The lottery dust has settled, and the 2022 NBA Draft has an official order.
As expected, the Hornets’ lottery pick stood pat at 13 after having a 4.8 percent chance to jump into the top-four, locking them into the 13th, 15th, and 45th picks in the draft. The Buzzworthy Picks scouting profiles are going to be coming out like hotcakes in the next month, so please feel free to let us know in the comments which prospects you all would like to read/talk about first.
This draft cycle has been interesting — it also feels like it’s flown by since it’s the first normally-scheduled cycle with the NBA, NCAA and international league seasons proceeding as planned since 2019. It’s particularly interesting for the Hornets, who have two mid-first rounders and don’t even have a head coach right now. I’m curious to see if we find how much influence, if any, the new hire had on the draft process after it all plays out, but overall the situation should go smoothly since Mitch Kupchak has all but squashed the retirement rumors.
The big board has expanded to a top-30 for the second volume of the Hornets draft guide. Feel free to yell at me, but not too much.
Chase’s 2022 NBA Big Board top-30
|1||Chet Holmgren||Big||7-0/195lbs||Gonzaga||unique size/skillset combo, rim-protecting hybrid big at NBA level? Stretch-5 w/added strength? improving decision-maker, killer in transition defense and offense, reads the floor well, has very few weaknesses in his game as a modern big, plays his ass off 100% of the time, too|
|2||Jabari Smith Jr.||Forward||6-10/220lbs||Auburn||tough shot-making forward with size, wing skillset, good passer out of high post, defensive upside, dynamite shooter from mid and long range, can finish off drives, dump offs and post ups too, has potential to defend multiple positions (3-5?) in NBA|
|3||Paolo Banchero||Forward||6-10/250lbs||Duke||inside-out skillset, ideal frame/gifted strength but average explosiveness and overall speed, mobility could limit him on perimeter defensively in NBA but very good feel in space makes up for lack of pop, really good shooter/passer/ball-handler for his size, should be close to a 20ppg player at some point in his career|
|4||Jaden Ivey||Combo||6-4/200lbs||Purdue||athletic, aggressive, potential 3-level scorer with solid size for guard, improving passer w more lead guard responsibility, absolute monster in transition, 6-4 Ja Morant mentality w/ more strength at this age but not quite as explosive|
|5||AJ Griffin||Wing||6-6/222lbs||Duke||NBA frame at 18, one of the draft's best shooters, settled in as season went on, better passer/handle than anticipated, elite defense/off-ball O movement potential, seems a bit stiff athletically but could still be injury effects, even if athleticism doesnt fully come back shooting/handle/defense package is worth a top 5-7 pick imo|
|6||Shaedon Sharpe||Guard/wing||6-6/200lbs||Kentucky (Canada)||has lots of things NBA teams are looking for as 3lvl scorer/play-finisher, elite athlete/frame, easy top 5 prospect given age/position/scoring punch, tools to be at least decent offensively right away and become a potential all-star some day off the strength of his offense, would like to see him make leaps as a passer/esp with skips and out of doubles, bit of a slow, methodical handle rather than quick and deceptive, obv no tape of him since high school|
|7||Jalen Duren||Center||6-10/230lbs||Memphis||teenager in grown man's frame, lots of room for growth technically, underrated passer, excellent hands for lobs and quick passes down low, robert williams comps make a lot of sense imo given mobility, verticality, hands and feel, pretty good touch indicates possible spacing potential, one of the youngest players in the draft|
|8||Dyson Daniels||Combo/wing||6-6/200lbs||G League Ignite (Australia)||just does things right on offense, moves, cuts, finishes, solid 2-3 defender with height/length, can play on or off ball and finishes well around basket despite relative lack of strength right now, played the best of the 2022 Ignite prospects this season, off the charts versatility if he can become a league-average shooter|
|9||Jeremy Sochan||Forward||6-9/230lbs||Baylor (Poland)||solid shooter on low volume with NBA frame for 3/4, good rebounder, really aggressive defender with switchability, fairly raw but has shown flashes in most skill categories, plays hard/with edge|
|10||Bennedict Mathurin||Wing||6-7/195lbs||Arizona (Canada)||shooter/scorer, potential to be a versatile NBA perimeter defender, stock rose a lot as sophomore, doesn't pop as potential #1 option to me but a comfortable top-10 pick given size/position/two-way tools while already offering value as an OTD/spot up scorer, like his ability to adjust to contests at rim/on floaters, runners etc|
|11||Jonathan Davis||Guard||6-5/196lbs||Wisconsin||two-way guard with burst and high motor, can get buckets reasonably well from 3 levels, sound shooter, a bit thin but will only need to defend 1-2 in NBA and is always going full boar on perimeter, tough/plays hard, trailed off a bit as year wound down but was also injured, another soph with a huge jump in stock, with raised efficiency he's a reliable #2/3 offensive option|
|12||Keegan Murray||Forward||6-8/215lbs||Iowa||wing/forward 3-4 type that prob only defends other 3/4s, good shooter/ball-mover within offense, smooth inside-out game that should translate immediately, really polished scorer but doesn't act as a playmaker and is a middling defender, kind of slow footed which prevents him from being more of a wing than forward, love Sam Vecenie's tobias harris comparison|
|13||Tari Eason||Forward/big||6-8/215lbs||Louisiana State||athletic forward/big hybird that can switch up/down, could improve 3P shooting but some buy the jumper already after shooting 36% last season, almost 5 stocks per-40, great feel/communication as a defender, some passing chops on the move which would be a nice bonus for a 3&Dish forward|
|14||Blake Wesley||Guard||6-5/185lbs||Notre Dame||great drive-and-kick guard/wing, athletic, budding pull-up game, PnR craft, good ball-handler, Notre Dame's first 1-and-done, good size/length/burst combo for ball-handler, fluidity/shake in the mid-range, once he can work through reads quicker/more accurately and shoot consistently I love his potential, gets downhill effortlessly|
|15||TyTy Washington||Point guard||6-3/185lbs||Kentucky||somewhat of mediocre athlete but feel makes up for it imo, improved shot could carry him to starter potential, looks semi-comfortable geting to spots as three-level scorer already, was hurt during later stages of year, believe in his feel for the game and want to see if burst/athleticism rebounds at all|
|16||Malaki Branham||Guard||6-5/180lbs||Ohio State||really smooth scorer with good size/length, efficient low-volume 3P shooter but has great touch on jumpers and at line, not a great passer but should thrive as release valve scorer, all-BIG 10 as a freshman and averaged 18.4pts per-40 on 53% from 2P, only a one-way player right now tho|
|17||Ochai Agbaji||Wing||6-6/214lbs||Kansas||improved as shooter every year at KU, played significant role on successful teams, 24/5/2/1s per-40, NBA frame/athlete for 3/2 perimeter defender role, limitations as creator/playmaker cap his ceiling at role-player for now|
|18||Mark Williams||Center||7-0/243lbs||Duke||got a lot better from fresh to soph year, prototypical NBA rim protector/interior big frame, solid positioning/feel for blocks/help side, not a ton of upside as top-10 center in league lowers value, has shown some shooting touch, not a great pick-and-roll defender in college but maybe an NBA coach can help?|
|19||Patrick Baldwin Jr.||Forward||6-10/205lbs||Milwaukee||inefficient shot-maker at this stage but has the purest jumper in class, not a true no1/doesnt have playmaking/creation to carry offense as seen aw Milwaukee, NBA spacing/talent/role should help him a lot, some team will bet on pre-college tape/hype/tools, hard not to buy into a skilled 6-10 shooter with off-ball juice top-20|
|20||Jaden Hardy||Guard||6-4/190lbs||G League Ignite||slowly got better with Ignite but needed to show a lot more as creator/decision-maker to make up for inefficiencies, not a great athlete and it shows when he struggles to blow by defenders and get to rim, skilled scorer off the bounce/great handle but not the best shooter, the base-level traits are there but has a way to go for his role to fit his play style, zero defense at this stage|
|21||Ousmane Dieng||Wing/forward||6-8/185lbs||New Zealand Breakers (France)||tools to be a good NBA defender but lots of on-ball offense questions right now, can shoot and pass well enough but his handle doesn't look like its there yet to create consistent advantages, year in NBL didn't always go as well as expected so maybe development improves with situation change? still high-ish ceiling, shot up draft boards with strong close to season, will likely rise for me in the next month too|
|22||Jalen Williams||Guard/wing||6-6/190lbs||Santa Clara||crafty, controlled and patient ball-handler especially in pick and rolls, excellent touch around the basket and on pull-ups out beyond the 3P line, has the size to defend both guard spots easily with potential to become a 1-3 defender in NBA, solid late-first bet with high floor imo|
|23||Nikola Jović||Forward||6-10/209lbs||Mega Bemax (Serbia)||good floor-spacer at 6-10, OTD shooting, how athletic is he against NBA competition? slightly inefficient but still a skilled scorer/passer, somewhat of a bad defender in ADL but has great feel for the game and is a quick decision-maker, should be an effective offensive player in the NBA at least, not quite sure what to make of two-way translation though|
|24||Kendall Brown||Wing/forward||6-8/205lbs||Baylor||efficient but somewhat low-usage, athletic freshman with impressive feel but questionable shooting/handle mechanics, all depends whether teams buy his shot, very smart cutter/shot selection tho and will likely be able to defend some of the bigger NBA wings|
|25||MarJon Beauchamp||Wing||6-6/199lbs||G League Ignite||role with Ignite fit him perfectly, weapon in transition, solid size/strength, could improve jumper but solid finisher inside arc, has a decent pull-up/floater from the elbow/ft line areas to build off of|
|26||Terquavion Smith||Guard||6-4/160lbs||North Carolina State||v intruiguing freshman guard, volume 3P shooter, extremely thin but p explosive, likely needs another year in school/rookie season in GL to develop frame, vision, handle but he pops as an athletic OTD creator and is a willing playmaker|
|27||Jaylin Williams||Big||6-10/245lbs||Arkansas||not a ton of range/efficency yet but powerful on interior, great feel on both ends, impactful defender that might be ready to defend some 4s and smaller 5s in NBA later in his rookie season, if he can score as a roll-man he has a role in the league as a backup big imo|
|28||EJ Liddell||Big/forward||6-7/240lbs||Ohio State||small-ball 4/5 w/ ready-made NBA spacing, strength, some rim protection & passing, can play some 4 as his handle has improved, looks to be in good shape for a big as well so he can play in pace and space schemes, has some paul millsap/boris diaw/clippers nic batum to his game imo|
|29||Justin Lewis||Forward||6-7/245lbs||Marquette||can score a bit from all 3 levels but best as driver/3p shooter, can relocate, hit some movement 3s and OTD/step-backs, always sqaure to the basket on release, not explosive/doesn't pass much in halfcourt but if he can score efficiently it won't be a problem, makes decent reads just not someone teams will run action through imo, really good size for low post game, battles on boards at times too|
|30||Hyunjung Lee||Wing||6-7/210lbs||Davidson||lights out movement/C&S shooter from mid/3PT, picturesque footwork and shot mechanics, defensive questions but solid ball-mover within offense, decent finisher that uses length well, can attack a closeout going either hand OTD but could stand to improve as ball-handler, athleticism looked fine during G League elite camp games fwiw|
Dyson Daniels: There’s a reason Daniels will be featured in the first Buzzworthy Pick scouting profile of the 2022 class. He’s become one of my favorite prospects lately, and I’ve bought into him improving enough as a floor-spacer to make defenses respect his jumper and go over the top of screens so he can take full advantage of his playmaking. Plus, if the 6-foot-8 reports are legit, he’s got 1-4 positional versatility on both ends of the floor. How could that not be worth a top-10 pick in this class?
Jeremy Sochan: Sochan’s NBA archetype — long, switchy, aggressive defender that can do a little bit of everything offensively — is not currently present on the Hornets’ roster. He plays with an edge defensively and has enough feel and versatility that he could receive minutes as a rookie if the new coaching staff is still committed to development. If Sochan’s jumper comes around, he’s going to be a highly impactful NBA player.
Blake Wesley: There are few, if any, players in this class that get downhill and penetrate the lane with ease as often as Wesley. A great drive-and-kick guard with budding playmaking and pull-up shooting, he may not be an impactful player as a rookie but the flashes of lottery upside are there. Notre Dame’s first one-and-done is an easy first-round pick in my book.
Jalen Williams: Once considered a “sleeper” in the class, Williams can no longer be slept on. He’s garnered legit first-round buzz during the pre-draft cycle, and given his punch as both a pick-and-roll passer and scorer at 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, it’s easy to see why. Williams has NBA athleticism, killer handles and footwork for space creation.
Big board fallers
Shaedon Sharpe: Sharpe was fourth the time the last big board dropped, but further film review and his pro day workout dropped him a tick below Jaden Ivey and AJ Griffin. In his high school tape, I didn’t notice as much that he has a slow-ish handle and isn’t too explosive an athlete, but it stood out more to me in an open gym setting. Sharpe’s draft stock is a bit of a mystery until we get some intel on how NBA teams view him.
Keegan Murray: The foot speed and lack of playmaking have begun to turn me off in regards to Murray. He needs to be a consistent 20-plus points per game scorer with high efficiency if his feet end up being on the slow end, because it likely renders him as a strict four in a league where two-way pure power forwards don't really exist anymore. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an excellent scorer, but the guys above him have more two-way ability in my opinion.
Ochai Agbaji: I’m trying to learn from my mistake of putting Corey Kispert in the lottery last year. Both Kispert and Agbaji are safe bets to be long-term role-players in the NBA to me, it’s just that long-term role-players can be found later than the 13th pick. The Hornets have done a solid job at finding some of their own in second-rounders Devonte’ Graham, Cody Martin and Jalen McDaniels, and I trust that Mitch Kupchak can replicate that success again instead of selecting a 22-year-old with a relative ceiling in the top half of the first round.
Ousmane Dieng: Is 21st “too low” for Dieng? The Frenchman started off slow with the New Zealand Breakers as part of the NBL’s Next Stars program, but has become a hot topic after a strong finish to his season. He’s an NBA-level defender with athleticism, but I haven’t seen enough on-ball juice from him yet to be as high as consensus.
Post-lottery thoughts: Good for the Magic! Regardless of who they take first overall, it’s an intriguing fit alongside Wendell Carter Jr. Oklahoma City’s tanking efforts were repaid at least in part, so good for them, too. At least the Hornets didn’t fall to 14.
Unfortunately, the Pistons and Trail Blazers dropping out of/not jumping into the top-four all but killed the dream of Jalen Duren falling to the Hornets. Every team between five and 13 except Indiana and New Orleans could talk themselves into a high-upside center. A trade-up will be necessary to land the consensus number two center behind Chet Holmgren.
Again, let us know what prospects you all would like to see covered on At The Hive. Lottery picks, late-first steals, second-round sleepers, we’ll write about them if you request it. Let’s talk draft!