The list has dwindled.
Following June 1’s NBA Draft early-entry withdrawal deadline, 112 candidates removed themselves from the 2022 class and opted to return to college. Players that withdraw by June 1 retain their NCAA eligibility, whereas the deadline for international players is June 13. For example: Leonard Miller was considering Arizona, Kentucky or G League Ignite if he were not to enter the draft. Now that he waited beyond June 1, Miller can only enter the draft this year or play next season with Ignite before declaring again in 2023.
A handful of notable prospects decided to return to college next season, including NC State guard Terquavion Smith, who attended a pre-draft workout with the Charlotte Hornets. Harrison Ingram, Marcus Sasser, Drew Timme and Jalen Wilson were among the other notable withdrawals. Most prospects that have a firm draft range stayed in.
Obviously, the Hornets do not have a head coach yet, and the June 23 draft is rapidly approaching. Mitch Kupchak stated in his end-of-season press conference that he’d hoped to have a coach in place before the draft, and though there’s still time for that, the organization seemingly has some work to do in the coming weeks.
Just a general thought I’ve been having leading up to the draft; I’m fully prepared for Charlotte to make all three draft picks. It doesn’t look like packaging 13 and 15 for a higher selection will move them up much as few teams ahead of them have a need for two mid-first round selections rather than taking a shot on a top-12 prospect. It’s not the worst thing in the world, either; the team’s two best players will be 24 and 21 on opening night and the team still has four open roster spots even if the non-guaranteed contracts of Mason Plumlee, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Nick Richards aren’t moved. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to add two more players to a young nucleus since pick 45 will be used on a Two-Way or draft-and-stash player in all likelihood.
Alright, here’s the big board update with some notes on risers and fallers below. If anyone has their own personal big board going, post it in the comments! Only 17 days left until the draft.
Chase’s 2022 NBA Draft big board top-60
|2||Jabari Smith Jr.||Forward||6-10/220lbs||Auburn|
|5||Shaedon Sharpe||Guard/wing||6-6/200lbs||Kentucky (Canada)|
|8||Dyson Daniels||Combo/wing||6-6/200lbs||G League Ignite (Australia)|
|9||Jeremy Sochan||Forward||6-9/230lbs||Baylor (Poland)|
|10||Bennedict Mathurin||Wing||6-7/195lbs||Arizona (Canada)|
|13||Blake Wesley||Guard||6-5/185lbs||Notre Dame|
|14||Tari Eason||Forward/big||6-8/215lbs||Louisiana State|
|15||Malaki Branham||Guard||6-5/180lbs||Ohio State|
|18||Jaden Hardy||Guard||6-4/190lbs||G League Ignite|
|19||TyTy Washington||Point guard||6-3/185lbs||Kentucky|
|20||Jalen Williams||Guard/wing||6-6/190lbs||Santa Clara|
|22||Ousmane Dieng||Wing/forward||6-8/185lbs||New Zealand Breakers (France)|
|23||EJ Liddell||Big/forward||6-7/240lbs||Ohio State|
|24||Patrick Baldwin Jr.||Forward||6-10/205lbs||Milwaukee|
|25||Nikola Jović||Forward||6-10/209lbs||Mega Bemax (Serbia)|
|26||Jake LaRavia||Big||6-8/227lbs||Wake Forest|
|27||MarJon Beauchamp||Wing||6-6/199lbs||G League Ignite|
|32||Leonard Miller||Wing/forward||6-10/211lbs||Fort Erie International Academy (Canada)|
|34||Andrew Nembhard||Point guard||6-5/196lbs||Gonzaga (Canada)|
|36||Julian Champagnie||Wing/forward||6-8/217lbs||St. John's|
|37||Alondes Williams||Guard||6-5/213lbs||Wake Forest|
|38||Kennedy Chandler||Point guard||6-1/172lbs||Tennessee|
|39||Max Christie||Guard||6-6/190lbs||Michigan State|
|40||Ismaël Kamagate||Center||6-11/220lbs||Paris Basketball (France)|
|43||Jean Montero||Point guard||6-3/172lbs||Overtime Elite (Dominican Republic)|
|45||Gabriele Procida||Wing||6-8/193lbs||Bologna (Italy)|
|46||Caleb Houstan||Wing||6-8/205lbs||Michigan (Canada)|
|47||Christian Koloko||Center||7-0/221lbs||Arizona (Cameroon)|
|48||Hugo Besson||Guard||6-6/180lbs||New Zealand Breakers (France)|
|49||Vince Williams Jr.||Wing/guard||6-6/210lbs||Virginia Commonwealth|
|50||Dereon Seabron||Forward/guard||6-6/182lbs||North Carolina State|
|53||Dominick Barlow||Forward||6-10/221lbs||Overtime Elite (Dumont HS)|
|54||Ron Harper Jr.||Wing||6-6/240lbs||Rutgers|
|58||Collin Gillespie||Point guard||6-2/195lbs||Villanova|
|60||Kenneth Lofton Jr.||Big||6-7/280lbs||Louisiana Tech|
Dalen Terry: Between the publishing of the second volume of the draft guide and now, Terry has risen more spots than any player on my board. The positional versatility he offers as a 6-foot-7 wing that can initiate offense and score efficiently from multiple levels while playing a tough brand of defense is tough to pass up on in the middle of the first round.
Jaden Hardy: Sneakily one of the most versatile shooters in the draft, the more I watch Hardy the more I like his game. He’s not as athletic as some of the elite players of his archetype but he’s very skilled and has flashed playmaking that could warrant even more on-ball creation duty when he develops in the NBA.
EJ Liddell: If the Hornets want to lean into a small-ball centric, up-tempo offensive identity, Liddell would be a great fit. While he’s a formidable interior defender with the mobility to hold his own in space, his floor-spacing and passing are tailor made for a role-playing big in the NBA and solidify him as a first-round prospect in my book.
Malaki Branham: Though Branham only moved up one spot for me since the last update, he’s garnered some buzz in the Hornets draft range. Jeremy Woo selected him for the Hornets at 15 in his latest mock draft for Sports Illustrated, and Liddell’s Ohio State teammate has a well-rounded scoring package that doesn’t often fall far outside of the lottery.
Kendall Brown: While I understand the sell on Brown as a high-feel, low-usage off-ball cutter and finisher that offers some intriguing defensive versatility, I don’t buy his jumper as of now and if he isn’t at least an average shooter, I’m personally not a fan of drafting that player archetype in the top-25.
Ochai Agbaji: This is purely an upside thing for me, and that’s not to say Agbaji won’t improve in the NBA. It’s just tough for me to envision him as anything more than a 7-9th man on a competitive playoff team given his limitations as a creator and passer while not offering high-level defense or switchability.
Hyunjung Lee: It pained me deeply to take Lee out of the top-30, as he’s one of my five favorite prospects in the draft. A dynamite shooter at 6-foot-8 with impressive feel for finding open lanes and taking the best angle to snaking around screeners and get off a quick three, Lee will likely be available at 45, has a higher ceiling and is currently a more complete prospect than both Scottie Lewis and Arnoldas Kulboka.
I’ve watched my fair share of games in the last month or two and I continually come away more impressed with the top-20 or so prospects in this class. There are good players to be found all over the board this year and I’m excited to see how things shake out.