The 2022 NBA Draft is officially a week away. There is a plethora of mock drafts to sift through, projecting where each player will be drafted.
Instead of concurring another mock draft that uses similar theories as to which player will go there, this serves a different purpose.
Christine Butterfield, General Manager/Strength Coach/Sommelier, will base this mock draft entirely on team fits.
Some prospects will be in entirely different places than projected, some will be listed in the same range as expected.
But each player is selected based on what these NBA teams need or who the franchises can gamble on.
So sit back, relax and let’s get into this draft team fits style:
1. Orlando Magic- Chet Holmgren
Chet Holmgren is one of the most exciting projects in the 2022 draft. The Magic are searching for players to change their trajectory. Having a unique skill set like Holmgren’s to build around would a strong cornerstone to shifting Orlando’s franchise.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder- Jabari Smith
Adding Jabari Smith to the Thunder’s back court would make for an electrifying offense. Josh Giddey has become an elite passer and playmaker. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is really the only true offensive threat in the lineup when considering his superior iso-scoring. With Smith joining the fold, OKC would bring in another offensive threat.
As one of the best spot-up shooters in the draft, he would be a lengthy perimeter and midrange shooter. Smith shot an insane 43.6 percent from deep. At his length, listed as six-foot-ten, this makes for an enticing package.
This trio could diversify the offense in numerous ways and wreak havoc against opposing defense.
3. Houston Rockets- Paolo Banchero
Once Smith and Holmgren are off the books, its common sense that Paolo Banchero will be selected next.
Banchero’s skill set would be advantageous for any team. Honestly, the Rockets need a lot to turn their franchise around. But bringing in Banchero would give Houston a strong shooter, dynamic play-maker and an athletic defender.
4. Sacramento Kings- Shaedon Sharpe
Jaden Ivey is projected to be a top four prospect. Despite this fact, how typical would it be for Sacramento to pass on a for-sure thing for the shiny mystery that is Shaedon Sharpe.
Sharpe on paper looks like one of the most talented scorers in draft. Not to mention hyper-athletic for his size (six-foot-four to be exact).
Yet even with all the intrigue there looms one fact.
Shaedon Sharpe has not competed against serious competition in over a year. He sat out at Kentucky and refused to participate in five-on-five drills.
But hey loom a shiny object in front of Sacramento and well…
Kings gonna Kings.
5. Detroit Pistons- Jaden Ivey
Jaden Ivey is an elite shot creator and a smart player-maker. Pairing him with Cade Cunningham would make a fantastic back court.
Frankly, the Pistons need all the play-making and star power they can get. Ivey will be given every opportunity to shine in Detroit.
6. Indiana Pacers- Keenan Murray
Surprised Iowa produced a player projected to go this high TBH.
7. Portland Trail Blazers- Dyson Daniels
A few weeks ago Dyson Daniels was projected to go in the middle of the first round. Now he’s jumped draft boards all the way to the top ten.
Is it because of his elite passing ability? Or maybe his improved jumper?
It’s difficult to pinpoint one particular reason, though overall he’s an interesting player.
Daniels is an incredible passer that can thread the basketball quite easily. His tone-setting defense is another strength in his arsenal. Having the versatility to defend guards and wings, Daniels high IQ is shown on both ends of the floor.
8. New Orleans Pelicans- Bennedict Mathurin
Joining Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, Bennedict Mathurin’s sharp shooting would make him a great fit.
Mathurin is a solid ball-handler, which New Orleans is not short of. But confidence with the rock is never a negative.
In fact, the Pelicans having multiple ball-handlers on the floor would give them various options.
Breathtaking during fast breaks, Mathurin eagerly forces turnovers and converts points in transition. He’s always ready to drain a triple or finish an explosive dunk.
Shooting 37.9 percent from the perimeter in addition to his athleticism makes him a strong fit for the Pelicans.
9. San Antonio Spurs- AJ Griffin
Probably the most talented 3-and-D player in this draft, AJ Griffin is very sought after.
Incredibly comfortable from deep, Griffin shot 48.3 percent from three-point range. To be fair this came from 3.9 attempts per game, BUT STILL!
He can also hit midrange shots and has a certain way of drawing contact.
Is a tantalizing defensive prospect thanks to his seven-foot wingspan. He needs to master the fundamentals, which is why San Antonio would be a smart fit.
10. Washington Wizards- Ousmane Dieng
Displaying one of the highest upsides in the draft is Ousmane Dieng. Standing at six-foot-ten, his length when combined with defense and shot creation is intriguing.
Dieng has a quick first step, a series of moves that creates space for his shots including low crossovers and hesitations. He has the whole offensive package…except for that thing called efficiency.
In the NBL Dieng shot 35.6 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from the perimeter…can I get a yikes?
On the bright side, the shot mechanics are there. So with a little more development, Dieng could be a real offensive threat. He can lean on his raw talent and defensive prowess with the Wizards until his efficiency takes form.
11. New Yorks Knicks- Jalen Duren
Let’s look at the facts shall we?
Mitchell Robinson is a free agent and Nerlens Noel cannot stay healthy.
The wisest decision for the Knicks would be to bring in another big like Jalen Duren.
Duren is strong when pressuring the rim and is one of the draft’s youngest players. He’s only 18 and a half years old.
A good rebounder, excellent interior finisher and agile for his size makes him a good fail safe for New York to begin molding. When considering how youthful Duren is, there is a lot of upside to this rim protector.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder- Jeremy Sochan
Who the Thunder pick at 12 entirely relies on who OKC selects with the second overall draft pick.
In this scenario, Oklahoma City has selected an athletic, talented spot-up shooter in Smith. So the roster does not need a flashy prospect at No. 12.
Jeremy Sochan would be an amazing get specifically for his defensive skill set. He’s a solid rim protector, guard one-four on the floor and can move laterally on the perimeter.
Mobility and strength are his biggest assets defensively and Sochan has the perfect skill set from NBA switching defenses.
Sochan is also a skilled interior player with a high release on his shot. Although his three-point shot needs some development (shot 29.9 percent at Baylor). Yet with the Thunder drafting Smith, Sochan would set the tone on defense and play well alongside Dort.
13. Charlotte Hornets- Ochai Agbaji
The Charlotte Hornets are one of the youngest teams in the league. Their style of play relies on forcing turnovers and hitting shots in transition. Offensively the organization has various athletic, shooting guards.
Ochai Agabji matches this culture perfectly.
Finishing his senior season at Kansas shooting 41 percent from the perimeter, Agbaji is not afraid to pull-up from behind the arc.
Displaying excellent awareness in transition, Agabji made seven-of-14 shots off the dribble.
His basketball IQ follows him to the defensive end where he remains very disciplined. A versatile defender who uses his long arms to his advantage, Agabji is certainly reliable.
Agbaji will fit right in at Charlotte.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers- Johnny Davis
Johnny Davis lives in the midrange, he must have watched a lot of Chris Paul highlights growing up.
Flashing a nasty turnaround jumper, Davis has every move imaginable to get into his sweet spots. Developing these moves were necessary since he does not have a quick first step.
Defensively, Davis can guard on the perimeter or handle smaller players in the post. Finally Darius Garland can get some help.
15. Charlotte Hornets- Mark Williams
Since Charlotte has already selected an athletic shooting guard, the Hornets will use their next pick on an athletic big.
Mark Williams is one of the best rim protectors of his class. Defensively, Williams is fundamentally sound. He’s a stout rebounder and does not commit careless fouls which is impressive considering Williams stands at seven-foot with a seven-foot-seven wingspan.
Utilizing his explosiveness, Williams easily finishes lobs over defenses. He can catch difficult interior passes and is a major weapon in the pick-and-roll.
He does lack a perimeter skill set, Williams shot zero percent from deep last season and does not flash lateral quickness.
Yet if drafted to the Hornets, there’s no doubt he’ll be brought up to speed with this group.
16. Atlanta Hawks- Tari Eason
Anyone that averages two steals a game would be welcomed on the Hawks roster.
Atlanta finished last season ranked 26th in defensive rating. So bringing in a gritty defender like Tari Eason is a no-brainer.
He has the frame of a forward yet the quickness of a guard. That combination is special. Surprisingly Eason shines more off-ball when he displayed positional awareness and racked up steals.
Once he forces turnovers he’s quick in the fast break and converts. Eason is eager to take the ball all the way to rim. He doesn’t settle for floaters, Eason finishes layups with either hand, explodes for dunks, or draws contact.
Eason rotating into this Atlanta lineup could be the defensive spark the team needs.
17. Houston Rockets- Malaki Branham
In this mock draft, Houston has already selected Banchero. The Rockets will most likely use Banchero as a leading creator of the offense. This would push Jalen Green to play more off-ball, which might make him more comfortable in the flow of the offense.
Malaki Branham would be a solid player off the bench that can provide iso-scoring and impactful defense.
18. Chicago Bulls- E.J. Liddell
As of right now, Chicago needs more aid on the wings. E.J. Liddell has improved his shooting from beyond the arc every season. This is a plus because it shows Liddell can and will continue to develop.
He is a grandpa in rookie world though, as he will turn 22 this year, Liddell will need to prove his worth quickly.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves- Ty Ty Washington
It’s difficult not to get excited when imagining TyTy Washington and Karl Anthony-Towns as a pick-and-roll duo.
Anthony Edwards really stepped up in the playoffs so bringing in Washington would construct an explosive offense.
Washington is like a great DJ, once you think you know their tempo and where they’re going, he’ll scratch on a new record.
Uses stutters, head fakes and changes of direction to constantly keep the defense guessing.
Seemingly addicted to the midrange, Washington made 52.5 percent of this floaters. Already has the skill set for long-range shots, displaying side steps and setbacks. Although he made only 30.4 percent of off the dribble threes.
Overall, Washington’s ball-handling and interesting shot selection could turn up the heat in Minnesota.
20. Spurs- Blake Wesley
Blake Wesley a raw, high-upside player, a win-win for the Spurs.
He’s a crafty ball-handler that can get a basket whenever he wants. Using combo moves, Wesley has an unpredictability factor that makes him hard to contain in isolation.
Although, he has poor shot mechanics so if Wesley does not pan out for San Antonio, the Spurs can easily blame it on his inability to improve his efficiency.
21. Denver Nuggets- Nikola Jovic
For the sole purpose of causing outstanding confusion for Nikola Jovic and Nikola Jokic.
Chaotic neutral or chaotic bad?
22. Memphis Grizzlies- Walker Kessler
As much as people love the New Zealander Steven Adams, he is turning 30 this year.
If Memphis is looking towards the future they will need to groom a a center in his place. Walker Kessler would be a good fit for the Grizzlies.
He’s a massive interior force who holds a seven-foot-five wingspan. Kessler averaged 4.5 blocks per game, basically has a fly swatter for a hand.
Once you factor in his defensive discipline and high basketball IQ, it’s hard to get a bucket on this giant.
Only downside is that he shot 21.6 percent from the perimeter and 57.6 percent from the line. This doesn’t leave much room for optimism. But on a hot Memphis squad he would have time to work on his shot mechanics while coming off the bench as a reliable role player.
23. Philadelphia 76ers- Jalen Williams
Since James Harden is no playmaker, adding Jalen Williams could work in this system.
Joel Embiid brings size and a dynamic interior force. Harden can do what he does best: hang out on the perimeter and wait for the ball to swing his way.
Williams can facilitate pick-and-rolls and handoffs. He can create and is a very selfless passer, which is perfect for Embiid and Harden.
Not too shabby from deep either, Williams made 44.3 percent of his catch-and-shoot triples as a junior.
Could be a nice compliment to the bigger stars.
24. Milwaukee Bucks- Kendall Brown
An outstanding athlete like Kendall Brown would be a great addition for Giannis Antetokounmpo.
For only being 19 years old, Brown has amazing body control. Using his angles to generate space seems to come just as naturally as his innate explosiveness.
Not only saving his athleticism on the offensive end, Brown is a versatile and aggressive defender. He lockdowns guards and envelops them with his length.
Brown’s downside is despite shooting 38.9 percent from deep last season, it was on a very low volume. Luckily for him though, Brown’s soft touch near the basket on floaters and pull-ups show there’s potential for his shooting to develop.
The Bucks have one of the biggest stars in the NBA so they aren’t in much need of another one. Brown could become a solid role player on the defensive end for Milwaukee.
25. San Antonio Spurs via the Celtics- Jalen Hardy
Poor Jaden hardy, I feel bad for this kid I really do.
He went from a top high school recruit to crashing his draft stock after a disappointing season with the G League Ignite. I’d say what a fall from grace, but even for me thats a bit dramatic.
Ultimately, Hardy is a gritty defensive player that is not afraid of taking a charge or two.
Shockingly Hardy is more efficient on catch-and-shoot threes (36.6 percent) than he is on pull-up two point jumpers (35.7 percent).
Hardy is inconsistent at this point in his career but maybe the Spurs can whip him into shape.
26. Dallas Mavericks- Dalen Terry
If this NBA playoffs made anything obvious, its that Luka Doncic needs some help over in Dallas.
Now Doncic will always take charge, but adding Dalen Terry would help facilitate dynamic offensive possessions. Terry can handle the ball well enough to attack off the bounce or pass off the dribble.
Bringing in ball movement and motion to the offense is essential for the Mavericks.
27. Miami Heat- Kennedy Chandler
Kyle Lowry began losing some steam in the post-season. Enter in another shot creator, Kennedy Chandler.
Chandler is a little undersized, only five-foot-eleven, but makes up for it with his defensive grit.
Loves to snatch steals, Chandler remains active on the defensive end. Displays impressive awareness when rotating and stays in passing lanes in order to deflect passes.
Offensively, Chandler limits turnovers while manipulating defenses. Very quick and uses various change-of-pace moves to create space for himself or for his teammates.
On top of his appealing qualities, Chandler shot 37 percent from the perimeter last season for Tennessee.
He should fit into ‘heat culture’ quite well.
28. Golden State Warriors- Marion Beauchamp
The Warriors have all the shooting power in the world as we’ve been reminded during this NBA Finals series.
Another reminder that Golden State has graced us with is how strong their defense is.
Marion Beauchamp has an impressive defensive profile. Recording a seven-foot-one wingspan, Beauchamp easily intimates ball handlers with length. More than just his size, Beauchamp has amazing lateral quickness and solid technique.
His frame and length can absorb contact and has excellent awareness when rebounding.
His major downside…his poor three-point shooting. Beauchamp finished last season with Ignite shooting 24.2 percent from deep.
But who better to learn from than Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson? If those two cannot help Beauchamp’s three-point efficiency improve I’m not sure what could.
29. Memphis Grizzlies- Christian Braun
The Grizzlies are an up-and-comnig youthful NBA team. Memphis exceeded expectations during the playoffs after getting to the second round.
Ja Morant definitely needs some help from the perimeter and Christian Braun would fill that spot. Braun shot 38 percent on catch-and-shoot last season for Kansas.
Braun has one of the most electrifying defensive styles. A natural pest, Braun goats players into making bad decision.
Thrives in transition, absolutely thirsty to make opponents pay for their mistakes. Braun is a quick decision maker on the fast break. Also has no problem pulling up for a transition triple or stampeding the lane for an electrifying dunk.
A 3-and-D player like Braun would perfectly match the Grizzlies culture. Not to mention his tenacious competitive spirit, he’d fit right in.
30. Denver Nuggets via the Oklahoma City Thunder
Recently Denver traded JaMychal Green and a protected 2027 first-round pick to OKC for the 30th pick in the 2022 draft and two future second-round picks.
Clearly, the Nuggets want to draft two players in the first round. But the question is, who do they want so bad to trade for the last pick of the first round?