With the 2021-22 season officially over with the Golden State Warriors claiming their seventh title in franchise history, all teams now have their sights set on the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft, which is slated less than a week from now.
The Indiana Pacers, owning their highest selection yet in more than 30 years, will be picking sixth as things currently stand, though that could change depending on possible moves that may transpire on or before draft day. The same can also be said for all teams in possession of their draft picks.
With just few days remaining before the selections are revealed, here is the fifth edition of our NBA Mock Draft where we project all the first-round picks for all teams.
2022 NBA Draft Mock 5.0 (Picks 1-3)
1. Orlando Magic – Jabari Smith | PF | Auburn | 6’10” | 210 LBS
With a massive chance to make a rapid franchise turnaround after a decade of mediocrity, the Orlando Magic should gun for the best clear-cut prospect in this draft. Jabari Smith fits that picture as a bona fide scoring forward who is great defensively, versatile, and possesses a tremendous, modern skill set that should set him up for numerous accolades in his career.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder – Chet Holmgren | PF/C | Gonzaga | 7’0” | 195 LBS
Picking Chet Holmgren is a tad riskier than picking Smith, but the intriguing big man easily has the highest upside among everyone in the draft. Concerns about his physique will certainly come knocking often, but he has an extraordinary mix of shooting, defense, passing, and scoring, making for one of the most unique players to ever come out of the NBA Draft. The rebuilding OKC Thunder should finally be able to get their franchise big man with the Gonzaga standout.
3. Houston Rockets – Paolo Banchero | PF | Duke | 6’10” | 250 LBS
Paolo Banchero measured up at 6″10 at the combine without shoes. Anyway, beyond his eye-popping physical tools, the Duke alum projects as a double-double machine whose prowess as a scorer and defender would normally make him an undisputed top pick in any other draft. Trading Christian Wood for, well, something should be a prelude to the Houston Rockets picking Banchero, right?