal Bridges — because he really is that good on his feet defensively. Smith can still become the best player in this class if he tightens his handle and gains more craft as an interior scorer. Smith probably has the highest floor of any player in the draft, but we have questions about his ceiling. Still, Smith feels like a great fit in Houston next to last year’s No. 3 overall pick Jalen Green. That’s a dynamic young pairing.
4. Sacramento Kings – Keegan Murray, F, Iowa
Keegan Murray is going to be a good NBA player for a long time. At 6’8, 220 pounds, Murray can rip three-pointers off movement, score in transition, and play solid team defense. At the same time, he feels like more of a “high floor” pick than a “high ceiling” pick — and the Kings need all the upside they can get. Jaden Ivey was the best player on the board and the Kings didn’t take him because of his fit with De’Aaron Fox. Drafting for fit is the wrong move for almost every team. Sacramento hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006 in large part because they are so inept in the draft. The Kings once passed on Luka Doncic to take Marvin Bagley III. Somehow, they’ve made another blunder by overthinking fit instead of just going with the best player on the board. WeHe just doesn’t have the upside to warrant this selection.
The Pistons found their franchise star in Cade Cunningham last year with the No. 1 overall pick. They never expected Jaden Ivey to still be on the board with the No. 5 pick in the draft, but good things happen when you select behind the Kings. Ivey is clearly the best available player on the board, and a great fit with Cunningham. The Purdue guard is the most athletic player in the draft, blessed with extreme speed in the open floor, incredible burst in the half court, and ridiculous leaping ability around the rim. One of Cunningham’s few weaknesses is he’s not an elite run-and-jump athlete. Getting a super fast guard like Ivey next to him is going to cause massive problems for opposing defenses for the next decade. Cunningham can take on the tougher defensive assignment and space the floor around Ivey’s drives. Ivey gets to the basket both in transition and against a set defense in a way that will make Cunningham’s life so much easier. The Pistons have an elite backcourt foundation moving forward.
The Pacers need star-power. They should have done everything possible to trade up for the hometown hero Jaden Ivey. They could have taken a swing for a high-upside wing like Shaedon Sharpe or AJ Griffin. Instead, the Pacers played it safe with Mathurin, a bouncy athlete, good three-point shooter, and awesome cutter who should fit nicely next to Tyrese Haliburton. himself and others off the dribble. We also have questions about how he translates defensively. Mathurin just feels a little one-dimensional to us with a loose handle and a lack of refined playmaking chops. How you feel about this pick probably comes down to how you feel about Mathurin’s defense. Ultimately, the Pacers are a team that badly needed to take an upside swing, and it feels like they left higher-ceiling options on the board.
Sharpe is the mystery man of this class after enrolling at Kentucky midseason as next year’s No. 1 and deciding not to play. He has a great frame for a shooting guard at nearly 6’6 with a 7-foot wingspan. He has ridiculous leaping ability, and can make plays way above the rim. He also has soft touch from three-point range. What else does Sharpe do? Who knows. His NBA debut will mark a full year since his most recent game. There will be major questions about Sharpe’s feel for the game, how he translates defensively, and what kind of passer he is. It sure seemed like he settled for tough shots too often against the high school level, even if those shots often went in. Still, we’re giving this pick a high grade because of Sharpe’s tools. With the right amount of patience and development, Sharpe can eventually be a really good player who does things you can’t teach. This is a nice upside swing by the Blazers even if it’s a risky pick.
Daniels is one of the best defensive players in this class as a 6’8 guard with quick feet, long arms, and the physicality to take on a variety of assignments. No one knew what to expect when the Australian entered the G League Ignite this year, but it quickly became evident he was going to be a lottery pick for doing all the little things teams need to win. Daniels plays with a high-motor every second he’s on the floor, and his offensive skill set is just starting to come into focus. Daniels is a good ball handler and passer in the open floor who loves to set up teammates. He got better as a three-point shooter as the year went on, but will still have to prove himself in that area. Daniels is weakest as a downhill scorer, but he can still have an impact without putting a ton of pressure on the rim. The Pelicans needed good defenders around Zion Williamson, and Daniels is the one of the best in the class.
Sochan is the best defensive forward in the class. At 6’9 with a 7-foot wingspan, Sochan is an incredibly disciplined defender who can wall off driving lanes, contest shots, and use his active hands to force takeaways. Sochan also has some skill with the ball in his hands, showing the ability to handle the rock and make easy passing reads. The big question in his game is his shooting ability, both from three-point range and the free throw line. If Sochan can become a league average shooter, he’s going to be a great pick for the Spurs. We’re not super optimistic on his offensive impact, but he’s so versatile defensively that he’ll most likely find a way to succeed either way.
Davis is a tough-minded guard who can excel at the point of attack defensively and provide 1-on-1 scoring punch with the ball in his hands. He was one of the very best players in college basketball as a sophomore at Wisconsin, overcoming poor spacing and the lack of NBA talent elsewhere on the roster to will them to a share of the conference title. Davis averaged nearly 20 points per game mostly on tough shots, whether it was midrange pull-ups, crafty finishes around the rim, or by posting up smaller guards. Davis is also excellent at navigating screens on defense and should be a nice complement to Bradley Beal on that end. Davis’ game isn’t always pretty, but he finds a way to get it done. We think he’ll improve on his 30 percent three-point stroke when he doesn’t have to carry such an immense burden offensively.
The Knicks sent this pick to the Thunder in return for multiple future first rounders. Dieng fits everything OKC wants: a young, long, toolsy wing who has no pressure to immediately contribute. Dieng is a 6’10 French forward who played for the New Zealand Breakers of the NBL and got better and better as the season went on. The appeal of Dieng of his ability to play out on the perimeter offensively with such great size. He can handle the ball a bit, and showed promise shooting it from three-point range. Defensively, he’s going to need to add strength to his frame, but has showed good rim protection instincts as the low man at times. Dieng might be a couple years away from contributing at the NBA level, but the Thunder are also a couple years away (at least) from competing. This is a good upside swing to take.
Williams was a three-year college player out of Santa Clara who was the biggest winner of the draft combine for his ridiculous measurements and impressive performance in the scrimmages. Williams is a 6’6 wing with an absurd 7’2 wingspan who shot 40 percent from three-point range and also graded out in the 90th percentile of pick-and-roll ball handling. The knock on Williams is his lack of elite quickness. While he did post excellent vertical leaping numbers, he’s someone who very much has to use crafty dribble moves to get where he wants on the floor. Williams’ advanced numbers were worse than you would like for a three-year lottery pick in a mid-major conference, which shows the impact of that lack of athleticism in our opinion. Still, the Thunder need wings and need shooting, and Williams checks both boxes. This is earlier than everyone expected him to go. Williams can contribute now while No. 11 pick Ousmane Dieng develops down the line.
2022 NBA Draft scouting report: Ousmane Dieng
Ousmane Dieng is a versatile wing who played for the New Zealand Breakers in the 2021-22 NBL season. He has real offensive upside as he has a lot of tools, both physical and skill-based. He is the type of shoot, handle, and pass prospect that certain front offices might value highly. At 19-years-old, Dieng shows a lot of potential coming into the NBA.In his limited time in the NBL, Dieng proved to be an exciting playmaker in both the half-court and transition. He consistently used his 7’ wingspan to sling passes around defenders, and he has a surprisingly smooth handle for his size. His offensive feel and awareness jumps out on the tape, and he has a little flashiness in his game that is quite easy on the eyes. That same passing touch comes in handy around the basket too, as he can finish around contact with his length and is highly coordinated.His feel for the game extends to the other side of the floor. While Dieng is not a consistent defender today (we’ll get to that later), he does have the length and feel to make plays defensively. He has shown weak-side block potential and good rotational sense; and while he may not be the fastest, he’s not so slow to where he gets beat consistently. If he can bulk up on an NBA program, and learn to absorb contact, his two-way potential seems quite highHis shooting, similar to his defense, is not currently a plus skill at the NBA level. However, he did show upside as a catch-and-shoot (C&S) threat, and has a workable shooting form. If he can become a consistent shooting threat, he will see minutes. It’s probably the biggest swing factor for his upside. Right now, at 19 years old, Ousmane Dieng is going to get pushed around in the NBA. That said, his frame and build suggests that he should be able to gain size and weight as he matures. This bodes well for his two-way upside. Currently, he has not shown the ability to finish through contact, and relies a lot on floaters and runners to score around the rim. Defensively, he does well on rotations, because that allows him to move freely, but straight-up in the post, he does get bullied and won’t be able to stop a determined NBA finisher from scoring at the rim.You wonder if he runs into the issues where he can’t quite assert himself offensively, despite his talents as a playmaker. If he cannot rise up and finish through contact, or can’t shoot consistently from the outside, then his effectiveness becomes severely limited. There are very few guys at 6’ 10” in the NBA who are only out there to make plays for others, which is the only fully NBA-ready skill he has entering the draft.That said, if he is able to add size and weight to his frame, and he learns to absorb contact and assert himself on both sides of the floor, there is genuine starter potential here. Obviously, he has a lot to figure out, but he is well equipped to solve those challenges with the right franchise.It seems that Dieng could be available for the Hawks at #16 come draft night. Indeed, he does fit the general mold of what Travis Schlenk likes: shoot, handle, pass. The swing factors, namely adding weight and improving his shooting, are important. It’s my personal opinion (or preference) that the Hawks should target someone who can quickly make an impact at the highest level, and Dieng might not get there for a few years.In a vacuum, Dieng is a great pick with upside, who has all the opportunity to become a valuable wing in a league that has been trending towards his archetype. He will be better served going to a franchise who will give him the time and space to figure out and expand his game. It’s debatable if the Hawks are looking for that type of commitment. If Dieng is available at #16, he very well might be the best player on the board, but he might not be the best option for the Hawks.