On March 2, I began my journey to graduate from draft casual status and released my Draft Casual’s Big Board article in which I ranked my top thirty prospects in the 2022 NBA draft class. A few months later, I’m back with part two as promised. Since the first edition, I’ve done a lot more research, scouting around fifty new players.
Today, rather than ranking players 1-60 like a typical big board, I’ve divided the players into different tiers based on play type and projected role. Next to each player, I will also list their overall ranking on my board. Let’s get into it!
Tier 1: Franchise Cornerstones
The first tier includes the four players who I think are undoubtedly going to be very good in the NBA and who will be core pieces of whatever roster they join.
#1- Paolo Banchero (PF, Duke)
Banchero is the best player in this class. He has the highest chance of becoming a number one offensive option with his self-creation and passing skills that are atypical for a 6’10” guy. I think he’s destined for superstardom
#2- Jabari Smith Jr. (PF, Auburn)
Smith, who was the top guy on my original big board, has maybe the highest floor in the draft. His elite shooting and versatile defense will make him at least a high-level starter from the day he steps foot on an NBA court.
#3- Chet Holmgren (Big, Gonzaga)
The seven-footer from Gonzaga’s standout skill is his shot-blocking, and he will be able to slide in and anchor a defense from the get-go. What makes him a top-three pick though is his unique offensive game. He’s skilled on that end with a solid handle that allows him to drive and finish, and he can also hit the deep ball. While I’m not sure if he’ll be an All-Star, he’ll definitely be a very good player for a long time.
#4- Jaden Ivey (G, Purdue)
Ivey is often compared to Ja Morant for good reason- he’s a ridiculously explosive guard. He can beat anybody off the dribble and is a menace in transition. The star upside is obvious for Ivey which makes him a near-consensus top-five guy.
Tier 2: All-Stars
This tier is made up of guys who have realistic avenues to becoming All-Star level players but I wouldn’t quite consider building blocks for a rebuilding team.
#5- Shaedon Shape (Wing, Kentucky)
Sharpe is a 6’5” freak athlete with a smooth scoring game, and he has star written all over him. The one thing holding him back is that he didn’t play any college or foreign ball after high school, leaving him as a bit of a question mark for some. That doesn’t really scare me but there is a world where he becomes a bust and that’s why he isn’t tier one material for me.
#8- Nikola Jovic (G/F, Serbia)
Jovic is a 6’10” guard. He creates for himself and others, hitting stepbacks from range and dishing out sweet dimes. While he is somewhat raw and definitely has things to work on, the upside for a guy like Jovic is ridiculous which is why I’m higher on him than most.
#11- Jaden Hardy (G, G League Ignite)
Hardy is a very natural scorer off the bounce and he accompanies that with some solid playmaking. He’s been selected in the late first round in many mock drafts I’ve seen (Bucks range 👀), but I think he’s easily a lottery talent and will be a fantastic player at the next level.
#12- TyTy Washington (G, Kentucky)
I like Washington’s game because he’s built to be a lead guard in the NBA. He’s quick and crafty, scores from all three levels, and is a good playmaker. I specifically love his floater, which is an important shot for small guards. He could make an All-Star game one day if he really pops as a true point guard.
#13- Jalen Williams (Wing, Santa Clara)
While he is ranked by many as a late first-round talent, Williams is one of my favorite guys in this class. He’ll be able to contribute right away as a 3&D wing, but he’s also a good passer and can create his own shot which is why I think he could be an All-Star in the future.
Tier 3: Starters
Not everyone can be an All-Star, but there are a lot of guys in this draft who will be important contributors in various ways. Keegan Murray, a guy who has a shot at being picked top five, does literally everything well on the court. Dyson Daniels will be an excellent connector piece as a secondary playmaker. Bennedict Mathruin and AJ Griffin are great shooters. Jeremy Sochan is a fantastic defender. I’ve seen this group be referred to as weak, but I disagree as I think there are a lot of really solid non-star players.
#6- Keegan Murray (F, Iowa)
#7- Dyson Daniels (G, G League Ignite)
#9- Bennedict Mathurin (Wing, Arizona)
#10- Johnny Davis (G, Wisconsin)
#14- Jeremy Sochan (F, Baylor)
#15- AJ Griffin (F, Duke)
#16- Tari Eason (F, LSU)
#17- Jalen Duren (C, Memphis)
#19- Malaki Branham (Wing, Ohio St.)
#21- Mark Williams (C, Duke)
#24- Patrick Baldwin Jr. (F, UW Milwaukee)
#33- Ryan Rollins (G, Toledo)
#34- Jake LaRavia (F, Wake Forest)
#38- Dalen Terry (Wing, Arizona)
Tier 4: Boom-or-Bust
Every year there are very raw prospects that have high upside if they put everything together, and that’s no different in this class. Ousmane Dieng in particular is an intriguing player who falls under that category. During his time in the NBL, he showed small flashes of awesome point forward skills, but he has a lot to clean up. Blake Wesley was a very natural scorer in college, and if his shot creation carries over to the league he’ll be fantastic. Jean Montero and Dominick Barlow are the first-ever prospects from Overtime Elite, and it will be interesting to see how good they are in the league.
#18- Ousmane Dieng (G/F, France)
#20- Blake Wesley (Wing, Notre Dame)
#25- Jean Montero (PG, Overtime Elite)
#37- Leonard Miller (F, High School)
#48- Josh Minott (F, Memphis)
#49- Peyton Watson (F, UCLA)
#54- Dominick Barlow (F, Overtime Elite)
#63- John Butler (F, Florida St.)
Tier 5: Rotational Pieces
The largest tier on the list, this group includes every player who I think will play some sort of role in an NBA rotation. Kennedy Chandler, Trevor Keels, and Andrew Nembhard are quality backup point guards. Ochai Agbaji is perhaps the most NBA-ready guy in the class as an athletic 3&D forward that could fit well on any roster. Wendell Moore and Christian Braun are do-it-all wings. Christian Koloko and Isaiah Mobley are versatile defensive bigs. As I said before, I think this is a very deep bunch of incoming rookies.
#22- Kennedy Chandler (PG, Tennessee)
#23- Ochai Agbaji (Wing, Kansas)
#26- Kendall Brown (F, Baylor)
#27- Christian Koloko (C, Arizona)
#28- Wendell Moore (Wing, Duke)
#29- Christian Braun (F, Kansas)
#30- Bryce McGowens (Wing, Nebraska)
#31- Walker Kessler (C, Auburn)
#32- Marjon Beauchamp (F, G League Ignite)
#35- E.J. Liddell (F, Ohio St.)
#36- Trevor Keels (G, Duke)
#39- Jordan Hall (F, St. Joseph’s)
#40- Max Christie (G, Michigan St.)
#41- Keon Ellis (Wing, Alabama)
#42- Caleb Houstan (F, Michigan)
#43- Ismael Kamagate (C, France)
#44- Iverson Molinar (G, Mississippi St.)
#45- Dereon Seabron (F, NC State)
#46- Isaiah Mobley (Big, USC)
#49- JD Davison (PG, Alabama)
#50- Andrew Nembhard (G, Gonzaga)
#51- Alondes Williams (G, Wake Forest)
#54- Johnny Juzang (Wing, UCLA)
#55- Hyunjung Lee (F, Davidson)
#56- Trevion Williams (C, Purdue)
#57- Justin Lewis (F, Marquette)
#60- Julian Champagnie (F, St. John’s)
#61- Ron Harper Jr. (F, Rutgers)
Tier 6: Second Round Contributors
This tier is comprised of players who I don’t think will be consistent rotational pieces but will be able to contribute in some way. These guys will provide depth for teams in case of injury or foul trouble.
#52- Collin Gillespie (PG, Villanova)
#58- Jabari Walker (F, Colorado)
#59- Kameron McGusty (Wing, Miami)
#62- Tevin Brown (Wing, Murray St.)
#64- Scotty Pippen Jr. (PG, Vanderbilt)
#65- James Akinjo (PG, Baylor)
#66- Michael Foster Jr. (F, G League Ignite)
#67- David Roddy (F, Colorado St.)
#68- Jaylin Williams (C, Arkansas)
#72- Tyrese Martin (F, UConn)
#73- Tyson Etienne (G, Wichita St.)
#74- Darius Days (F, LSU)
Tier 7: Summer League Hoopers
Prospects in the seventh and final tier are guys who might not make it in the league but will hopefully have some fun performances in summer league.
#69- Kenneth Lofton Jr. (PF, Louisiana Tech)
#70- Jamaree Boyea (PG, San Francisco)
#71- Teddy Allen (Wing, New Mexico St.)
#75- Aminu Mohammed (G, Georgetown)
#76- Bryson Williams (F, Texas Tech)
#77- Zach Williamson (F, Loyola Chicago)
So that is part two of my draft casual series! Do you agree with my placements? Did I forget any prospects I should know about? Let me know! Thanks for reading, and see you after the draft for some grades!
(P.S. Sorry for the incredibly long wait between articles- my school year was wrapping up and I had to spend a lot of time studying for finals. Consistency will be back!)