The 2022 NBA Draft is only a couple of months away. While all eyes are on the jampacked NBA Playoffs, lottery teams like the Indiana Pacers are sure to have already hopped on the draft wagon.
In our first mock draft, Alex Golden projected how the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft could unfold for all teams using the odds-based lottery order. For this second edition, we will be using a Tankathon simulator to spice things up.
2022 NBA Draft Mock 2.0: Picks 1-5
1. Oklahoma City Thunder – Paolo Banchero | PF | Duke | 6’10” | 250 LBS
The Oklahoma City Thunder have continued their rampant stream of draft picks in another rebuilding year, but Paolo Banchero’s all-around game and versatility at the 4, a position of need for OKC, could take them instantly from a bottom dweller to at least a play-in contender in the West should they attempt to be competitive next season.
2. Indiana Pacers – Jabari Smith | PF | Auburn | 6’10” | 210 LBS
No surprises here. I have already mentioned before why Jabari Smith should be the Pacers’ primary draft target, and this still holds true. There’s simply too much ceiling with Smith’s unique skillset that Indiana should never hesitate to grab him when he’s still on the board.
3. Houston Rockets – Chet Holmgren | PF/C | Gonzaga | 7’0” | 190 LBS
The Houston Rockets can afford to go with fit here. Luckily, Chet Holmgren doesn’t only fit them, but he arguably boasts the highest potential among all prospects in the draft. His physique may put off some, but the mystique as a uniquely mobile seven-footer with wing-like skills makes him a worthwhile gamble.
4. Orlando Magic – Jaden Ivey | SG | Purdue | 6’4” | 200 LBS
This is where it gets tricky for the Orlando Magic. Already having three quality young guards in Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, and Markelle Fultz, the Magic would probably prefer to pick a frontcourt piece. However, Jaden Ivey’s dynamic play as a designated scorer is too strong to sidestep. Pick the best player available and make the tough choices later, Orlando.
5. Detroit Pistons – Shaedon Sharpe | SG | Kentucky | 6’6” | 200 LBS
Like the Magic, the Detroit Pistons probably prefer a frontcourt prospect, but unlike them, they are still incentivized to pick a guard. Fortunately for them, Cade Cunningham needs another running mate in the backcourt, and Shaedon Sharpe has all the tools to be his ideal complement, if not co-star.