The 2021 NBA draft is over, and NBA fans will have to wait patiently to see what sort of careers Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and the rest of players from the class will have. The 2021 draft was one of the deepest classes with some star power at the top.
Next year's draft is top heavy as well with players like Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero and Jaden Hardy all in early consideration for the No. 1 pick. Holmgren (Gonzaga) and Banchero (Duke) willl go head-to-head in the most-anticipated college game of the season on Nov. 26 in Las Vegas.
There will undoubtedly be a ton of movement between now and June 23. Here's Yahoo Sports' way-too-early look at the first round of the 2022 NBA draft.
(Draft order is from NBADraft.net.)
1. Houston Rockets: C Chet Holmgren
Ht./Wt.: 7-foot, 195 pounds
There is no player quite like Holmgren. He's a 7-footer who handles the ball like a guard and his movement through the lane is almost impossible to defend. He recently helped lead Team USA to a gold medal during the U19 FIBA World Cup where he finished with 10 points and five assists in the championship game. Gonzaga has a very good chance to return to the championship game this season and get redemption after last season's disappointing loss to Baylor.
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 235
Banchero chose Duke over his hometown college Washington (where both of his parents are basketball legends) and is the last big-time player Mike Krzyzewski will coach before he retires. Banchero already has an NBA-ready body and can do it all on the court, from taking an opponent off the dribble to making a move on the block. Banchero and Holmgren have both been the No. 1 player in high school at one point and the two will continue to compete for the top spot in the draft during their one year of college.
3. Orlando Magic: G Jaden Hardy
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 185
Team: G League Ignite
Hardy is the best scorer in America and chose the G League Ignite team over UCLA, Arizona and Kentucky. He isn't afraid to shoot from anywhere on the court and is the best player in this draft at creating separation off the dribble. If he dominates the G League like he did in high school, Hardy could be in the conversation for the No. 1 pick.
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 210
Smith Jr. is one of the best wings in this draft class and is a great defender who can guard positions 1-through-5. Offensively, he has a long frame with a tight handle and a high basketball IQ. Smith Jr. is the son of Jabari Smith, who played professionally for 10 seasons and on four different NBA teams.
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 200
Juwan Howard has the No. 1 recruiting class coming in, led by Houstan. The 6-foot-8 wing played high school basketball at Montverde Academy where Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes and Moses Moody all played. Houstan has a great feel for the game and can shoot the ball well from 3-point range. He has a high release on his jump shot that is virtually impossible to guard.
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 190
Griffin is the son of former NBA player Adrian Griffin. He's a big guard who can bully his way downhill due to his size and is tough to defend off the first step. Griffin was a top-15 recruit coming out of high school and chose the Blue Devils over Georgetown, Villanova, Maryland and Illinois.
7. Toronto Raptors: G Jaden Ivey
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 200
Purdue: 10 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Purdue played in only one NCAA tournament game this past season, and it was Ivey who caught the eye of every NBA scout at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Ivey is the son of Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach Niele Ivey, who was previously an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 26 points in the overtime loss to North Texas. It was the most points scored in the NCAA tournament by any Big Ten freshman. Ivey is a strong guard who has incredible touch around the rim and great size in a mismatch situation. He’s a player who can score at all three levels and will undoubtedly be Option 1 in the offense next season for the Boilermakers.
8. Chicago Bulls: G Peyton Watson
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 190
Watson is a long, athletic guard who has a great frame for a modern-day NBA shooting guard. He's quick enough to guard the perimeter and is a great shot blocker when dropping down on help-side defense. Watson has one of the highest ceilings in this draft class and continues to improve year after year.
9. Sacramento Kings: F Nikola Jović
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 205
Serbia: 11.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Jović is the most talented international prospect in this draft class and is a versatile forward who can do a little bit of everything on the court. He's similar to Evan Mobley in that he can handle the ball well in the open court and has a nice touch around the rim and great hands.
10. New Orleans Pelicans: F Patrick Baldwin Jr.
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 205
School: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Baldwin Jr. chose to play for his dad at UW-Milwaukee over powerhouse programs like Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky. He's a top-five prospect coming into college and is a phenomenal passer for his size. He sees the court so well and can handle the ball outside the key or drop down low in the post.
11. Charlotte Hornets: G Kendall Brown
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 200
The reigning national champions lost the elite backcourt duo of Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler to the NBA but are gaining a great player in Brown. He is a wing with good size who can score at all three levels, averaging 15.4 points per game his senior season at Sunrise Christian Academy.
12. San Antonio Spurs: G Bennedict Mathurin
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 195
Arizona: 10.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Mathurin is a player to watch this upcoming college basketball season. He's a high-level guard who has great size and is a great playmaker. Arizona has a new head coach in Tommy Lloyd and this could be a clean slate for Mathurin to really shine in the Pac-12.
13. Indiana Pacers: G Kennedy Chandler
Ht./Wt.: 6-0, 170
Chandler is a true floor general who is one of the fastest guards in the open court. He helped lead his high school team, Sunrise Christian Academy, to a 21-4 record and averaged 14.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game while shooting 50% from 3-point range.
14. Golden State Warriors: C Daimion Collins
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 210
Collins has a ton of raw athleticism and is a high-flying center who loves to finish everything above the rim. He'll need to work on his shot selection during his freshman year at Kentucky, but there's a ton of upside to his game with his length and leaping ability.
15. Washington Wizards: G Matthew Cleveland
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 190 | Class: Freshman | Florida State
16. Boston Celtics: G J.D. Davison
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 180 | Class: Freshman | Alabama
17. Memphis Grizzlies: G Max Christie
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 185 | Class: Freshman | Michigan State
18. Miami Heat: C Mark Williams
Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 243 | Class: Sophomore | Duke: 6.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg
19. New York Knicks: G Taevion Kinsey
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 185 | Class: Senior | Marshall: 20 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.1 apg
20. Atlanta Hawks: F Marcus Bagley
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 215 | Class: Sophomore | Arizona State: 10.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg
21. Dallas Mavericks: G TyTy Washington
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 180 | Class: Freshman | Kentucky
22. Los Angles Lakers: G Matthew Mayer
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 225 | Class: Senior | Baylor: 8.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg
23. Portland Trail Blazers: F Brandon Huntley-Hatfield
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 220 | Class: Freshman | Tennessee
24. Milwaukee Bucks: G Mike Miles
Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 195 | Class: Sophomore | TCU: 13.8 ppg, 3.2 apg
25. Los Angeles Clippers: F Trayce Jackson-Davis
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 245 | Class: Junior | Indiana: 19.1 ppg, 9 rpg
26. Denver Nuggets: G Allen Flanigan
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 215 | Class: Junior | Auburn: 14.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg
27. Brooklyn Nets: F Keyontae Johnson
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 230 | Class: Senior | Florida: 16 ppg, 4.5 rpg
28. Philadelphia 76ers: G Micah Peavy
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 215 | Class: Sophomore | TCU (transfer): 5.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg
29. Phoenix Suns: G Caleb Love
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 195 | Class: Sophomore | North Carolina: 10.4 ppg, 3.8 apg
30. Utah Jazz: F Michael Foster
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 220 | G League Ignite
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