Now that we know the Pistons will be selecting fifth overall and we have a list of early entrants (many of whom are going through the combine as I write this), it’s time to revisit the Big Board. There are a few additions to this most recent version, as guys like Caleb Love and Jaime Jacquez Jr. opted to return to school.
There are still quite a few guys in this draft process that are testing the waters while maintaining their eligibility to return to school. All of these players will have until June 1, 2022 to decide whether they will remain in the 2022 NBA Draft or if they will return to school. After the June 1, 2022 Withdrawal Deadline, I will post my Final Big Board, since we will have the set list of who is going to go pro next season. For now, though, let’s get to the board as it stands today!
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
- Undrafted Free Agent
“Game Changers” are the top prospects, who I believe have All-Star or All-NBA potential in their games. This tier is ranked in the 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.
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!
Well...at least for me, I can still dream that the Pistons select one of the top 3 players in this draft.
All sad jokes aside though, IF one of Paolo, Jabari, or even Chet fell to the team at pick number 5 they would HAVE TO take them based off the pure value alone. Yes, I still am a Johnny Davis guy, but I do also acknowledge that when one of the consensus top guys falls into your lap you take them.
Think of past situations like Luka, Embiid, Bradley Beal, Kemba, and Boogie where they ended up ranked highly throughout the entire process, yet one or two things made them fall even ONE slot lower than where a lot of people would have taken them. NOT SAYING THIS WILL HAPPEN, but if it does, then you gotta learn from history right? Unless it ends up being something medical like Markelle Fultz, you don’t look that gift horse in the mouth, in my opinion.
Solid Role Players with Plus Potential
“Solid Role Players with Plus Potential” are guys that I see having starter potential. Guys who can fill a role to complement star players, but also have one or two aspects to their game that if everything breaks right, they could end up being a star themselves.
I want to welcome versatile University of Arizona guard Dalen Terry to the party.
Dalen Terry shows clear skills and showed at the University of Arizona he has the potential to fill a much needed role on every NBA team. Click on his name above and you will see what seems like a pedestrian stat-line. Yet, when you see Terry’s stat-line once Pac-12 play started, you see an awesome role player who IS a point guard. He still only managed to score 8.9 points per game, but in these 25 games he posted shooting splits of 58.7% from two-point distance, 41.1% from three-point range, and 72.1% from the Free Throw Line. He also managed to dish out 4.0 assists per game while keeping his turnovers to just 1.6 per game. That is absolutely anomalous, and gives a glimpse into the kind of connector he is on the floor.
Terry has Tayshaun-level role player potential, in my opinion, as he fills in the cracks of your lineup as the fifth starter. He will be someone I do a deeper breakdown on as he has holes in his shooting—Terry only took 77 threes and 53 Free Throw Attempts all year. The shooting may take time to come around, but at 6-foot 7.25 inches tall, 195 pound, with a 7-foot 0.75-inch wingspan AND the ability to play point guard, his defense and complementary skills on offense could pose matchup problems for the opposition every night. Imagine this guy next to Cade in the backcourt:
Have at least ONE skill that can make them an NBA vet
“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.
Two guys I have not written enough about throughout this whole process are Jaylin Williams of Arkansas and 2022 NCAA Champion Ochai Agbaji. Jaylin Williams measured six foot ten inches tall, weighed in at 236 pounds, and recorded a seven-foot one-inch wingspan at the NBA Combine. “Intelligent, with untapped potential” would be the best way to sum up Williams’s game.
His ability to draw charges is a good place to start when trying to encapsulate his intelligence. This past season saw him draw 54 charges in 37 games which equals out to 1.4 per game. Factor this in with Williams’s 1.1 blocks and 1.3 steals and you have an incredibly impactful defender who is always in position to make a play on defense.
His offense is still a work in progress with shooting FLASHES (17 of 71 from three-point range on the year) and as evidence by his 53.9% True Shooting Percentage he should not be given a heavy offensive load. Still, he did pull in 364 rebounds so he will do traditional big man things while working on expanding his offensive game.
If anyone has the chance of becoming a Chris Duarte-like riser as a prospect over the age of 21, it’s Agbaji. Like Duarte before him, he is a great shooter and efficient role player that is hard to envision not working out in the league. Some have tried to put the KCP comp on Bennedict Mathurin, I actually think it should be applied to Agbaji, who is a similar athlete and shooter who can do a LITTLE creating, but should not be relied upon to do so.
Some will question Agbaji’s shooting as he only had one season in college where he shot better than 69.4% from the free throw line. And, he shot 33.9% in his final 20 games this season, so he did wear down as they year progressed. Duarte went 13th, and I imagine teams outside the lottery will consider Agbaji no matter what due to his athleticism and the fact he did post 40.7% from three despite his second-half shooting struggles this year.
Major Potential, Major Concerns
“Major Potential, Major Concerns” are guys I can see who have a ton of potential but also have something about their game that could keep them from even making it out of their rookie contract.
Macomb, Michigan’s own continues to climb Big Boards everywhere! A shot creator with some playmaking and a fantastic pullup game in the midrange, Ryan Rollins does have the identifiable skills that the best NBA guards possess. Rollins sunk 99 of the 210 shots he took in the midrange, which translated to a fantastic 47 .1%, and he dished out 123 assists so he has the #Tools for the NBA Point Guard starter kit. Unfortunately, his three point shot and finishing at the rim were below average, as he went 47 of 151 from three this past season which put his percentage at 31.1%. His ability to finish at the rim was better going 86 of 135 for 63.5%, but that is still a tad below average and brings his athletic ability into question since these finishes are below the rim scoops and layups. Factor in the wildly differing opinions on his defense, and you see he is harder to get a read on, hence why he is in this tier.
Positive Contributor to the Rotation
52. EJ Liddell, PF/C Ohio State (Bryce also did this report on Liddell)
“Positive Contributor to the Rotation” are guys I see ending up in a rotation and providing some kind of support for a team. This is different from the role player tier; rotation guys have less starter potential and more holes in their game.
If you noticed the major changes in this Big Board, it’s the addition of more potential 3-and-D wings. I group Jalen Williams, Tevin Brown, and Michael Devoe together with this label because they all most likely will be asked to fill this role, yet they will each do it in a different way. Devoe played some point guard this year with his old teammate Jose Alvarado annoying NBA point guards on his way to earning a full NBA contract. Devoe posted a career high 97 assist this past season—which also lead all Georgia Tech players—and can attack some off the dribble. At six-foot five inches tall weighing in at 197 pounds with those skills, he would pose mismatch problems at the 1 but could also scale up to the 3 in small-ball lineups.
Brown is a late riser for many, but he actually starred alongside Ja Morant in his freshman season at Murray State as the team’s third leading scorer. Fast forward to this past season—Brown’s senior year—and Tevin helped lead the Racers to a 31-3 record (an improvement from the 28-5 in Ja’s final season) and led the team in three-point attempts with 276 attempts and three-point percentage at 38.4%. Brown also dropped 104 dimes, marking the third straight year of dishing out more than 100 assists. Listed at six-foot five-inches tall and 175 pounds, his size is going to limit him to being a guard only, but the assist numbers are a positive indicator he could hang at point guard.
The highest rated of these 3-and-D prospects, Jalen Williams of Santa Clara (not to be confused with Jaylin Williams of Arkansas) is thought to be a first-round talent by some evaluators like the Athletic’s Sam Vecenie. His official NBA Combine Measurements are 6 foot 5.75 inches tall, 209 pounds, with an condor-like 7 foot 2.25 inch winspan. The only players with bigger wingspan at this combine were guys that play the center position like Trevion Williams, Christian Koloko, and Mark Williams. Leading his team in points, assists, steals, free throw attempts, and shot attempts, Williams has a great all-around skillset that makes him an easy sell. His athleticism against NBA competition IS his biggest question mark and he more than anybody else. According to Sam Vecenie and Coach Spins he WAS the biggest winner of the 2022 NBA Draft Combine. And in his defense, he did cross up Chet pretty nasty.
Undrafted Free Agents
The final tier is the “Undrafted Free Agent Tier.” Although 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.
Although it is incredibly rare these past few years to imagine an NBA Draft without a Villanova guy, sadly I think their run of getting guys drafted may come to an end here. Yet, it won’t be without a fight from Colin Gillespie.
If you know anything about a Nova guy coming into the league, you know this means the prospect in question is fundamentally sound and knows how to fill a role. With Gillespie, it is easy to see his role, with shooting splits of 46.6% from two-point range, 41.5% from downtown, and 90.5% from the free throw line AND having amassed 482 assists versus 221 turnovers in his college career. At six-foot three-inches tall and 190 pounds he is not small, but is an average athlete AT BEST, so that will be what mainly holds him back. If the Pistons want a ready made pro, then Saddiq’s old point guard in Gillespie would be a solid summer league addition at the very least.
Keepin’ it real with y’all, I am originally from New Mexico and look for any and all reasons to pump up ANY of the guys that come out of either the University of New Mexico or New Mexico State University (IF THEIR GAME WARRANTS IT). Thankfully, this year there is one guy in NMSU wing Teddy Allen. Brother of the University of Texas’ All-Big 12 Forward Timmy Allen, those of you who watched the NCAA Tournament this year may remember Teddy from NMSU’s upset of UConn in the first round. Teddy Buckets dropped 37 on the Huskies and showed the nation his abilities as a microwave scorer.
Many are going to label Teddy Allen with the “off-court question marks” red flag in their scouting reports, which I think will be unfair. He was at five different schools throughout his college career, but this is a young man who has work incredibly hard to get his life back on track and commit to his craft. His story is one I IMPLORE you all to read as it is what can make sports so special, and what the NBA Draft process should be all about celebrating.
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 continue to drop NBA Draft articles all the way until the big day!