Both John Hollinger of The Athletic and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report recently released their final mock drafts ahead of tomorrow’s 2022 NBA draft. The divergence between the two starts at the top, with Hollinger projecting Chet Holmgren to go No. 1 overall to the Magic, while Wasserman takes the more common approach with Jabari Smith going to Orlando.
Hollinger notes that Orlando’s front office has shown an affinity for length in the past, and believes Holmgren’s tantalizing rim protection skills might be too enticing to pass up. Wasserman, on the other hand, says Holmgren’s thin frame and “slower delivery when creating” make some talent evaluators slightly nervous, and Smith’s age (he’s a year younger than Holmgren) and maturity make him a safer choice, plus Smith is considered to have as much upside as anyone in the draft.
There’s considerable overlap in several spots between the two mock drafts, but perhaps not in areas one might expect. For example, both mocks have Jaden Ivey going No. 4 to Sacramento, even though the guard hasn’t worked out for or been in contact Kings, and wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the prospect of joining the team in a media session earlier this week.
As Wasserman observes, the Kings didn’t work out Davion Mitchell or Tyrese Haliburton prior to drafting them with their two most recent lottery picks, so if Ivey is the top prospect on their board, don’t be surprised if he’s selected (Haliburton was traded to Indiana in February for Domantas Sabonis).
Both Hollinger and Wasserman have Wendell Moore Jr. going No. 22 to Memphis, which is interesting because he’s ranked No. 33 on ESPN’s big board, so that’s a pretty sizeable jump up. Hollinger also hears the Grizzlies are fans of Dalen Terry, who is No. 24 on ESPN’s board. Memphis is reportedly interested in moving up in the draft, as it controls the Nos. 29 and 47 picks in addition to No. 22.
Here are a few more draft-related notes:
- David Aldridge of The Athletic queried college coaches, scouts and NBA executives to get their anonymous opinions on the top-rated big men in the draft, including Holmgren, whom one Western Conference executive described as a “mystery.” “You just don’t know how he and the body are going to react to the next level of stress,” the exec said. “… His skill level is awesome, but who does he guard at the next level? What does he play? Hardest-working freshman ever at Gonzaga. Work ethic and intangibles are way better than what showed up on the court.”
- Shareef O’Neal, the son of Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal, said his father was against him leaving school early. “We kind of bump heads about this process,” Shareef said, per Kyle Goon of The Southern California Newsgroup. “He wanted me to stay in school. I wanted to better myself through this. He knows I’m working out with teams. But I’m not gonna lie, we ain’t talked about this.” Shareef isn’t ranked on ESPN’s board, so he’s considered likely to go undrafted.
- Nikola Jovic and Walker Kessler have become the 23rd and 24th prospects to receive green room invitations, sources tell Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links). Jovic is ranked No. 27 on ESPN’s board, while Kessler is No. 23.