Big congrats to Kansas and all their fans as they are the 2022 NCAA Champions! I wanted to take a deeper dive into the NBA Draft now that the NCAA season is over, and update my Big Board as well. We aren’t to the stage of factoring in need/fit with the Detroit Pistons and Cade Cunningham quite yet, but that should be a minor factor considering it’s almost always the best idea to take the best player on the board.
Many, MANY thanks to everyone in the comments on Big Board V.1 as you all helped tremendously in checking my evals and helping me to reconsider quite a few guys. I did quite a bit of rewatching film on a few guys to see some of the things people were saying (spoiler alert Chet is one of them). My personal philosophy in life is you can learn from anyone and from anywhere so I try to remain as open to what you guys think while still maintaining my own pillars of basketball in the evals.
I also wanted to drop a big board that does go all the way to 100 because I would love to share the names of guys I think have something to offer the NBA, even if their names aren’t out there as much or their chances remain slimmer than the guys in the top 60. Plus it gave me more reason to watch more basketball!
Again, to reiterate, 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, Positive Contributor to the Rotation, and for the top 100 now we have the Undrafted Free Agent Tier.
Game Changers are the top prospects who I believe have All-Star or All-NBA potential in their games. This tier is ranked in order I believe these players should be drafted. All 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 if everything breaks 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 also something about their game that could keep them from even making it out of their rookie contract.
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).
The final tier is the Undrafted Free Agent Tier. While that seems pretty self-explanatory, I think of this tier as guys whose names I have heard little to no buzz on when it comes to NBA Draft communities here online, but they are guys I would NOT be surprised at all to hear stick around in the league a while. Think of guys like Ryan Arcidiacono, Yuta Watanabe, or most recently Jose Alvarado.
Before we dive into the list, remember these are MY rankings and mine alone so send all your hate or love my way as I am happy for either and love chopping it up on the NBA Draft!
Shoutout Rafael Barlowe who has been leading the charge for Paolo to be the consensus No. 1 guy this draft cycle. Also, recent Game Theory Podcasts with Sam Vecenie and Matt Pennie have lauded Mr. Banchero’s ability to drive the Duke offense and really be the ONLY consensus top guy in the NCAA tournament to show up and help his team every game to advance. For me, it boils down to Paolo PERHAPS being the only guy in this draft cycle who I feel confident can and will create his own offense as well as get his teammates open looks. I also feel that way about Johnny Davis (even though I know Laz... I mean many of you, don’t agree). The passing will take some work, but as PeeWeeDaPlug said recently on the DraftDaq Podcast, it is just too easy to make the Devin Booker comp when you watch him.
Solid Role Players with Plus Potential
4. Chet Holmgren, C/PF Gonzaga
5. AJ Griffin, SF/SG Duke
6. Bennedict Mathurin, SG/SF Arizona
7. Tari Eason, PF/C LSU
8. Jaden Ivey, SG/PG Purdue
9. Nikola Jovic, SF/PF Mega Bemax
10. Jalen Duren, C Memphis
11. TyTy Washington, PG/SG Kentucky
12. Keegan Murray, PF/SF Iowa
13. Bryce McGowens, SG/SF Nebraska
14. Kendall Brown, PF/SF Baylor
15. Jeremy Sochan, PF/SF Baylor
16. Harrison Ingram, PF/SF Stanford
17. Ochai Agbaji, SG/SF Kansas
18. Malaki Branham, SG/SF Ohio State
I know many feel Chet is the No. 1 guy in this draft cycle, and some even feel it should not be close, but I continue to disagree. What is UNDENIABLE about Chet is that his defensive impact is felt in every game. But it is also true that his offensive impact is not—something we saw over his final 12 games. The weight issues are overblown and in many cases ridiculous, as Chet has clearly shown he knows how to use his length better than anyone in this class. Circling back to Sam Vecenie and Matt Pennie, however, I think they had the best conversation about what his weight could mean without basing the ENTIRE evaluation around that one sliver of the entire evaluation. It is DEFINITELY worth a listen.
AJ Griffin is taking a bit of a tumble for me as injury concerns follow him and he is mainly a three-point shooter. While he is a FANTASTIC three-point shooter, he also doesn’t generate much offense on his own, create for others, and is look less athletic as the season wears on. This lack of athleticism seems to show up mostly on defense where he can look stiff at times. Still, in today’s NBA you bet on wings with upside and AJ certainly has that IF his medical reports come back clean.
Have at least ONE skill that can make them an NBA vet
19. Jaden Hardy, SG/PG G League Ignite
20. Walker Kessler, C Auburn
21. Caleb Houstan, SF/SG Michigan
22. Alondes Williams, PG/SG Wake Forest
23. Max Christie, SG/SF Michigan State
24. Wendell Moore Jr., SG/SF Duke
25. Blake Wesley, SG/PG Notre Dame
26. Dyson Daniels, PG/SG G League Ignite
27. Jaylin Williams, C/PF Arkansas
28. Justin Lewis, SF/PF Marquette
Speaking of a #WingBoost, Wendell Moore and Justin Lewis make the jump to this tier because of the wide array of skills they display AS WELL as the ability to play on the wing. At 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, Justin Lewis definitely has the size advantage, but Wendell Moore Jr. can do just about everything so he’s got the edge in skill. Lewis's 34.9% might not impress some, but he was doing a ton of heavy lifting as a scorer for Marquette taking 443 shots and scoring 537 points in the process—which, by the way, is 109 more shots and 122 more points than his next closest teammate. AND he pulled in 254 rebounds—which is an even more impressive 128 more rebounds than his 6-foot-10 center who started every game.
Moore Jr. similar impressed in the stats by being Duke’s leader in assists, steals while shooting 41.1% from three on 124 attempts. He’s also pulled in 199 rebounds which is third behind Paolo and Mark Williams. He boasts a 61.5% True Shooting percentage showing he knows as a role player he will NOT waste shots. He also plays fantastic defense and at 6-foot-5 tall and a stout 216 pounds, he is a true wing defender. It is hard to envision Moore Jr. not finding a role in the league with all of these skills.
Major Potential, Major Concerns
Well, I did not think I was going to be talking about Josh Minott, but here I am. The apple of Matt Pennie’s eye this draft cycle (and I am sure our own Chaz Malibu’s as well), Minott has #Tools but his stats are not going to wow anyone. Thank God for coach Adam Spinella who put together this scouting report on Mr. Minott to perfectly sum up his game and that is definitely a long-term project with great upside.
And, like I said last time, this tier is particularly difficult this draft cycle as a lot of these guys have not played or have stats and film that are hard to find. As our good friend ScottFL always says, “Drafting is hard.”
Positive Contributor to the Rotation
This MAY end up being the “Please Troy Weaver Don’t Spend a 1st Round Pick on a Center” tier for me personally as I feel there are plenty of intriguing options here in round 2. My personal favorite is the guy at the top of the tier here in David Roddy. He is a PJ Tucker at ceiling, Grant Williams floor at 6-foot-5 and 252 pounds. Colorado State’s leader in points, rebounds, blocks, free throw attempts, and three-point percentage Roddy is one of the most versatile guys in this draft class.
And even someone at the bottom of this tier in Trevion Williams is incredibly intriguing. Posting a team-high 34.1% assist percentage is the definition of an anomaly because you DO NOT see big men with this level of passing ability. To put this in context, the only other draft prospects here that come close to this are Kennedy Chandler at 32.3% and Alondes Williams at 31.2%. The rest of his game is going to be questioned, but he did show the ability to be a good roll man as well as his amazing court vision operating out of the post—low or high. Someone is going to see his film and figure out a way to use this as a mismatch.
Undrafted Free Agents
It is hard to just single out a few guys from this tier as there are many guys here I enjoy watching and others who are valued highly but other evaluators I respect, so in the issue of fairness I will select a guard, a wing, and a big man as the brief summaries here.
Terrence Shannon Jr. is one of my favorite players in all of college basketball cuz he can drop the hammer at any moment. In a perfect world, he SHOULD be a first-round pick with his athleticism and improved shooting. But he not only has injury concerns, but he has the dread back injury concerns which can be a killer to a player’s career. Still, when TJ did come back he shot 48.7% from three from February 1st until the end of the season. Definitely worth the game as UDFA call #1 in my opinion.
Ryan Rollins is a guy Corey Tulaba remains high on and someone Rafael Barlowe has gone on record as saying IS a first-round pick to him. He is a scouting difficulty for me as a bucket-getting guard that possesses neither great size at 6-foot-4, nor is he a standout shooter posting a 31.1% from three this season. Still, the Macomb, Michigan, native does possess shake as a ball-handler and is a mid-range savant as evident by his shot chart. It definitely shows why he is shooting 53.6% inside the arc.
Rounding out the 100 is my guy the Alaskan Assassin Kamaka Hepa. Originally a Shaka Smart recruit at Texas, Hepa finally got his chance to show what he can do on the court this season after transferring to Hawaii. At 6’9” tall and 220 pounds with shooting splits of 49.4/39.6/80.4 the Davis Bertans comparison is an easy one to make. Plus guys that size that can shoot that well are useful in any rotation in the NBA.
Thank you so much for making it all the way to the end here and for always supporting us here at DBB! Let us know what you think of my top 100 in the comments and let me know if there is anyone you think I might have missed. Always happy to chop it up when it comes to the NBA Draft and will start diving into individual player profiles very soon.