chet-holmgren-gonzaga-getty.jpg

As the basketball season bleeds into February and the 2022 NBA Draft fast approaches, the race for the No. 1 pick is steadily picking up intensity. Still, even months away, no singular prospect has yet solidified their standing as the frontrunner. 

The candidate pool, however, appears to be clearing up. Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and Jaden Ivey -- four college underclassmen -- have emerged the most likely candidates, and to underscore just how tight the race is we have a new No. 1 at the top since our last update (who is different from the No. 1 name in our prospect rankings).

Our full projections are as follows. Team needs for the selections are not taken into account because the NBA season remains far from complete. And unlike the prospect rankings, which reflect my own views on players, the mock draft below is more of a general guide of where I expect players to be drafted. (Some players who would rank inside our top-30 (including Shaedon Sharpe and Max Christie) are not included because of lack of clarity about their current situations and whether they will be part of the 2022 pool.)

NBA Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
Gonzaga • 7'0" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Orlando
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st
PPG
13.9
RPG
8.7
APG
1.9
3P%
45.6%
Weighing in at less than 200 pounds despite a 7-foot frame, there are -- and will continue to be -- concerns about Chet Holmgren's long-term durability that shadow his prospects. And it's a big reason why he doesn't rank this high on my Big Board. But Holmgren's ability to space the floor, create, and defend the rim at an elite level -- all on full display this season at Gonzaga -- may be too tantalizing to pass on here given his all-around impact on both ends.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Auburn • 6'10" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
2nd
PPG
15.6
RPG
6.7
APG
1.8
3P%
40.5%
The son of a former NBA player, Jabari Smith has an impressive pedigree and five-star pre-college credentials. More than that, though, his start to the season with Auburn is what has thrust him squarely into the conversation at No. 1. He's hitting above 40% from 3-point range and among the top-10 in scoring, rebounding and blocks -- despite playing fewer than 30 minutes per game for the contending Tigers.
Round 1- Pick 3
Duke • 6'10" / 250 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st
PPG
17.8
RPG
8.3
APG
2.6
3P%
31.8%
The "polish of Paolo" is the alliteration that'll stick with Banchero and keep him in the conversation as a top prospect. He's someone who appears capable of producing right away as a versatile scorer and rebounder, a rarity for someone standing 6-10. While he may not in theory present the upside of Holmgren or Smith, he has an incredibly safe floor given his mature game at 19 years old.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Purdue • 6'4" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Oklahoma City
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
PPG
16.8
RPG
4.9
APG
3
3P%
44.2%
Jaden Ivey's been coming off the bench of late for Purdue but his production has still soared for the contending Boilermakers. He recently had what was arguably his best game of his young career where he scored 21 and hit the game-winner to lift them over Ohio State. He carries a special swagger about himself eerily reminiscent of a young Ja Morant and has a knack for making timely plays.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Memphis • 6'11" / 250 lbs
Projected Team
Sacramento
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
2nd
PPG
10.7
RPG
7.3
APG
1.2
3P%
0%
Memphis as a team has been disappointing relative to preseason expectations, but Jalen Duren this season has solidified himself as a top-10 talent. High-energy big who consistently crashes the glass, affects shots around the rim and has spring in his step allowing him to finish above the rim.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Duke • 6'6" / 222 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
2nd
PPG
9
RPG
3.5
APG
1
3P%
50%
We haven't seen consistency from A.J. Griffin this season -- at least not yet -- but the flashes he's shown have been so special we could easily see him in this range by the draft. He recently had a career-best 22 point outing against Louisville and when you combine that scoring potential with his size and defensive versatility it's easy to project optimism about his game as he continues to develop and grow.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Kentucky • 6'4" / 196 lbs
Projected Team
Indiana
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
1st
PPG
13.1
RPG
3.9
APG
4.4
3P%
37.1%
TyTy Washington this season has not taken the reins as a lead guard at Kentucky -- Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler is operating as the primary point guard -- but he has still found a way to thrive as a scorer and part-time facilitator, averaging 37% from deep and more than 13 points per game. He's a dynamic offensive weapon that teams are really going to be digging in this range because of his abilities in an expanded role -- like when he dropped 17 points and 17 dimes in a win last month over Georgia with Wheeler out of the lineup.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Wisconsin • 6'5" / 194 lbs
Projected Team
Portland
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
1st
PPG
21.4
RPG
7.9
APG
2.5
3P%
36%
Johnny Davis is one of college basketball's breakout stars this season for Wisconsin, where he's put himself in position to win player of the year honors. He's a two-way terror who can take and make tough shots from anywhere on the court, potentially setting him up to be one of the first guards taken in this year's draft.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Arizona • 6'6" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
San Antonio
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
2nd
PPG
17.2
RPG
6.1
APG
2.2
3P%
36.5%
Speaking of college basketball breakout stars, Bennedict Mathurin's sophomore season absolutely qualifies as a star turn -- he's averaging more than 17 points per game and hitting above 36% from 3-point range on good volume. Some NBA team in the lottery will happily scoop him up as a high-end shot-maker with good size and defensive upside.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Kansas • 6'6" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
New York
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
1st
PPG
20.9
RPG
4.9
APG
1.5
3P%
46.4%
Ochai Agbaji got feedback from the NBA after testing the draft process a year ago that teams wanted to see him be more aggressive in a bigger role ... and mission accomplished. He's KU's best player this season and one of the best in college hoops. Agbaji's 37-point explosion against Texas Tech had every skill of his on full display, including a game-tying 3-pointer in overtime to force another OT.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Iowa • 6'8" / 225 lbs
Projected Team
Memphis
PROSPECT RNK
21st
POSITION RNK
4th
PPG
22.3
RPG
8.3
APG
1.1
3P%
34%
Murray is enjoying a sophomore star turn for Iowa where he's averaging a Big Ten-leading 22.3 points per game and hitting 34% from beyond the arc. He's one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in the draft for his size.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Milwaukee • 6'9" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
3rd
PPG
13.4
RPG
6.6
APG
1.8
3P%
31.9%
It's been nearly a month since we've seen Patrick Baldwin Jr. on the court as he deals with ailments and injuries but the eight-game sample isn't bad: he's carried the load for a just-OK Milwaukee team while hitting nearly 32% from 3-point range and 74.1% from the line. It's not overwhelmingly dominant, but the flashes of shot-making and his ability to be a floor-spacer at his size should be appealing enough in the back end of the lottery.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Duke • 6'4" / 224 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
5th
PPG
11.4
RPG
3.5
APG
3.2
3P%
29%
Trevor Keels fits the archetype of a player teams covet: a tough-minded defensive guard who can add scoring and playmaking to the position. We saw more of that earlier in the season than of late -- his shot has slumped and he just missed nearly two weeks with injury -- but I'd buy the dip here. Long-term a really intriguing two-way guard talent.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Dyson Daniels SG
G League Ignite • 6'8" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Charlotte
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
3rd
PPG
11.3
RPG
6.2
APG
4.4
3P%
25.5%
Dyson Daniels has a chance to be the first G League Ignite player selected in this year's draft. The wing has good positional size and playmaking chops to boot, though his hit rate from 3-point range this season suggests there's still room for growth on offense.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Baylor • 6'7" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
14th
POSITION RNK
3rd
PPG
10
RPG
4.7
APG
1.9
3P%
33.3%
With a 6-foot-8 frame, long wingspan and incredible defensive tools, Brown this season has quietly emerged as a potential top-10 talent for Baylor. Does a little of everything for the Bears on both ends of the court and happily fills his spot as a role-player. Should be a really coveted prospect once teams dive into him and see his two-way impact.
Round 1 - Pick 16
MarJon Beauchamp SF
G League Ignite • 6'7" / 197 lbs
Projected Team
Toronto
PROSPECT RNK
22nd
POSITION RNK
6th
PPG
15.1
RPG
7.3
APG
2.5
3P%
24.2%
The oldest of the G League Ignite blue-chip talents, MarJon Beauchamp this season at 20 years old has surprisingly ridden a strong season into first-round consideration. He's got great size, very athletic, just needs to improve the shot -- though it's encouraging his prowess as a scorer has at least been proven at a high level after averaging more than 30 points per game a year ago for Yakima Valley College.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Alabama • 6'2" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Oklahoma City
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
2nd
PPG
8.2
RPG
4.2
APG
4.1
3P%
29.1%
Alabama has a ton of talent around JD Davison and he's not always asked to be the go-to guy, but the athletic flashes and burst we've seen from him should be enough to draw NBA teams in as a first-round prospect with lead guard potential. He's maybe a tad more unpolished at this stage than I anticipated in terms of his ability to run the show and add a real threat as a scorer but the tools here are worth gambling on.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Jean Montero SG
Overtime Elite • 6'2" / 172 lbs
Projected Team
Boston
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
6th
Jean Montero is probably the best prospect involved with the Overtime Elite league this season. The lead guard plays with pizazz and his playmaking pops as both a creator and shooter. He loves attacking downhill and has the know-how to pull up on a dime.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Jaden Hardy SG
G League Ignite • 6'4" / 190 lbs
Projected Team
Chicago
PROSPECT RNK
18th
POSITION RNK
7th
PPG
17.3
RPG
4.6
APG
3.2
3P%
26.9
We may have over-shot expectations with Jaden Hardy -- entering the season he was top-five for me -- but there's still a lot to like here. Yes, he's been pretty inefficient, and yes, his decision-making as a playmaker probably needs fine-tuning, but he's been very productive for G League Ignite and remains a very gifted scorer and creator with room to grow.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Duke • 7'2" / 242 lbs
Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
27th
POSITION RNK
3rd
PPG
10
RPG
7.1
APG
1
3P%
0%
A dominant stretch to end last season has mostly carried over for Mark Williams this season at Duke, where he has a whopping 14% block rate (top 10 among all college players) and has been incredibly effective and efficient as a scorer, too. A big like him who can provide rim protection and finish around the rim should pretty valuable in a draft that's relatively thin at center.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Notre Dame • 6'4" / 187 lbs
Projected Team
Milwaukee
PROSPECT RNK
30th
POSITION RNK
8th
PPG
14.1
RPG
3.3
APG
2.7
3P%
29.5%
The aforementioned Mark Williams made sure Blake Wesley had a tough go of it earlier this week -- he had six points on 3-of-15 shooting against Duke -- but let's not let it overshadow what Wesley's done this season. At Notre Dame he's emerged as a high volume scorer whose game seems destined to blossom with NBA spacing because of his ability to initiate and create for himself and others.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Tennessee • 6'0" / 172 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
23rd
POSITION RNK
3rd
PPG
13.4
RPG
2.9
APG
4.8
3P%
31.1%
The speed and shiftiness is what pops most for Chandler, who this season at Tennessee has put up big numbers, albeit doing so somewhat inefficiently. Not terribly worried about the low shooting percentages, though. I think he's got a good shooting touch and has enough creation ability to warrant mid-to-late first round interest.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Michigan • 6'8" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Cleveland
PROSPECT RNK
26th
POSITION RNK
8th
PPG
10.5
RPG
4.5
APG
1.3
3P%
35.6%
A somewhat inconsistent freshman season for Caleb Houstan has seen a turnaround of late: he's hitting above 50% from 3-point range the last few weeks and taken on an expanded role as a scorer for Michigan. That's a positive sign after struggling earlier in the year. Seems like the former five-star is figuring things out and his jumbo-wing potential is intriguing.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Stanford • Fr • 6'8" / 230 lbs
Projected Team
Denver
PROSPECT RNK
20th
POSITION RNK
5th
PPG
11.3
RPG
6.7
APG
2.7
3P%
33.3%
Harrison Ingram's a big wing with raw potential who could play his way into going one-and-done thanks to a strong freshman season at Stanford. He's flashed some real potential as a big wing who could space the floor, defend and even create.
  From Miami Heat
Round 1 - Pick 25
LSU • 6'8" / 216 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
28th
POSITION RNK
6th
PPG
15.9
RPG
6.9
APG
1.1
3P%
31.1%
While the shot isn't quite there and may never be a strength, Tari Eason this season has proven his NBA potential as a do-it-all defender and rebounder. He's probably a developmental play at this stage because of the shot but you could do worse with pick No. 25 hoping that it develops alongside his elite defensive tools.
  From Utah Jazz
Round 1 - Pick 26
Ohio State • 6'7" / 243 lbs
Projected Team
Memphis
PROSPECT RNK
40th
POSITION RNK
9th
PPG
19.7
RPG
7.5
APG
2.8
3P%
39.7%
E.J. Liddell doesn't fit into a traditional bucket as a prospect -- he's a tad undersized for a big -- but it's hard to ignore his production. He's a gifted scorer who finds way to produce and he ranks among the top five of all Big Ten players in blocks and scoring. His improved outside shot should help him stick.
Round 1 - Pick 27
UCLA • 6'8" / 203 lbs
Projected Team
Miami
PROSPECT RNK
33rd
POSITION RNK
11th
PPG
4.3
RPG
3.8
APG
0.9
3P%
20.8%
As a former five-star recruit who entered the season a top-10 potential draft pick, Watson, relative to expectations, has not had a good season. But at pick No. 27 it's shoot-your-shot territory. And for as inconsistent as he's been, he still has incredible athleticism, a great pedigree and real potential long-term as a 6-foot-8 guard.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Baylor • 6'9" / 230 lbs
Projected Team
Memphis
PROSPECT RNK
31st
POSITION RNK
7th
PPG
8.6
RPG
6
APG
1.9
3P%
35.7%
Baylor has given Jeremy Sochan two 30-plus minute runs in consecutive games and he has responded well, first with a 17-point, eight-rebound outing against Alabama and later with 13 points and nine boards to key a double-digit comeback win vs. West Virginia. The forward is hitting above 40% from 3-point range on the season and is steadily working his way into becoming one of the draft's best-kept secrets. This feels like a starting point for him with real lottery potential if he continues on this trajectory.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Nikola Jovic SF
Serbia • 6'11" / 223 lbs
Projected Team
Golden St.
PROSPECT RNK
29th
POSITION RNK
9th
This is probably the low end for where Nikola Jovic might land in this year's draft. He's a big who is hitting 38% from 3-point range and who has taken on a bigger role with his team as a scorer and facilitator, essentially operating as a jumbo-sized guard.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Auburn • Jr • 6'6" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
Phoenix
PROSPECT RNK
24th
POSITION RNK
7th
PPG
7
RPG
3.5
APG
1.8
3P%
21.1%
It's taking time for Allen Flanigan to get his sea legs underneath him this season after a preseason injury but I suspect teams aren't yet willing to punt entirely. He's a wing with two-way potential who when healthy could be a valuable role player for an NBA team.