2022 NBA Mock Draft, Picks & Predictions: Bets and Analysis for the Top 20 Prospects
Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren.
The NBA season is over, and the Golden State Warriors are champions once again. But we barely even have time to celebrate Steph and the gang, because NBA Draft week is already here.
The draft comes Thursday night, which means it’s time to read the tea leaves and put together one last mock draft before the real thing. But this isn’t just any top-20 mock draft — this is an NBA Betting Mock Draft.
I’ll run through the first 20 picks and assign a prospect to each slot based on scouting and intel from our Matt Moore and draft experts like Sam Vecenie, Jeremy Woo, and Jonathan Givony. But we won’t stop there. I’ll also make a correlated bet after each of the 20 picks. This is Action Network, after all.
20 picks. 20 correlated bets. Each labeled as a bet, lean, or pass.
Let’s mock and make some draft bets with our 2022 NBA Betting Mock Draft. You can also read a longer profile and how to bet each of these likely top-10 prospects right here at Action Network too:
- F Jabari Smith, Auburn
- F/C Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
- F Paolo Banchero, Duke
- G Jaden Ivey, Purdue
- F A.J. Griffin, Duke
- F Keegan Murray, Iowa
- G/F Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky
All odds listed as of Monday, June 20.
2022 NBA Mock Draft
No. 1 Magic — PF Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
Holmgren was my pick to the Magic at No. 1 on lottery night, and I’m sticking with the pick. It continues to look like a three-horse race at the top, and the odds have twisted and turned so much that it’s not even worth updating you because it’ll be outdated by the time you read this.
So why Holmgren at No. 1? First, because he fits Orlando GM John Hammond’s type of taking the longest, gangliest, gnarliest talent on the board — like Giannis Antetokounmpo — and rolling the dice. And second, because in the end, the evaluation I’ve done and the evaluators I trust most put Holmgren at the top of the class and that’s who you take at No. 1.
I wrote at length about Holmgren’s scouting profile and how to bet him. I still like him at No. 1 at almost any plus number, so I’m definitely playing at +330.
Lean: Chet Holmgren No. 1 pick (+330 Caesars)
No. 2 Thunder — PF Jabari Smith, Auburn
It sure feels like the Thunder will walk away with either Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith with the No. 2 pick, most likely whichever one is still available. Holmgren is the beanpole shot-blocking unicorn. Smith is the more identifiable NBA prospect, a long athletic scorer with a jumper to die for.
Smith feels close to a lock to go top-2, and I wrote about how to bet him. There’s not much Smith-specific betting value out there right now.
There might be some OKC value though. Remember, Sam Presti tends to dance to a different tune and do his own thing. He’s never been afraid to zig when everyone expects him to zag. What if Presti’s preferred big man is gone at No. 2? What if he’s fallen in love with another hyper-athletic guard, like Russell Westbrook, to lead his charge? I’ll make a small play on a long number here.
Bet: Jaden Ivey No. 2 pick (+4000 Bet365)
No. 3 Rockets — PF Paolo Banchero, Duke
The one pick that’s seemingly been locked in stone for a month, even more so than No. 1, has been Duke’s Paolo Banchero to the Rockets at No. 3. Of course, it’s smoke screen season, so now that it’s the week of the draft, Banchero is getting steamed as a possible No. 1 pick.
It’s possible Banchero goes in the top two, and the most likely scenario there is just Houston taking whichever big men drops, especially since the Rockets already showed their hand by dealing away center Christian Wood. But the most likely scenario is still Paolo coming to Houston — it’s just not likely enough to bother betting at this much juice.
No. 4 Kings — PG Jaden Ivey, Purdue
This draft is shockingly light on point guards, and it’s arguable whether Jaden Ivey is a point guard himself, but he’s certainly the best lead guard the draft has to offer. I’m not convinced Ivey measures up to the top guards in other recent drafts or even young players like Tyrese Maxey, but that doesn’t really matter because none of those guys are available in this draft.
Ivey remains the favorite to be drafted fourth and that makes sense. Remember, that doesn’t mean it has to be Sacramento. The Kings have been a likely trade destination, likely hoping for veteran help or a team looking to pay to move up for Ivey or a fallen big.
I’m actually willing to bet on Ivey, but I’ll do it in a unique way. I think there’s a decent chance Ivey goes somewhere in the top three, breaking up the presumed three bigs at the top. If that happens, one of the three has to fall to No. 4, and there’s one of the three that’s got the most obvious health and body questions if one has to fall. You never know with these things. This will be another small play for me.
Bet: Chet Holmgren No. 4 pick, +5500 FanDuel
No. 5 Pistons — SG Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona
For me, the draft really starts at No. 5. The three bigs will almost certainly be gone, and I’m expecting Jaden Ivey to go top-4, either by pick or trade. If he’s still there at No. 5, he’s a pretty good fit in Detroit.
But if Ivey is gone, this is where the draft really opens up. There’s a lot of talk of a presumed second tier of guys including Ivey, Keegan Murray, Benn Mathurin, and Dyson Daniels, but I’m not sure I buy a second tier that easily defined. Murray is the betting favorite to go fifth, but he would be the second oldest top-5 pick in nine drafts and the top of the draft is for young upside swings.
I expect Mathurin to be very much in play for Detroit. He’s a smooth three-level scorer with a silky jumper and real creation potential and finishing pop, and he’s a 16 gamer who can get his own shot anytime anywhere. That’s the exact sort of scorer the Pistons could use next to Cade Cunningham. This bet will also be a smaller play for me.
Bet: Bennedict Mathurin No. 5 pick (+1000 Caesars)
No. 6 Pacers — SG Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky
Again, the top of the draft is about youth and upside, and no player in the draft screams unknown upside quite like Shaedon Sharpe.
Indiana hasn’t had a top-nine pick since 1989. This franchise is shopping Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner and looking for a full reset, and a resetting team should take the biggest home run swing at the brightest talent left.
Sharpe is this draft’s great unknown, a tantalizing athlete with a gorgeous jumper and untapped potential. Teams near the top of the draft are there for a reason. The NBA is a star-driven league, and Sharpe might be the best chance at a star outside of the top-4 picks.
Bet: Shaedon Sharpe Under 7.5 (+135 DraftKings)
No. 7 Blazers — SF Keegan Murray, Iowa
Murray is, in many ways, the opposite of Shaedon Sharpe. He’s not young, not explosive athletically, and certainly not unknown. Keegan Murray is a known. He was one of the best players in college basketball, and he led the NCAA in scoring and many advanced metrics.
Murray is an obvious NBA combo forward in the mold of Tobias Harris or T.J. Warren, and it’d be a surprise if he didn’t become at least a quality rotation guy. But I’m betting against teams in the top-5 going all-in on a Tobias Harris rotation guy.
Murray is too well-regarded to fall much further than this, and a team like the Spurs might trade up for him if he gets this far. But with four of the top-five picks locked in, I’ll bet against Murray being the last piece of the puzzle when we’re getting such plus juice.
Bet: Keegan Murray Over 5.5 (+190 DraftKings)
No. 8 Pelicans — SG Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite
Daniels is the crown jewel of this year’s G League Ignite class. He’s a high IQ player with terrific size and passing ability, and he ran point for the team but is long enough to play on the wing, on or off the ball. Daniels is a good defender with terrific instincts, and he’s a versatile player who makes winning plays.
The shot and scoring is questionable, but Daniels does a little bit of everything else. Tall, young playmakers with a great feel for the game rarely feel, and Daniels continues to rise up draft boards.
His over/under opened somewhat shockingly at 6.5 and continues to sit there, meaning it’s time to take seriously the chance that Daniels could be drafted very early. This may actually be closer to his floor than his ceiling.
No. 9 Spurs — SG Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
Johnny Davis was one of the stars of college basketball this season. He’s a high IQ player who defends hard and can score at all three levels, with a deadly pull-up jumper and a game that should translate well to the highest level of half-court, playoff-setting type games.
Davis doesn’t have one signature skill, but it’s his rounded game that makes him such a likable prospect, and that all-around game has had him linked early and often to the Spurs.
I’d love to bet on Davis to the Spurs if we get odds for it. For now, let’s stick within the Big Ten, where we can bet on the first player drafted out of the conference. Davis and Murray have high floors, but I’ll bet on Ivey’s ceiling.
Bet: Jaden Ivey first Big Ten player drafted (-225 PointsBet)
No. 10 Wizards — SF A.J. Griffin, Duke
Griffin is a tough name to place because he has such a checkered injury history. His athleticism wasn’t the same this year, and the injuries have limited his developmental curve too.
If not for the injury, I suspect Griffin would be regarded as the top wing in the class. He’s a knockdown sharpshooter with an NBA body, a young scalable wing the sort of player every team in the league covets.
Griffin is a personal favorite, fourth on my overall board behind just those top three bigs, but it’s too hard to be confident in his medicals to bet strongly either way. An under-11.5 would be intriguing because Griffin is repped by the CAA and thus has very strong ties to the Knicks at No. 11.
Lean: A.J. Griffin under 10.5 (+210 DraftKings)
No. 11 Knicks — C Jalen Duren, Memphis
Duren entered the year as one of the top prospects and the top true center on the board, but his star has fallen a bit. Duren measured a bit smaller than expected and looks like more of a project beyond just the obvious lob threat.
Still, the raw athleticism and NBA-ready body are undeniable, and Duren has big-time raw talent that could translate on both ends. New York hasn’t had this tantalizing a big man since the days of Patrick Ewing.
I’m not sure I buy Duren as a top-10 pick anymore, but he makes a ton of sense as a Knicks swing with Mitchell Robinson potentially on his way out. I’ll take a small nibble on Duren here.
Bet: Jalen Duren over 10.5 (-105 PointsBet) | Jalen Duren first Knicks pick, (+950 PointsBet)
No. 12 Thunder — PF Ousmane Dieng, France
Ousmane Dieng used a late season push in New Zealand to firmly establish himself as the top international prospect. He needs to add strength to his wiry frame but reportedly grew an inch or two during his breakout season, and he’s a toolsy forward with big potential.
Matt Babcock is among those reporting that Dieng may have a guarantee, perhaps as early as the lottery, and Dieng was invited to the green room. The Thunder have a slew of picks and are the exact sort of team that likes to take upside swings on length and raw potential.
Bet: Ousmane Dieng first international player drafted (-500 PointsBet) | Lean: Ousmane Dieng top-10 pick (+450 DraftKings)
No. 13 Hornets — C Mark Williams, Duke
It seems pretty obvious that the Hornets will take a center with one of their two picks at Nos. 13 and 15, so if Duren is already gone, Mark Williams is a pretty easy choice here. He has a huge frame with vertical explosion, and he’s a monster shot blocker and an awesome lob threat for LaMelo Ball.
I don’t see a good Williams bet, so let’s go back to the well on another Dieng bet. I see Dieng’s floor at this point around the edge of the lottery, and that’s about where Ochai Agbaji’s ceiling seems to be with No. 14 at the top.
Bet: Ousmane Dieng to be drafted before Ochai Agbaji (-135 DraftKings)
No. 14 Cavs — SG Malaki Branham, Ohio State
The Cavs are set at guard and bigs but need wing help. Cleveland traded for Caris LeVert, and he’s a pretty solid comp for what Malaki Branham could one day become, maybe even something like Khris Middleton if things break right.
Branham exploded over the back half of the season with a reliable mid-range pull-up jumper, terrific pick-and-roll navigation, and surprising passing and creation ability. Cleveland would do well to keep the Buckeyes product in state.
Lean: Malaki Branham Under 14.5 (+110 DraftKings)
No. 15 Hornets — SG Ochai Agbaji, Kansas
The Hornets love to draft proven veteran players from blue-chip schools, so four-year senior and national champion Ochai Agbaji fits Charlotte to a tee. Agbaji should walk into wing minutes right away, and his knockdown jumper and projectable defense should theoretically slot onto any NBA team.
Still, Agbaji is already 22 and thus has limited upside. He’s a strong fit to the Cavs at No. 14 or here to the Hornets, but that feels like his ceiling.
Bet: Ochai Agbaji over 13.5 (-138 FanDuel)
No. 16 Hawks — PF Jeremy Sochan, Baylor
Sochan is one of the most unique players in the draft, and that also makes him incredibly difficult to project. Sochan fits the mold of players like Draymond Green, P.J. Tucker, and Grant Williams as an undersized but stout, tough, switchable forward who can defend multiple positions and -hopefully- play some small ball center when the game trends that way in the playoffs.
Sochan has a ton of defensive potential, but he could struggle to stay on the court offensively with a rough looking shot and a lack of lateral speed and questionable decision making. He’s a beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder player who could go top-10 or fall out of the top-20 altogether.
No. 17 Rockets — PF Tari Eason, LSU
Eason is a long, rangy forward with a mean defensive streak, and this feels like about the right range for him. Eason is a defensive playmaker who plays like an oversized wing offensively, though he has some real limitations both athletically and in his feel for the game. The Rockets have multiple picks and badly need the defensive help.
No. 18 Bulls — PG TyTy Washington, Kentucky
It’s tough to get a feel for Washington, a guy with a big high school pedigree who disappointed a bit at Kentucky. He showed nice touch in the paint and a reliable floater and pull-up but struggled to consistently get to the rim.
I won’t bet on Washington, but I’ll use this slot to fade another guy whose pedigree and buzz has faded. Jaden Hardy was a possible top-5 pick as this year’s G League Ignite leading scorer, but he never took off. Hardy shot 35% from the field and showed a serious lack of shot selection and feel for the game. He also measured small and isn’t exactly young.
Bet: Jaden Hardy Over 22.5 (-136 DraftKings)
No. 19 Timberwolves: SF Jalen Williams, Santa Clara
Unlike Washington and Hardy, Jalen Williams is a player on the rise. He was one of the big winners at the NBA Draft Combine, where he flashed his 3-and-D projections with outstanding feel for the game, good decision making, switchable defense, and a knockdown shot. He’s a clear first rounder and a ready-made NBA wing, just what the Wolves need.
Anthony Amico has Serbian big man Nikola Jovic in this spot in his latest mock draft based on the projection of a soft guarantee in the late teens, but I’ve heard nothing but negativity about Jovic in the draft process as teams question his athleticism and ability to translate to the NBA. He’s sliding.
Lean: Nikola Jovic over 20.5 (+120 PointsBet)
No. 20 Spurs — SF Kendall Brown, Baylor
Brown was potential top-10 pick early in the NCAA season but fell hard as the year went on. He looked lost offensively late in the year and has a rough shot profile on low volume — but I still believe.
Brown remains top-10 on my board. He’s a fluid, easy athlete with a comfy dribble and jolting athleticism, and his IQ pops on both ends. He feels like a blank slate 3-and-D wing with huge potential ready to develop in the right system that teaches him how to shoot and play ball. Sounds like the Spurs.
Lean: Kendall Brown first round pick (+250 DraftKings)
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