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2022 NBA Draft: Detroit Bad Boys Staff Big Board: Vol. 1

We asked the DBB staff to rank the players who would make their current NBA draft lottery.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

It is the eve of March, and that means that March Madness is almost upon us. For Detroit Pistons fans, that means a chance to pay a little closer attention to some of the top prospects in the upcoming NBA Draft. While the Pistons are a on a three-game winning streak, they are currently projected to finish with 21 wins and tie for last in the NBA along with the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic, per 538.

That means there is a good chance for a top-5 pick and a better than most chance of picking in the top 3. This NBA Draft is not nearly as heralded as last year’s, but there are plenty of intriguing names at the top of the draft lottery. You could hope the Pistons will embrace the insane length, efficiency and defense of Chet Holmgren, the premier scoring ability of Jabari Smith, the well-rounded game of Paolo Banchero or the unparalleled athleticism of Jaden Ivey. No matter where you fall, you’re probably heavily invested in the Pistons choosing wisely and not blowing this rare opportunity to draft a difference maker.

Detroit already looks like it has one of those in reigning No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, but it’s been clear throughout this season, Cade needs a running mate. Who should it be? That’s just what we asked the staff at Detroit Bad Boys who follow college basketball to varying degrees.

This collective effort is certainly no replacement for those heavily invested in college player and draft analysis like our own Steve, Scott and Laz enjoy bringing, but it puts our staff on the record for where we stand and why.

We did this last season, but are adding a new wrinkle this time around. This year, I a want to hear your thoughts, and our readers have an opportunity to fill out their own draft boards and provide their own analysis.

2022 NBA Draft Big Board: Detroit Bad Boys Staff Vol. 1

1. Jabari Smith

Tankathon Stats: 6’10”, 210 lbs, Freshman, 18.8 yrs
Averaging: 21.2 PTS 8.7 REB 2.3 AST 1.3 BLK 1.5 STL

The biggest difficulty for me is whether it makes sense to grab the most complete player with the highest range of skills or whether it makes sense to grab the perfect complement to Cade Cunningham. In the end, I would put Smith at 2 as a wingman to Cade. He has some holes in his game as a self-creator, but he is a lethal offensive force and that is something this team desperately needs. He also projects as a two-way player, which means even if his offensive game is one dimensional he will still be capable of maximizing his ceiling and being a very good NBA player. (Sean Corp)

If Jabari Smith was more athletic, he’d profile similarly to Anthony Edwards. Without it, he’s mostly a tough shot maker, though he does that at an elite level. He’s still a very good prospect, but Holmgren and Banchero have more complete games that make them better bets at the top of the draft. (tbd)

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at St. Mary’s Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

2. Chet Holmgren

Tankathon Stats: 7’0”, 195 lbs, Freshman, 19.8 yrs
Averaging: 19.3 PTS 13.0 REB 2.5 AST 4.7 BLK 0.9 STL

Holmgren is an analytics guru’s dream on offense, he shoots 74% on 2’s and after a shaky first couple of months, the 19 year-old has boosted his 3P% to 46% on 3.3 tries a game. On defense, Holmgren is arguably the best rim protector in college basketball. He compensates for a lack of strength by using his 7’5” wingspan, combined with elite defensive positioning and footwork to deter opponents. He has also shown an ability to defend on the perimeter when switched onto opposing ball handlers. (Jack Kelly - jacko7795)

I completely understand all of the concerns around durability with his frame AND we have to be careful about the Mobley comps because Chet does not have the same foot speed on the perimeter. With that said, does look like he is going to be a force defensively and I guess I am buying into the offensive skill level where he can grab and go and space the floor. I also love that everyone raves about his competitiveness. (MotorCityHoops - Bryce Simon)

Holmgren has been absolutely dominant to a degree that nearly always translates well to the NBA. In a draft without elite prospects at the top, he is the best bet to be a high-level NBA player. (tbd)

If Detroit ends up with the #1 pick, I anticipate the fan base will become very divided on the pick. For my money, give me Chet over Jabari and Paolo, though I’d be ecstatic with any of the three. After seeing how Evan Mobley’s game has translated to the NBA, I firmly believe Holmgren can have a similar impact. He’s not as quick laterally as Mobley, but I think he could protect the rim at a similar level. Combine that with his silky smooth jumper, and I’m confident saying he’s my guy, for now. (Jake Polack)

3. Paolo Banchero

Tankathon Stats: 6’10”, 250 lbs, Freshman, 19.3 yrs
Averaging: 19.0 PTS 9.2 REB 3.4 AST 1.1 BLK 1.2 STL

There is a lot to like, but I’m not sure how much there is to love here. That being said, maybe the fact that Banchero seems to be losing momentum points more to draft prognosticators (and those who follow them) outsmarting themselves and not being impressed enough with a 6-foot-10 forward who might be able to do it all on the offensive end. (Sean Corp)

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Minnesota Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

4. Jaden Ivey

Tankathon Stats: 6’4”, 200 lbs, Sophomore, 20.0 yrs
Averaging: 20.4 PTS 5.7 REB 3.6 AST 0.7 BLK 1.2 STL

While the excitement continues to trend towards the crop of elite bigs in this class, don’t sleep on the draft’s most exciting player. Ivey’s elite combination of speed and finishing should only improve with more spacing at the next level. His shot and playmaking ability could be more consistent but has improved since last season. Cade Cunningham has shown the ability to play well off the ball and having another penetrating lead guard would only open up more shots. I like their fit.( Austen Flores)

I am pretty close to putting Ivey in my “tier 1” with Chet, Jabari, and Paolo. I think the questions about him being a lead guard actually point to it making more sense to pairing him with Cade. The catch and shooting is good and love the idea of a backcourt mate with Cade that can pressure the rim. The biggest question for me is what will Ivey be on the defensive end in the NBA so Cade doesn’t have to guard opponents primary guard on the offensive end. (MotorCityHoops - Bryce Simon)

5. AJ Griffin

Tankathon Stats: 6’6”, 222 lbs, Freshman, 18.5 yrs
Averaging: 16.9 PTS 6.0 REB 1.8 AST 0.8 BLK 0.7 STL

Standing 6’6” and weighing in at 222 pounds, Griffin not only has the body of an ideal NBA wing, but he is currently shooting 51.6% from two-point range, 49.5% from three-point distance, and 73.3% from the Free Throw line. Some may wonder why he is number 3 for me when he is only averaging 9.7 points per game, but he has a profile similar to Jaren Jackson Jr. when you just look at production. His jump shooting is legit and he shines the more opportunities he’s been given as the season wears on (Steve Pelletier)

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Bennedict Mathurin

Tankathon Stats: 6’7”, 195 lbs, Sophomore, 19.7 yrs
Averaging: 19.4 PTS 6.5 REB 2.6 AST 0.4 BLK 1.1 STL

Mathurin can be a perfect running mate for Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey. With good size (6-foot-6) and high-level athleticism, he’s an explosive guard who can hit open shots from downtown and does not NEED the ball in his hands to be effective. His physical talents project for a potentially high-level defender, too, though that is still an area of improvement. He’s one of the most impactful players on one of the best teams in college basketball. His tools + production = a very good NBA player. (Brady Fredericksen)

Forget the last 6-6 Freshman Arizona wing taken at the top of the draft by Detroit - Mathurin projects to be a high impact player offensively. Mathurin continues to shoot well from 3, but can play down hill and high above the rim. Defensively, he had the ability to keep up fine at the next level but sometimes can show a lack of effort on that end. With him, I see a bouncier Harrison Barnes mold. The combination of athleticism and shooting should allow him to find a solid role in the NBA. (Austen Flores)

7. Shaedon Sharpe

Tankathon Stats: 6’5”, 200 lbs, Freshman, 18.8 yrs

Shaedon Sharpe is intriguing because he did not play at all in college. However, his high school tape gave us a lot to go on. He is an elite two-foot leaper, though he is not a great all-around athlete, and his shooting upside is impressive. He is one of the best tough shot-makers of his age that we have seen and his fit with Cade Cunningham would be perfect. He would be a bet to make if the Pistons get unlucky in the lottery and we want to bet on a nice fit with All-Star upside. (Bryce Hendricks)

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

8. Johnny Davis

6’5”, 196 lbs, Sophomore, 20.0 yrs
Averaging: 21.2 PTS 8.5 REB 2.4 AST 0.7 BLK 1.2 STL

Two things stand out to me about Johnny Davis: First, his production (currently 20/8/2) is buoyed by his ridiculous-for-a-college-guard free throw rate and the fact that he gets to shoot 16 times a game. Second, when you look at those shots, you rarely see any easy baskets in half-court settings. Johnny Davis scores the lunch-pail-iest, hard-hat-iest 20 a night in college basketball. But next to Cade, I want someone who makes scoring look like a vacation instead of 10 hours in the coal mine. (Lazarus Jackson)

Davis is a prototypical college star. He’s undersized (6-foot-4) and underwhelming as an athlete. He can shoot, pass and create offense, but it seems his big scoring numbers (21 points per game) are more the result of a lackluster roster than his true scoring ability. He feels like a safe pick, a guy who will contribute in the NBA for a long time, but not one who ever exceeds fringe starter/sixth man territory. (Brady Fredericksen)

9. Jalen Duren

Tankathon Stats: 6’11”, 250 lbs, Freshman, 18.3 yrs
Averaging: 16.8 PTS 10.5 REB 1.5 AST 3.3 BLK 1.2 STL

10. Keegan Murray

Tankathon Stats: 6’8”, 225 lbs, Sophomore, 21.5 yrs
Averaging: 27.0 PTS 9.6 REB 1.4 AST 2.3 BLK 1.5 STL

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

11. TyTy Washington

Tankathon Stats: 6’3”, 185 lbs, Freshman, 20.3 yrs
Averaging: 15.3 PTS 4.3 REB 5.0 AST 0.2 BLK 1.5 STL

Even though he has struggled in the month of February, Washington has shown the ability to score efficiently from all three levels on the court. The 20 year-old has been steady in his role as a secondary creator and is currently second on the team for points (12.4) and assists (4.1) per game. Ty Ty’s ideal fit is next to a bigger primary initiator, as he is capable of checking opposing PG’s. Although a tad small at 6’3”, whats not to like about a high IQ player that can score and facilitate? (Jack Kelly - jacko7795)

12. Kendall Brown

Tankathon Stats: 6’8”, 205 lbs, Freshman, 18.8 yrs
Averaging: 13.1 PTS 6.5 REB 2.6 AST 0.5 BLK 1.4 STL

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana State at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

13. Tari Eason

Tankathon Stats: 6’8”, 216 lbs, Sophomore, 20.8 yrs
Averaging: 24.5 PTS 10.2 REB 1.4 AST 1.6 BLK 2.9 STL

Tari Eason is someone who goes somewhat underrated in NBA draft spheres. His ball-handling for his size is elite and he flashes a lot of ancillary skills to complement that handle. He makes some interesting live dribble passes, he is slowly growing as a pull-up shooter, and his defensive playmaking is top of this class. He jumps passing lanes, bodies wings, and protects the rim. He is an interesting fit with Cade Cunningham and the rest of the Pistons roster as well. (Bryce Hendricks)

The stats are pretty wild (basically college Shawn Marion with way more free-throw attempts), and his combination of length, strength, quickness, and hustle remains a scarce commodity. The treys off the bounce are just functional enough to get excited about. I don’t know why LSU doesn’t run more pick-and-rolls with him as the roll man, but it might just be that their guards aren’t very good. Stats + tools + eye test make this an easy case outside of what is to me a clear top five. (Scott Wickett)

14. Nikola Jovic

Tankathon Stats: 6’10”, 209 lbs, International, 18.7 yrs
Averaging: 13.5 PTS 5.6 REB 4.4 AST 0.7 BLK 0.9 STL

A 6’10” 205 pound guard, Jovic handles the ball incredibly well for someone his size as well as pass and operate in pick-and-roll. He is also a good shooter who can attack off the dribble some. He has shown to be very incredibly versatile as well since he has different roles on his club team at Mega Bemax where he functions as their primary floor spacer and he was THE man on the Serbian team in this past FIBA U19 tournament leading his team in points and rebounds. He was also third in assists. (Steve Pelletier)

Also receiving votes: Dyson Daniels, Patrick Baldwin Jr., Walker Kessler, Mark Williams, Jaden Hardy, Kennedy Chandler, Jean Montero, Jeremy Sochan, MarJon Beauchamp, Wendell Moore

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