In his article about the 2022 NBA Draft Combine, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated says that while some rival teams think the Thunder will pick Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren No. 2, he’s heard “quite a few educated theories” that they might favor Duke’s Paolo Banchero instead — assuming the Magic take Auburn’s Jabari Smith No. 1, which isn’t a given.
Banchero is more physically ready for the NBA than Holmgren and has displayed impressive perimeter skills and passing for a power forward, but Oklahoma City plays its cards close to the vest, so don’t expect to know which player the Thunder will wind up picking until draft night, Woo writes.
Within the same piece, Woo says Shaedon Sharpe, who’s considered a wild card in the lottery due to not playing at all for Kentucky, is a near-certainty to be picked in the top five or six, as his “unusual talent and athletic ability has successfully captured the attention of the entire NBA this week.”
Woo also lists a handful of scrimmage standouts from Thursday who may have boosted their draft stocks, including North Carolina State’s Terquavion Smith, Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams, and Purdue’s Trevion Williams, among others.
Here are some more draft-related notes:
- Within his aggregate mock draft, HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto says rival executives believe the Hornets and Timberwolves are among the teams who might be draft traders. Charlotte controls the 13th, 15th and 45th picks, while Minnesota holds the 19th, 40th, 48th and 50th picks.
- Three juniors, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, Dayton’s Toumani Camara and Saint Louis’ Yuri Collins, are withdrawing from the draft and returning to their respective schools, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (All Twitter links). Jackson-Davis had a strong season for the Hoosiers in 2021/22, averaging 18.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. However, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to attend the combine, which may have contributed to his decision. He’s ranked No. 66 on ESPN’s big board, while Camara and Collins are unranked.
- Souley Boum has also withdrawn from the draft, as Rothstein relays (via Twitter). Boum played for UTEP last season, averaging 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals, but will transfer to Xavier for his final collegiate season.