Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, perhaps the biggest enigma of the 2022 NBA draft, is the subject of several rumors in Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider link).
Givony has Sharpe coming off the board at No. 7 to Portland, writing that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is believed to be a fan of the young guard, despite the fact that Sharpe is 12 years younger than Lillard and is on a “completely different timetable.”
A pair of teams picking later in the lottery may also have their sights set on Sharpe. The Thunder, who hold the No. 12 pick, continue to pursue trade-up opportunities, according to Givony, who says Sharpe and Jaden Ivey are among the players Oklahoma City appears to be targeting.
Meanwhile, Sharpe is also said to intrigue the Hornets if they trade up from No. 13, Givony writes, noting that the Kentucky guard surprised other teams when he opted to work out for Charlotte.
Here are a few more of the most interesting tidbits from Givony’s newest mock:
- Virtually every NBA team expects the Magic to select Jabari Smith first overall and would be surprised if they go in a different direction.
- The Kings are considered more likely to stand pat than to trade the No. 4 pick, but they’ve had discussions with almost every team behind them in the lottery and even some outside of the lottery, per Givony. Pacers wing Chris Duarte is among the possible trade targets the Kings have done their homework on, Givony adds.
- Surprisingly, Givony has heard the Suns are among the clubs exploring trade scenarios involving the Pelicans‘ No. 8 pick. Givony suggests Phoenix could potentially include a player like Cameron Johnson in its offer to help create more long-term cap flexibility to retain Deandre Ayton.
- There’s a widespread belief that the Knicks won’t end up picking at No. 11, Givony reports. they’re “aggressively” exploring scenarios in which they trade back or trade out of the first round.
- Rival teams believe the Cavaliers are high on Ousmane Dieng, though he could be off the board by No. 14, says Givony.
- Echoing multiple recent reports, Givony identifies Hawks big man John Collins as a major draft-day trade candidate. Givony goes a step further, suggesting that Collins could even be packaged with Kevin Huerter in a deal involving the Kings‘ No. 4 overall pick.
- The Bucks (No. 24) are eyeing older prospects who could help them win right away, such as Andrew Nembhard, Jake LaRavia, Christian Braun and Ismael Kamagate, according to Givony, who has heard from rival teams that Milwaukee has also conveyed some interest in trading up into the teens, possibly for a big man like Mark Williams and Walker Kessler.