My Preseason Top 30 Big Board for the 2022 Draft
September 29th, 2021
By Alan Lu
This is the first year where I decided to actually list my top 30 individual draft rankings prior to the start of the season. Every year, it’s actually been different from who the website listed, but the website’s rankings are an aggregate and more reflective of what the world thinks, combined with my opinion.
This one is strictly my opinion, my off-the-cuff opinion. I may hit on some of these predictions, and miss on others. That’s really the nature of the draft. I don’t have the top of this draft rated nearly as high as the top of the 2021 draft, but things could change with more games to come later on this year. Often times, this is merely just a guide in terms of who to watch this year, as these ratings could fluctuate and change considerably based on player and team performance throughout the season.
(Also, NBA Scouting Live’s Current Player Rank as of today, September 29th will be in parenthesis next to the school or country that is listed.)
He is a uniquely talented big man that does a lot of things well. He is a 7-0 tall ball handler that can operate at the point, and he is a gifted defender that does a tremendous job of blocking shots. He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter and add more strength, but he is a very good prospect that could be the best in this draft.
2. J.D. Davison, G, Alabama (7)
He is a speedy, electrifying playmaking combo guard that can really attack the hoop to score the basketball, and he is a rangy defender that can rack up rebounds, steals, and blocks. He’ll need to show that he can reliably run the point, but he could be a gifted scoring point guard worth taking in the lottery.
He is a very athletic shooting guard that can flat out score the basketball. He is a gifted shooter that can really score at all three levels, and he is also a solid defender that can rack up steals. He’ll need to improve his court vision and rebounding, but he is a very talented swingman that could be worth going in the top five in 2022.
He’s been an absolute stat stuffer, and he is a solid, versatile prospect that can do a little bit of everything. He is a strong, physical big man that excels at scoring and rebounding in the paint, and he also can shoot it from the outside. Sometimes he doesn’t shoot it enough, and I’m a little less sold on rating him this high as I am on Holmgren or Hardy, but Foster had great stats, and is going to a very good pipeline, as he’ll play for the G-League Ignite, which featured Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga this past season.
5. A.J. Griffin, F, Duke (5)
He is a very athletic, combo forward that has a lot of upside. He is a rangy defender that can guard multiple positions, and he also is a high-motor player. He’ll need to improve his jump shot and handles, but he comes from good bloodlines, as his dad is former NBA player Adrian Griffin, will play at a very good school at Duke, and he could be a good pick for a team in the lottery.
6. Jabari Smith, F-C, Auburn (6)
He is a very athletic forward that has very good scoring skills, and can do a little bit of everything. He does a good job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he has the potential to guard multiple positions. He’ll need to improve his court vision and add strength, but he is a high upside prospect worth keeping track of for the 2022 Draft.
7. Paolo Banchero, F-C, Duke (3)
Honestly, it was very hard to find full game footage of Banchero playing in a high school game when I had watched him play. Admittedly, I wasn’t as impressed as other people in terms of what I saw. I know I technically just watched one high school game, and that most likely isn’t enough to fully judge his skills, but I was a bit underwhelmed relative to his high ranking, even though I still feel that he is a good prospect.
Banchero is a strong, physical big man that has very good offensive skills. He is a strong scorer that operates well out of the post, he can shoot it from the outside a little, and he is a very good passer that can rack up assists. On the downside, he didn’t seem to be super athletic or fast, and there were times where he seemed to show significant lapses on the defensive end. Of course, if I’m wrong about being concerned about his defense, or if he stands out a lot more than expected, I’ll probably rate him significantly higher throughout the season.
8. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (4)
He is a very athletic big man that projects to be a solid rim protector in the NBA. He is quite adept at making interior plays on both ends of the floor, but he also needs to work on his perimeter skills. He is a traditional defensive-minded big man that can be the anchor of the defense, which is still valuable in today’s NBA.
9. Caleb Houston, F, Michigan (8)
He is an athletic, tall forward that excels as a shooter and defender on the court. Houstan is a sharpshooter that can effortlessly knock down threes, and he is a solid defender that can guard multiple positions. He’s been a little shaky with his outside shot in some of the FIBA tournaments, but Houstan is a very good prospect that helped Montverde Academy win high school titles, and could be a solid pick high in this draft.
10. Roko Prkacin, F, KK Cibona (Croatia) (17)
He is an agile, skilled combo forward that decided to return to play for Cibona this season. He is a very good scorer that excels at making plays off the dribble, and he is a very athletic, tall playmaker that can create mismatches that swing in his favor.
Nzosa is a very athletic center that could project to be a solid rim protector in the NBA. He is a tremendous shot blocker and gifted interior defender, and he plays in one of the best leagues in the world, the Spanish ACB League. However, he also is very skinny and quite limited offensively. His strong athletic gifts and defensive skills could enable him to be a very good pick in the mid first round range.
He is a speedy, versatile scoring forward that shoots the ball very well. He is a tall, athletic wing player that has a great deal of upside, but he will to improve his focus on the defensive end. He made the unconventional move of going to Wisconsin-Milwaukee to join his dad’s team, but it could pay off with a strong season this year.
13. Daimion Collins, F-C, Kentucky (13)
He is a very athletic big man that does a very good job of rebounding and blocking shots. He may be a bit unpolished on the offensive end, as he’ll need to improve his shooting and passing skills, but he is a high upside player that could provide much of what Isaiah Jackson provided for the Wildcats last year.
14. Peyton Watson, G-F, UCLA (10)
He is a tall, athletic playmaking forward that can smoothly operate at the point, and he is also a good rebounder, but he’ll need to be a more consistent shooter and scorer in games.
15. Kendall Brown, F, Baylor (34)
I suppose I may be higher on Kendall Brown than most people, but he is a very athletic combo forward that excels at aggressively attacking the hoop to score, and he is a smart and rangy defender that consistently gives great motor and makes sound plays on the defensive end. He’ll need to improve his outside shot, but his versatility and basketball IQ could make him a solid first round prospect this year.
16. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (11)
I wasn’t a big believer or fan of Ivey’s skills at any point during his freshman season, and he was not really on my radar. I’ll admit, I was turned off by his fairly lukewarm freshman statistics, as he didn’t shoot the ball well at all for most of the year, though he did have a 26-point performance in his team’s 1st Round NCAA Tournament win over North Texas.
What really caught my eye was his strong performances in the U19 World Cup this year. He is a tremendously athletic combo guard that can slash to the basket and defend, and he has lockdown defender potential for the NBA level. If he can just add a reliable jump shot to his game, he could be a really good player. That’s a big if, though.
17. TyTy Washington, G, Kentucky (14)
He is a speedy, playmaking guard that can score and pass the basketball, and he also rebounds the ball well. He is a bit undersized and will need to improve his three-point shot, but he is a solid prospect that could be a good first-round choice in the 2022 Draft.
18. Terrence Shannon Jr., G-F, Texas Tech (21)
Shannon is a very athletic swingman that is a solid scorer and defender, and I was a little surprised he wasn’t rated higher by other people when he had briefly entered the 2021 Draft before later withdrawing. Shannon isn’t a lights out shooter, but he’s shown he can knock down outside shots at a high rate in certain key games, and his outside shot could be the key to his draft stock this year.
19. Kadary Richmond, G, Seton Hall (47)
He is a tall, athletic playmaking guard that is solid playmaking and defensive skills, and he could be due for a breakout season this year. He’ll need to improve his jump shot and show that he can play well in an elevated role for Seton Hall, but he certainly is a player to watch this year.
20. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee (15)
He is a speedy, playmaker that has very good defensive skills, and he has the potential to be a dynamic scorer in games. He can sometimes be inconsistent with his jump shot and be a bit turnover prone with the ball in his hands, but he is a talented guard that has the potential to skyrocket up the draft boards.
He is a very athletic combo guard that can score and pass the basketball. He’ll need to be a more consistent outside shooter and improve his defense, but he is a very talented prospect that could really move up the draft boards, especially if he plays well this season.
22. Taevion Kinsey, G-F, Marshall (25)
He is a very athletic swingman that does a very good job of scoring and passing the basketball. He prefers taking mid-range jumpers, so he’ll need to extend his range out to beyond the arc. Still, he could be one of the best players in college basketball this year.
23. Jaime Jaquez Jr., G-F, UCLA (28)
Jaquez is a high motor swingman that consistently gives great effort, and he is a versatile, fill-in-the-blanks player. He is a good shooter that will knock down shots in crunch time, and he is a tough, feisty defender that can guard multiple positions. He’s not an elite athlete, but he makes up for it with his smarts and skills on the basketball court.
24. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (36)
He is a speedy, agile combo guard that can flat out score the basketball. He is a very good shooter that has unlimited range, but he also sometimes seems to have not met a shot that he doesn’t like. He’ll need to show teams that he can effectively run the point at higher levels, but his strong shooting and scoring skills should allow him to go in the late first to the second round range in the 2022 Draft.
25. Benny Williams, F, Syracuse (57)
He is a very athletic forward that excels at making hustle plays on both ends of the floor. He is a rangy defender that can guard multiple positions, and he also does a good job of scoring the basketball. He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter, but he could be a sleeper prospect for the 2022 Draft.
He is a tall, smart forward that shoots and passes the ball well. He’s not the most athletic player, but he’s consistently played well at high levels of international basketball.
He is an athletic swingman that operates well at the point and off the ball, and he is a smart player that tends to make good decisions on offense. He also does a fairly job of scoring the basketball. He’ll need to improve his outside shot, but he is a talented player that could be a likely first round pick in 2022.
28. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford (56)
He is an athletic, combo forward that has good basketball IQ, and is a versatile player that may make him a very underrated prospect. He is a good playmaker that can run the point, and he also has the ability to guard multiple positions. He’ll need to improve his jump shot, but his all-around skills could enable him to thrive this year.
29. Hunter Sallis, G, Gonzaga (37)
He is an athletic, skilled combo guard that has solid offensive skills. He excels at driving to the hoop to score, and he also can operate at the point if necessary. He also does a great job of getting steals on the defensive end. He’ll need to improve his three-point shot, but his offensive skills and versatility could make him a solid pick in the late first to the second round range.
Hailing from France, Dieng is a very athletic point forward that will play in the NBL in Australia this year. He is a gifted playmaker that can comfortably run the point, and he also excels at slashing the basket to score on offense. He’ll need to improve his jump shot and defense, but he could go high in the draft if he plays well in the NBL this year.
That’s my list for now. Everyone will have different lists, I’m sure, and this list will likely change over time. Of course, I’ll probably adjust my board throughout the season once more games are played. Thank you for reading.