The 2021 NBA Draft has wrapped up and it is time to take an initial look at the next one. Many high school stars are making their way to play in college or professionally before hopefully being selected in 2022. Let’s take a look at a potential selection for the first round of next year’s draft.
1) Oklahoma City Thunder – Chet Holmgren – C, Gonzaga
Holmgren is the early favorite to be selected with the first overall pick next year. Holmgren is a versatile, shot-blocking big with a high ceiling. He will likely be a one-and-done for the Bulldogs if he can live up to the hype.
2) Houston Rockets – Paolo Banchero – PF, Duke
Banchero is headed to Duke next season and could also be selected with the first overall pick, but in this mock, he goes second. He is a strong forward who can play the four or the five. Banchero has good court vision and can knock down jumpers as well.
3) Orlando Magic – Jaden Hardy – SG, G League Ignite
Hardy is one of the best offensive talents in the 2022 class. He heads to the G League to show off his talent and be potentially selected in the top five of next year’s draft.
4) Cleveland Cavaliers – Adrian Griffin Jr. – SF, Duke
Two Duke players could be selected in the top five of next year’s draft. Griffin is an athletic forward with a strong frame. He has a nice shooting stroke and would be entering into the draft at just 18 years old.
5) Detroit Pistons – Nikola Jovic – PF, Mega Basket
The first international prospect gets selected with the fifth pick. Jovic is a forward that can handle the ball like a guard. Teams in the top five could take him and bet on his upside for the future.
6) Sacramento Kings – Jabari Smith – PF, Auburn
Smith could likely fall in the top five of the 2022 draft, but he falls just out of it in this mock. He is an athletic swing with good length and shooting ability. Smith is still raw on the defensive end but has the tools to become a good defender. His athleticism and upside will likely make him a top 10 pick next year.
7) San Antonio Spurs – Yannick Nzosa – C, Unicaja
Nzosa is a terrific defender due to his mobility and length. He is still raw and should look to improve his strength, but his ceiling is high and teams will look for upside when picking him.
8) Minnesota Timberwolves – Patrick Baldwin Jr. – SF, UW Milwaukee
Baldwin is headed to Milwaukee to play for his father, Pat Baldwin. He has a good frame and basketball IQ. Baldwin Jr. has the potential to become a good all-around forward if he improves his strength.
9) Washington Wizards – Caleb Houstan – SF, Michigan
Houstan is a terrific three-point shooter. He is improving his offensive versatility and strength, but his shooting ability alone could get him selected in the first round and if he improves the other areas of his game, he could become a top pick.
10) Charlotte Hornets – Roko Prkacin – PF, Cibona
Prkacin was projected to be an early second-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft before withdrawing. He is a good shot blocker and has versatility on offense. If he shows improvement over the next year, there is a strong chance he could be a lottery pick in 2022.
11) Chicago Bulls – Jaden Ivey – SG, Purdue
Ivey has already played a year for the Boilermakers, half of it coming off the bench. He is a tremendous athlete that can drive to the basket and play outstanding defense. His three-point shot needs work, but his athleticism and defense could make him a lottery pick next year.
12) Indiana Pacers – Peyton Watson – SF, UCLA
UCLA just made a final four appearance and Watson is headed to Westwood to join them with hopes of winning a national championship. He is a great athlete with good length and can make some electric finishes. He is improving as a shooter and could be a lottery pick in next year’s draft.
13) New York Knicks – Kennedy Chandler – PG, Tennessee
Although Chandler is just 6’1”, he has terrific handles. Chandler’s ball-handling along with his above-average passing ability and floater could lead him to be a lottery pick next year.
14) Memphis Grizzlies – Kendall Brown – SF, Baylor
Brown is an athletic wing with good defensive ability. He is a good passer and ball-handler but needs to work on his three-ball to solidify himself in the lottery.
15) New Orleans Pelicans – Mojave King – SG, 36ers
King is a tall guard at 6’5” and has no clear weaknesses. He has a smooth shooting stroke and can do almost everything on the basketball court at an average or above-average level.
16) Toronto Raptors – Daimion Collins – PF, Kentucky
Collins is a terrific shot-blocker who can take over Isaiah Jackson‘s role at Kentucky. He has shown flashes of shooting ability and could end up as a first-round pick next season if he lives up to expectations.
17) Portland Trail Blazers – Scoota Henderson – PG, G League Ignite
Henderson is headed to the G League to play with the Ignite next season. He is an explosive guard that finishes at the rim well. Henderson is a capable shooter but needs to improve his consistency. If he can prove lethal from beyond the arc, he could go much higher than 17 in next year’s draft.
18) Boston Celtics – AJ Griffin – SF, Duke
Griffin has good length and athleticism. He is also a solid defender and rebounder. If Griffin can improve his shooting consistency, he could become a lottery pick next year, but he falls out of it in this mock draft.
19) Houston Rockets (via MIA) – Matthew Cleveland – SF, Florida State
Cleveland is an athletic wing with good length and slashing ability. He has good potential as a defender due to his length and if he can bring it all together at Florida Stae, he could be selected much higher than 19.
20) Atlanta Hawks – Ousmane Dieng – SF, Breakers
Dieng is a terrific scorer at the forward position. He will have the chance to show off his skills in New Zealand with the Breakers and potentially become a first-round pick next year.
21) Dallas Mavericks – Bennedict Mathurin – SG, Arizona
Mathurin had a solid freshman year for the Wildcats showing off his three-point stroke. He is a good rebounder, athlete, and defender with decent upside. If he can show improvement next season with an increased role, he could be selected in the first round.
22) Oklahoma City Thunder (via LAC) – Moussa Diabate – PF, Michigan
Diabate is a great athlete with a high ceiling. He is a good passer but is still raw on both ends of the floor. A team in the back half of the first round could take a swing on his upside in 2022.
23) Denver Nuggets – Keyontae Johnson – SF, Florida
If Johnson is cleared to play again after he collapsed on the court, he could become a first-round pick. He is a physical wing and a high-energy player, the type of player every team wants to have.
24) Philadelphia 76ers – Max Christie – SG, Michigan State
Christie is a talented guard with upside if he can improve his strength. He is a quick athlete that can make pull-up jumpers at a high level. If he displays his talent well at Michigan State he could be taken much higher than 24, potentially in the top 10.
25) Memphis Grizzlies (via UTA) – Walker Kessler – C, North Carolina
Kessler is a solid center on both ends of the floor. On defense, he uses his size to make plays, and on offense, he uses his soft touch to score around the basket. His 7’1” height could be intriguing to teams at the end of the first round who are looking to add depth to their frontcourt.
26) Oklahoma City Thunder (via PHX) – JD Davidson – PG, Alabama
Davidson is an athletic guard with tremendous finishing ability. He is a decent shooter and passer with upside on the defensive end. Davidson heads to Alabama next with hopes of showcasing his talent to become a high draft pick next year.
27) Golden State Warriors – Harrison Ingram – SF, Stanford
Ingram is a versatile forward. He has good ball-handling ability and can play multiple positions. He is not an elite athlete but has solid athleticism he utilizes well. Ingram could boost his stock if he continues to improve at Stanford.
28) Milwaukee Bucks – TyTy Washington – PG, Kentucky
Washington is a quick guard with terrific handles. He is a good shooter and defender as well. If he can showcase his talent at Kentucky, he could end up become a lottery pick in the next draft.
29) Memphis Grizzlies (via LAL) – Jean Montero – PG, Overtime Elite
Montero is an athletic guard with good handles. He is a terrific shooter and a lethal offensive player. Montero is going to play in Overtime’s basketball league next season with hopes of becoming a top pick in 2022.
30) Brooklyn Nets – Michael Foster – PF, G League Ignite
Foster is another play choosing to become a professional instead of attending college. He is a great athlete with good size. Foster has shown the ability to shoot the ball and make electric plays above the rim. The high ceiling is in place for Foster and next year with the Ignite will be important for him to raise his draft stock higher in the first round.
Follow Kamran Nia on Twitter @kamran_nia
Main Image Credit:
From Google Images