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2022 NBA Draft: Big Board V. 1 at end of the college season

The Detroit Pistons currently have top odds at landing the first pick

2021 NBA Draft Photo by Kostas Lymperopoulos/NBAE via Getty Images

Now that the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball season has come to a close and conference tournaments are starting up, I wanted to drop my first official NBA Draft Big Board for readers to think ever more about this upcoming draft. While I will not go into full detail about every player, I will try to block off my version of tiers here and comment at the end of each about one or two guys in that specific tier. I will also be doing individual breakdowns for as many of these guys as I can between now and the draft.

Also, my tiers are as follows: Game Changers, Solid Role Players with Plus Potential, Have at least ONE skill that can make them an NBA vet, Major Potential, Major Concerns, and Positive Contributor to the Rotation.

Game Changers are the top prospects who I believe has all-star or all-NBA level potential in their games. This tier is ranked in order I believe these players should be drafted. All my other tiers I see as fluid—meaning the order is how I personally would draft them, but also could be talked into a different order as all the guys in that tier I see as being on the same talent level.

Solid Role Players with Plus Potential are guys that I see having starter potential to fill a role to complement star players, but they do have one or two aspects to their game that is everything break right they could end up being a star themselves.

Have at least ONE skill that can make them an NBA vet are guys like Brandon Clarke or Wayne Ellington, who you find hard to pass up because they have at least one legitimate NBA skill that would encourage teams to choose them over other players with a less defined skillset, because like an Ellington or Clarke, this skill can keep them in any rotation on any team. Major Potential, Major Concerns are guys I can see have a ton of potential, but they also have something about their game that could keep them from even making it out of their rookie contract. And, Positive Contributor to the Rotation are guys I see ending up in a rotation and providing some kind or support for a team (this is different from the role player tier in that rotation guys have less starter potential due to more holes in their game).

Before we dive in, please not these are MY RANKINGS AND MY RANKINGS alone and the rest of the DBB staff has different opinions on these guys than I do. So please direct all hate or love at me and me alone when looking over this list. So, with that out of the way, let’s dive into the board!

Miami v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Game Changers

1. Jabari Smith, PF/C Auburn

2. Paolo Banchero, PF/C Duke

3. AJ Griffin, SF/SG Duke

4. Johnny Davis, SG/PG Wisconsin

I will bang the AJ Griffin drum all draft season, as the 6-foot-6, 222-pound wing is the type of shooter and physical specimen on which the Pistons should be taking a chance. For one, he finished the year shooting 48.3% from three taking 120 three-point attempts (he was two more makes from 50% on the season). He also shot 68% at the rim so he has a fantastic foundation to begin developing alongside Cade and Saddiq.

And I continue to see Johnny Davis as the Devin Booker to Cade’s CP3 in terms of fit. Or if you want to go old school, Johnny and Cade could be Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. Both Davis and Cade are high-level scorers that know how to play with others and could find each other for easy buckets. Cade drains jumpers and Davis draws the fouls (he took 174 attempts from the charity stripe this year). Maybe not Run TMC yet, but definitely the start of a DC (Davis and Cade) Universe here in the Motor City.

Saint Mary’s v Gonzaga Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Solid Role Players with Plus Potential

5. Nikola Jovic, SF/PF Mega Bemax

6. Bennedict Mathurin, SG/SF Arizona

7. Jaden Ivey, SG/PG Purdue

8. Chet Holmgren, C/PF Gonzaga

9. Tari Eason, PF/C LSU

10. TyTy Wasington, PG/SG Kentucky

11. Jalen Duren, C Memphis

12. Keegan Murray, PF/SF Iowa

13. Bryce McGowens, SG/SF Nebraska

14. Kendall Brown, PF/SF Baylor

15. Walker Kessler, C Auburn

16. Harrison Ingram, PF/SF Stanford

17. Ochai Agbaji, SG/SF Kansas

18. Malakai Branham, SG/SF Ohio State

I remain high on Jovic as there are incredibly few 6-foot-10, 205-pound human beings who can operate as a pick-and-roll ball handler as well as their professional team’s main floor spacer. He is second on his team in points and assists while he leads the team in three-point attempts and free throw attempts. Defensively he is bad, no way around it, but he will be someone I return to for an individual breakdown.

Yes. Yes. I see Ivey and Holmgren there. No, that is not a typo. I understand why both guys are considered top-4 locks, but I have major reservations with both. Ivey has struggled to keep his free throw-percentage above 70% all season, and he has almost NO midrange game. Not bad if he is a shooting guard, but absolutely killer if he is a point guard like many want him to be.

And Chet is more about not facing any competition near his length as well as the fact he doesn’t create his own shot or do enough big-man stuff for my liking. It is rare Chet actually had to deal with someone 6-foot-8 or taller all year as teammate Drew Timme draws every opposing center’s attention this year. He also does not do enough off the bounce, in my opinion, to warrant consideration this high, and he almost NEVER sets screens, so it is impossible to know how effective he can be at that vital skill. If he’s NOT setting screens and he CAN’T create his own shot, is that worth a top-4 pick? I admit this is the one eval I feel the shakiest on, but I feel even shakier betting on a sub-200-pound player to be the anchor of an NBA defense because that is what he HAS to be if you are betting on him over a lot of these other guys.

Iowa State v Baylor Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Have at least ONE skill that can make them an NBA vet

19. Max Christie, SG/SF Michigan State

20. Jaden Hardy, SG/PG G League Ignite

21. Caleb Houstan, SF/SG Michigan

22. Alondes Williams, PG/SG Wake Forest

23. Jeremy Sochan, PF/SF Baylor

24. Blake Wesley, SG/PG Notre Dame

25. Dyson Daniels, PG/SG G League Ignite

26. Jaylin Williams, C/PF Arkansas

27. MarJon Beauchamp, PF/SF G League Ignite

I LOVE Max Christie, but I fear he may be one of the first names to be removed from the board, because he most likely needs to return to school to secure a better draft position in 2023. Michigan State really struggled in the second half of the year, and Christie is under 10 points per game, shooting only 31% from three, and averaging just 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He would still get the upside gamble at the end of round one if he entered in my opinion, but without a major Sparty tournament run with him at the helm, it’s hard to see Christie’s stock improving beyond this.

Another guy that is a question mark to other evaluators in this tier, Alondes Williams is someone I really believe in being a great scoring punch at the next level. For me, the pitch on him is 6’5” 201 pound Reggie Jackson. Like our old Pistons’ point guard pal, Williams WILL get to the rim no and finish no matter what, he WILL get his teammates easy looks and drop plenty of dimes, but he will also dribble the air out of the ball too at times. Still, at this size, with this skillset as a legit point guard, it would be hard for me to pass up.

Milwaukee v Florida Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Major Potential, Major Concerns

28. Yannick Nzosa, C/PF Unicaja (Spain ACB)

29. JD Davison, PG/SG Alabama

30. Jean Montero, PG/SG Overtime Elite

31. Patrick Baldwin Jr., PF/SF Milwaukee

32. Peyton Watson, SF/PG UCLA

Oh boy. This tier is particularly challenging this year as we have guys who did not play enough in Nzosa and Watson, guys who woefully underperformed expectations in PBJ and Davison, and the cloud of Overtime Elite hanging over Montero (the link out to his stats is thanks to Matt Pennie, who had to physically be AT their facility and ask for them). I CANNOT rank these guys any lower as their talent warrants them to be here at the very least, but they are going to be incredibly hard to nail down because what we can see on tape or in the stat sheet is very minimal.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 14 Atlantic 10 Tournament - VCU v St. Bonaventure Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Positive Contributor to the Rotation

33. David Roddy, PF/C Colorado State

34. Johnny Juzang, SF/SG UCLA

35. Vince Williams Jr. SG/SF VCU

36. Gabe Brown, SF/SG Michigan State

37. Isaiah Mobley, C/PF USC

38. Pete Nance, C/PF Northwestern

39. Julian Champagnie, PF/C St. John’s

40. Kennedy Chandler, PG Tennessee

41. Ismaël Kamagate, C Paris Basket

42. Christian Koloko, C Arizona

43. Justin Lewis, SF/PF Marquette

44. Hugo Besson, SG/PG New Zealand Breakers

45. Caleb Love, SG/PG North Carolina

46. Mark Williams, C Duke

47. Hyunjung Lee, SF/SG Davidson

48. Darius Days, PF/C LSU

49. Wendell Moore Jr., SG/SF Duke

50. Daimion Collins, C/PF Kentucky

51. Jordan Hall, SG/SF Saint. Joseph’s

52. Collin Gillespie, PG Villanova

53. Christian Braun, SG/SF Kansas

54. Ibou Badji, C Força Lleida CE

55. Orlando Robinson, C Fresno State

56. EJ Liddell, PF/C Ohio State

57. Sasha Stefanovic, SF/SG Purdue

58. Oscar Tshiebwe, C Kentucky

59. Trevor Keels, SG/SF Duke

60. Trevion Williams, C/PF Purdue

If there was ONE guy from this group I could fight for round 1 consideration, it is Vince Williams Jr. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound wing out of VCU is a fantastic defender and has shot above 37% from three the past two season. As we are ALWAYS looking for the next great three-and-D guy, Williams is a fantastic investment to be just that.

Last but not least, there are a ton of intriguing big men here in round 2. Kamagate provides energy and athleticism. Mobley (Evan’s older brother) is a solid shooter and awesome passer. Pete Nance is a BUCKET who can score at all three levels. Badji is an amazing athlete at 7’1”. Orlando Robinson is physical with an awesome elbow jumper. Tshiebwe rebounds EVERYTHING. And Trevion Williams is one of the best passers in all of college basketball regardless of position.

Thank you all so much for taking time out of your day to read this and all of our work here at DBB. Let us know what you think of my rankings in the comments below and PLEASE share your own personal big boards. If there are certain players you are higher or lower on than the consensus too, PLEASE share it with us here. And Happy March Madness to all! Here’s hoping to a fantastic tournament this year.