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Steven Cheah's Final 2022 NBA Mock Draft

Jeff Haynes. Getty Images.

It's Draft Night! Here's where I see things shaking out tonight:

Previous Mock Drafts for reference: 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 

1) Orlando Magic - PF Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn)

There is debate at the top about who Orlando should take. So far they've only worked out Smith and Chet Holmgren. Paolo Banchero is getting some late buzz at #1 overall, but I think it's a long shot as it doesn't appear that Orlando has actually even worked him out privately yet. Smith is a terrific prospect who at 6'10" 210 lbs. has the ideal size with a 7'1" wingspan to really lock people up on the defensive end. But he combines that with excellent shooting touch and range on the offensive end, to make him feel like a very safe prospect.

2) Oklahoma City Thunder - PF Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)

Chet Holmgren is a 7'0" 195 lbs. Guard kind of? He's rail thin, but has incredible defensive instincts and word is Holmgren wants to go to OKC, not Orlando. He plays exactly how the Thunder want to play, so this is the ideal landing spot to maximize his diverse skill set.

3) Houston Rockets - PF Paolo Banchero (Duke)

More of an old school PF in the mold of a jumbo Carmelo Anthony (6'10" 250 lbs) who can flat out score and has a great feel for the game, Banchero would fit into the Rockets nicely with Jalen Green and they have a sudden hole to fill in the front court after the surprising Christian Wood trade. He gets knocked for having a lower ceiling than some of the other top guys, but his floor is probably the highest. He'll make an immediate impact Day 1 and is my early choice for Rookie of the Year.

4) TRADE: Detroit Pistons (via Sacramento Kings) - PG/SG Jaden Ivey (Purdue)

Jaden Ivey and his agent Bill Duffy have made it known they do not want anything to do with Sacramento. The Kings would be well within their rights to just ignore that and draft Ivey at #4. It wasn't but 13 years ago that Steph Curry didn't want to go to the Warriors and that turned out pretty well for both sides. But from a basketball perspective, Ivey offers a lot of what the Kings already have, in gamebreaking speed and athleticism with lesser than desired shooting touch. The Kings have two good young Guards in De'Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell, the latter of which they drafted 9th overall last year. Ivey has tremendous upside and could very well be the best player in the class when all is said and done. A lot of prognosticators are labeling this draft with a 'big 3', but I'd lump Ivey into that group and call it a big 4, because it is basically a unanimous drop-off after 4, which is where Ivey should go. In Detroit he'd take some of the scoring and creating pressure off of Cade Cunningham and could really get them in another gear speed-wise. Him falling to #5 would be the best case scenario for Detroit, but I have them moving up here to get their guy while Sacramento gets a future heavily protected 1st to move down one spot and get a guy who wants to be there.

5) TRADE: Sacramento Kings (via Detroit Pistons) - PF Keegan Murray (Iowa)

Murray is a ready-to-go guy and also a positional fit with the Kings. He offers some rim protection which would allow him to share the floor with Domantas Sabonis. The Kings take a future pick from the Pistons to move down one spot and get the guy that helps them win now and wants to be there.

6) Indiana Pacers - SF Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)

There is buzz Mathurin is moving up Draft Boards and could be gone as soon as #4 if Ivey doesn't go there. I think he settles in at #6 to the Pacers who are hoping the Murray falls but will settle for the 20-year old Wildcat from Montreal.

7) Portland Trail Blazers - PG/SG Dyson Daniels (Ignite - G-League)

A little spin here. Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz formed Draft Express years ago which was the go-to site for NBA Draft knowledge. DX blew up with ESPN exposure and recently Schmitz took a job as Assistant GM for the Trail Blazers. Schmitz is at all these big events and for his former partner to say that Daniels ha the best day at the Combine is meaningful. Daniels biggest question mark was shooting and he answered the question if he could shoot with astounding results. I think he'd be a great trio of shooters with a healthy Dame and Anfernee Simons (assuming he gets brought back). Portland could have something soon with this bunch…

8) New Orleans Pelicans (via Los Angeles Lakers) - SF AJ Griffin (Duke)

He's not even 19 years old and needs some seasoning, but flashed a lot of potential in limited time at Duke. He got injured in the preseason and it looks like never fully recovered. But taking him at #8 would mean you're comfortable with his medicals. Because if he is 100%, he has elite size at 6'6" 210 lbs. with a 7-foot wingspan and would be a top 5 talent.

9) San Antonio Spurs - SG Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky)

Sharpe is the ultimate wildcard in the Draft. He was a top prospect coming out of High School, but he reclassified to come to Kentucky early. He never ended up playing for the Wild Cats, so you're looking at a top High School tape, which as we've seen in the past, can be hit or miss. His workouts haven't gone incredible, but the Spurs are a good bet to bank on talent, so I can see a fit here.

10) Washington Wizards - SG Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)

PFT said on Pardon My Take that Davis had gotten a promise that Washington would take Davis if he's there at #10 and I wouldn't be surprised. While not a pure PG, he does have enough playmaking ability that he could fit in next to Bradley Beal. 

11) New York Knicks -  SG Malaki Branham (Ohio State)

Branham is young, has great athleticism, and finished the season very strong. He has a fairly wide range, but finds a home in the Big Apple where he is somewhat duplicative with R.J. Barrett, but the Knicks just need more good players and Branham has a real shot to be one.

12) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Los Angeles Clippers) - C Jalen Duren (Memphis)

The Thunder take Chet Holmgren #2 and then pair him with a legitimate rim-running Center in Duren. Their interior defense just got so much better in the last hour. 

13) Charlotte Hornets - C Mark Williams (Duke)

The Hornets simply cannot defend bigs with Mason Plumlee starting at Center so they take another Duke Big to replace him with Mark Williams. But at 7'0" 243 lbs. with a 9'9" standing reach, he'll certainly help protect the paint in the Queen City.

14) Cleveland Cavaliers - SF Ousmane Dieng (New Zealand Breakers - NBL)

The Cavs have quietly built a really nice team, but they could use a bit more shooting on the wing as Isaac Okoro hasn't developed a shot like they'd hoped when they drafted him. Dieng can fill it up and defend and could give their offense another dimension.

15) Charlotte Hornets (via New Orleans Pelicans) - SG Jaden Hardy (Ignite - G-League)

The Hornets need more shooting to go with LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges. Terry Rozier is a nice piece who can stretch the floor, but they still need more. Hardy provides a young, cheap option.

16) Atlanta Hawks - SG Ochai Agbaji (Kansas)

The reigning Big XII Player of the Year can score, stroke it from deep, and defend, which are all things Atlanta is looking for.

17) Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn Nets) - TyTy Washington Jr. (Kentucky)

The Rockets were experimenting with Jalen Green at PG who is primarily a scorer and less of a distributor. I have them taking Paolo Bachero at #3, so ideally you're pairing your two blue chippers with a good distributor, and we can't exactly count on John Wall at this piont, so Houston goes with a younger Kentucky PG in Washington.

18) Chicago Bulls - PF Jeremy Sochan (Baylor)

Nikola Vucevic not bringing what you want to the table defensively from the Center position? Well how about Baylor's do-it-all PF Jeremy Sochan? He could play alongside Vooch and cover up for some of his Defensive shortcomings while also being able to run the break with their fast break Guards.

19) Minnesota Timberwolves - PF Jalen Williams (Santa Clara)

Williams would be be a nice fit alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. His wingspan gives him elite defensive potential and he can space the floor with his good stroke from distance.

20) San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors) - PF Tari Eason (LSU)

Eason has elite defensive potential and better than advertised offensive skills. He'd be a great pairing alongside Shaedon Sharpe for the Spurs first two picks.

21) Denver Nuggets - G/F Dalen Terry (Arizona)

Terry is a 6'7" PG, but I see him more of a wing in the NBA. He has a lot of athletic potential and could help speed up the Nuggets.

22) Memphis Grizzlies (via Utah Jazz) - PF E.J. Liddell (Ohio State)

Jaren Jackson Jr. gets into foul trouble pretty consistently, so I think the Grizzlies would benefit from bolstering their frontcourt depth. Liddell reminds me of the Grit & Grind Grizz so I'll land him in Memphis.

23) Philadelphia 76ers - SG Christian Braun (Kansas) 

He does a lot of things the 76ers need in that he can shoot, defend, and pass. But wherever he goes, I'll love him forever for this.

24) Milwaukee Bucks - F Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest)

The Bucks need to surround Giannis with more shooting as evident after Khris Middleton went down and LaRavia can help improve that area for Milwuakee.

25) San Antonio Spurs (via Boston Celtics) - G Hugo Besson (New Zealand Breakers - NBL)

French Point Guards have worked out well for the Spurs. They dip back into that pool with their third 1st round pick.

26) Houston Rockets (via Dallas Mavericks) - C Walker Kessler (Auburn)

In this Draft they've gotten Paolo Banchero and TyTy Washington, so we need some rim help! Banchero is more of a PF and doesn't offer much in the way of rim protection, so Kessler makes sense here. 7'0" with a 7'4" wingspan is enticing.

27) Miami Heat - G/F MarJon Beauchamp (Ignite - G-League)

The Heat could use a lot of depth pieces and maybe insurance if Tyler Herro gets too expensive.

28) Golden State Warriors - SF Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke)

The rich get richer as the defending champs pick up Wendell Moore here who got better every year. 

29) Memphis Grizzlies - C Christian Koloko (Arizona)

Steven Adams is an expiring contract this season, so Koloko can learn under him or if he flourishes early, can deal Adams.

30) Denver Nuggets (via Phoenix Suns) - PG Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga)

While the Joker is the lead distributor for the Nuggets, Nembhard could take some of the pressure off as he's a classic pick & roll point that has a high floor at the next level.

TLDR