2022 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Who will shine during March Madness?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 15
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Rockets win the NBA Draft Lottery and sent the order in our first 2022 NBA Mock Draft.

As March Madness gets going we’re taking a first stab at 2022 NBA Mock Draft. For this iteration, we’ve used an NBA Draft lottery simulation from Tankathon, with the Houston Rockets landing in the top spot.

Who is rising and falling in our latest NBA Mock Draft?

The analysis of each individual player here relies heavily on the insights of draft experts like Brian Schroeder, Jeremy Woo and Kevin O’Connor. Each pick is not necessarily a guess at who each team will or even should take, just a hopefully insightful match between prospect skill and upside and each team’s need.

And if you’re looking at any of these picks wondering what the heck I was thinking, just remember that mock drafts are made to be mocked.

Oklahoma City Thunder. Malaki Branham. 30. player. 149. . Guard

A somewhat raw prospect, Branham has already established that he can defend on the wing and has hinted at a tantalizing package as a self-creator. He’d be a bet for the future, but one the Thunder should have no problem making.

211. . Guard. Memphis Grizzlies. Trevor Keels. 29. player

Keels has struggled as a shooter but his size and strength as a combo guard make him a decent creation threat. The Grizzlies don’t have a lot of needs at this point but a microwave scorer off the bench would be a fun addition.

. Forward. Miami Heat. Justin Lewis. 28. player. 110

Lewis might not have a clear NBA role but he has forward size, is a solid team defender and has become a respectable outside shooter. He’s the kind of versatile player the Heat could make the most of.

. Big. Golden State Warriors. Jaylin Williams. 27. player. 41

Williams is a 6-foot-10 big who can rebound, finish and create havoc on the defensive end. His budding passing ability could make him slightly more appealing for the Warriors than some of the other rim-running big man options.

147. . Forward. Brooklyn Nets. E.J. Liddell. 26. player

Liddell has often been compared to P.J. Washington — a polished combo forward who can shoot, move the ball and overpower smaller players in the post. He has situational value but he could be a win-now contributor even on a veteran Nets’ roster.

Jean Montero. 25. player. 211. . Guard. Memphis Grizzlies

Montero is another spark-plug point guard who can create his own shot but needs to develop his outside shooting and may be limited by his size. The Grizzlies might prefer a 3-and-D wing to another swing at a microwave bench scorer but Montero is a lot of fun.

89. . Forward. Milwaukee Bucks. Julian Champagnie. 24. player

Champagnie can defend multiple frontcourt positions and has shown some shooting chops — hitting 35.6 percent of his 3-pointers over the last two seasons. He’s a solid role player who fits with what the Bucks already do and could help them keep reloading their bench.

79. . Guard. Dallas Mavericks. Ochai Agbaji. 23. player

Ochai Agbaji has been pegged as a lottery pick in some mocks and would be a huge get for the Mavs this late in the first round — a physical wing who can shoot, defend and create some offense for himself.

. Forward. Denver Nuggets. Harrison Ingram. 22. player. 73

Ingram is a versatile forward with strong passing and defensive chops who should look much more efficient in a complementary role. There is some overlap with what Aaron Gordon provides but he could be some nice added depth for the Nuggets.

Mark Williams. 21. player. 24. . Center. Chicago Bulls

Williams is another familiar big man, an explosive leaper and solid rim-protector who could help as a defensive anchor and pick-and-roll rim-runner. It may be a limited archetype but it’s one the Bulls could use.

Forward. San Antonio Spurs. Patrick Baldwin Jr.. 20. player. 29.

Baldwin Jr. was a top high school prospect because of his size, fluidity and shooting touch. Watching him struggle to do much of anything, including hit jumpers, at a small school like University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has lowered his valuation. But the talent is still there and the Spurs know how to get the best out of players like him.

Blake Wesley. 19. player. 100. . Guard. Indiana Pacers

Wesley will need to improve his efficiency and outside shooting but he’s an athletic scorer and shot creator with defensive upside. The Pacers guard rotation could be pretty full next season, which could take the pressure of Wesley to produce right away.

Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. MarJon Beauchamp. 18. player. 86.

The Timberwolves’ roster has taken shape and a player like Beauchamp — a big, strong wing with upside as a defender and off-ball finisher — should help add versatile depth for the future.

player. 29. . Forward. San Antonio Spurs. Jeremy Sochan. 17

Sochan is versatility personified — a 6-foot-8 forward who can be an effective defender against multiple positions and fill several roles on offense with his creation, passing and off-ball awareness. If he ever becomes a knockdown shooter, he could be a star.

149. . Center. Oklahoma City Thunder. Jalen Duren. 16. player

Duren projects as a rim-running big with excellent shot-blocking potential and physical tools. He may never progress beyond that role but it’s a skill set that could really benefit the rest of this young Thunder core.

15. player. 169. . Forward. Houston Rockets. Kendall Brown

Brown has drawn comparisons to Kenrich Williams, an athletic combo forward who can defend multiple positions, be a threat in transition and as an off-ball cutter. If he starts knocking down 3s it would be a game-changer.