NBA Mock Draft 2022: Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith headline list of top prospects heading into March Madness

March Madness is upon us and there is no better time to catch up on future NBA prospects competing in the NCAA Tournament. March Madness always places a microscope on the top prospects of the upcoming draft class, where big performances and impressive runs can boost your draft stock overnight.

Below you can find where prospects stand heading into the tournament. We will have an updated Mock Draft at the conclusion of March Madness as well.

For comparison, you can check out our previous two 2022 NBA Mock Drafts from the start of the college basketball season and after the NBA trade deadline.

For the Mock Draft order, we went with the reverse final standings from FiveThirtyEight’s NBA predictions model.

So without further ado – with the first pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets select…

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NBA Mock Draft 2022

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1. Houston Rockets: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

Position: F/C

Height and weight: 7-foot-1, 190 lbs.

Age: 19, Freshman

Holmgren moves up to No. 1 here for the first time on my Mock Draft board. The freshman 7-footer took his game to another level when conference play started and once the calendar flipped to February, you could make the case that he has been the best player in the entire country. In Gonzaga’s final eight regular season games, Holmgren posted jaw-dropping averages of 15.4 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.1 (!) blocks per game with seven double-doubles, dominating on both ends of the floor.

He’s one of the best shot blockers in the nation, handles the ball like a guard and can shoot it from the outside. Don’t let his slender frame fool you – Holmgren plays with an attitude and he is more than talented enough to be the No. 1 overall pick.

2. Detroit Pistons: Paolo Banchero, Duke

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-10, 235 lbs.

Age: 19, Freshman

Banchero has the size, skillset and potential of a prototypical No. 1 pick but sometimes, it seems like he picks and chooses when to play as hard as he can. Don’t get me wrong, the Duke freshman had a phenomenal season, showcasing his elite shot creation and passing skills for a player with his build. He has a soft shooting touch and an arsenal of go-to scoring moves from the perimeter and the post. His physicality and mobility make him as NBA-ready as anyone in this class. When he locks in on both ends of the floor, you see exactly why he could be a future star in the league. He just needs to channel that mentality every time he steps on the floor.

3. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith Jr., Auburn

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-10, 210 lbs.

Age: 18, Freshman

Midway through the season, Smith jumped into discussions for the No. 1 overall pick and he very well could still end up being the first name called. The 6-foot-10 forward has a case as the best pure shooter in this class, capable of knocking down shots from all over the floor with his high release and smooth stroke. His quick feet, length and athleticism make him the type of versatile defender every NBA team is looking for. He’s an impact player in all facets of the game. His development as a shot creator will determine just how high his ceiling of future stardom rises.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jaden Ivey, Purdue

Position: G

Height and weight: 6-foot-4, 200 lbs.

Age: 20, Sophomore

Ivey will make an immediate impact at the next level, it’s as simple as that. The Purdue sophomore has been a two-way menace this season. He’s explosive and electrifying when he gets downhill and attacks the rim, looking like he has a turbo button at times. He invites contact in the paint and that same physicality translates to the defensive end, where he is one of the most disruptive perimeter defenders in college basketball. He has drastically improved as a shooter from his freshman season and if his playmaking comes along, he’ll be a complete product as an NBA combo guard.

MORE: Could Ivey become the best prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft class?

Keegan-Murray-FTR

5. Sacramento Kings: Keegan Murray, Iowa

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-8, 215 lbs.

Age: 21, Sophomore

In my first Mock Draft, I said Murray had “all the makings of a late first-round steal.” Turns out his ceiling is much higher than that. Murray has emerged as one of the best – and most efficient – scorers in the entire country. Averaging 23.6 points per game on 55.5 percent shooting from the field and 40.5 percent shooting from 3, the sophomore forward gets to his spots, knocks down shots and rarely forces offense. He’s a long and versatile defender who is intelligent on the help side. His game will translate seamlessly as a plug-and-play player in the NBA.

6. Indiana Pacers: AJ Griffin, Duke

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-6, 220 lbs.

Age: 18, Freshman

Griffin got out to a slow start to his freshman season but he eventually found his groove as a scorer. He’s built like a running back with broad shoulders and a strong frame, looking stiff at times because of his stature. He uses that strength to his advantage with good body control when he drives the lane and he has a soft shooting touch from both the midrange and 3. He could be more aggressive on the offensive end, sometimes getting lost in the mix of a Duke team loaded with prospects, but that is also a product of his role on the team. He is the son of former NBA player and current Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin.

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7. Portland Trail Blazers: Jalen Duren, Memphis

Position: C

Height and weight: 6-foot-10, 235 lbs.

Age: 18, Freshman

Duren is the most physically gifted player in this class with unmatched strength and jaw-dropping athleticism. He came out of the gate slow during his freshman season but once conference play started, Duren began to show exactly why he’s a perennial top-10 pick. He’s a two-way force in the paint, catching lobs on offense, protecting the rim on defense and owning the glass on both sides. His 21-point, 20-rebound game in the AAC Tournament is a sign of how physically imposing he can be. Depending on how the actual NBA Draft order shakes out, Duren could easily be selected in the top five.

8. San Antonio Spurs: Johnny Davis, Wisconsin

Position: G

Height and weight: 6-foot-5, 194 lbs.

Age: 20, Sophomore

Davis is one of the biggest risers in the 2022 NBA Draft class, going from unanimously being left off of preseason Mock Drafts to cracking the top-10 in a matter of months. After averaging 7.0 points per game as a freshman, Davis has elevated his game to become one of the best scorers in the country. He has wowed the masses with his shot creation off the bounce, ability to knock down tough shots and score from all three levels of the floor. He works hard on defense but his measurables do limit his versatility on that end at the next level. His motor and winner’s mentality will have to make up for what he lacks in length and NBA-level athleticism.

Bennedict Mathurin

9. New Orleans Pelicans (via LAL): Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona

Position: G

Height and weight: 6-foot-6, 195 lbs.

Age: 19, Sophomore

In my opinion, there isn’t much that separates Mathurin from Duke’s Griffin or Wisconsin’s Davis. The 6-foot-6 guard has a lightning-quick first step, he has improved his handle to become a more lethal shot creator and he’s shown he has all the tools of a scoring guard in the NBA. He can pull up off the bounce or knock down shots off of screens. He already has a floater in his arsenal but can use his burst and athleticism to finish at the rim. His intensity on the defensive end doesn’t waiver. Mathurin will give any NBA team a boost as a pesky perimeter defender and bucket-getter.

EXPERT PICKS: DeCourcy (Arizona) | Bender (Kentucky) | Fagan (Gonzaga) | Pohnl (Arizona)

10. Washington Wizards: TyTy Washington, Kentucky

Position: G

Height and weight: 6-foot-3, 185 lbs.

Age: 20, Freshman

Washington has flourished as Kentucky’s floor general, making a case as the best passer in this draft class. His 17-point, 17-assist double-double against Georgia earlier this season gave us a glimpse of how gifted he is at setting the table for his teammates and elevating everyone around him. He has tight handles, changes pace and direction in an instance has crisp shot mechanics, making him a multi-faceted threat to opposing defenses. He has played through multiple injuries this season but has a real chance to boost his draft stock if he can lead Kentucky on a run in the NCAA Tournament.

Dyson Daniels (NBA League Ignite)

11. New Orleans Pelicans: Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite

Position: G

Height and weight: 6-foot-6, 180 lbs.

Age: 19

Making the most of his opportunity with the G League Ignite, Daniels has elevated his draft stock into a sure-fire lottery pick. His length and energy make him extremely disruptive and suffocating on defense. His passing ability allows him to act as a secondary initiator on offense. He does the majority of his scoring as a cutter and finishes well around the rim, but he’s also developed a little floater that will help him at the next level. His jumper is coming along and that will be the final piece to truly become a two-way threat.

12. New York Knicks: Jaden Hardy, G League Ignite

Position: G

Height and weight: 6-foot-4, 185 lbs.

Age: 19

Hardy has had some ups and downs during his season with the G League Ignite but his potential as a scorer still makes him one of the most well-rounded offensive threats in his class. He is an elite shot creator with deep 3-point shooting range, which helps give him a runway to blow by defenders and get to the rim. He has developed as a passer which bodes well for his future as a combo guard in the NBA, but he needs to work on his shot selection and play within the offense.

13. Atlanta Hawks (via CHA): Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

Position: G

Height and weight: 6-foot-5, 215 lbs.

Age: 21, Senior

It’s rare to see a senior in the lottery these days, but Agbaji has shown his improvement is worthy of NBA consideration. He’s a scoring threat from all three levels of the floor, starting with his ability as a knockdown shooter from 3-point range. His ball handling has developed and he’s gotten more comfortable attacking off the dribble, pairing well with his strong frame and steady body control when he gets to the basket. His age could be seen as a negative, but Agbaji should be ready to enter an NBA rotation immediately as a 3-and-D option.

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14. Atlanta Hawks: Kendall Brown, Baylor

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-8, 205 lbs.

Age: 18, Freshman

Brown had a really strong start to the season, which saw the Baylor freshman rise up on Mock Drafts. His fluid athleticism, quick feet, breakaway speed and vertical leap make him an enticing prospect. He can comfortably defend 1-through-4 with the agility to keep up with guards on the perimeter and the length and hops to bother forwards inside. His jumpshot mechanics are a little unorthodox but he still knocks down nearly 40 percent of his 3-point attempts. He runs the floor hard in transition and creates easy baskets as a cutter.

15. Oklahoma City Thunder (via LAC): MarJon Beauchamp, G League Ignite

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-6, 199 lbs.

Age: 21

Beauchamp played 14 games in Junior College (and averaged roughly 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in that span) before taking his talents to the Ignite. With the Ignite, he has displayed his NBA potential as an energetic forward who can defend multiple positions. He needs to improve as a spot-up shooter to reach his ceiling as a 3-and-D player, but he’s a glue guy who will crash the glass, run the lane and put pressure on defenses as a cutter.

Tari-Eason-LSU

16. Houston Rockets (via BKN): Tari Eason, LSU

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-8, 216 lbs.

Age: 20, Sophomore

Eason has emerged on Mock Draft boards as one of the best, most versatile defenders in his class. Eason’s length, physicality and athleticism set him apart as a prospect, capable of providing fluid switchability on the wing for an NBA team. He is all over the place defensively, getting his hands in passing lanes and disrupting shots around the basket. His jumpshot could use some fine-tuning but he still finds a way to average 17 points per game. If he can knock down catch-and-shoot 3s, he’ll have a successful future in the NBA.

17. San Antonio Spurs (via TOR): Mark Williams, Duke

Position: C

Height and weight: 7-feet, 245 lbs.

Age: 20, Sophomore

Williams is more of a traditional big man but at 7-feet tall with a reported 7-foot-7 wingspan, he’s crafted like a typical rim-runner at the next level. Williams has been one of the best rim protectors and shot blockers in college basketball, averaging 2.8 blocks per game. Even though he’s not super athletic, he’s a glass cleaning rebounder with a nose for the ball and his length makes him a threat as a lob catcher from the dunker spot on offense.

18. Indiana Pacers (via CLE): E.J. Liddell, Ohio State

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-7, 240 lbs.

Age: 21, Junior

Liddell has slowly progressed into an NBA talent over his three years at Ohio State. Even though he is undersized as a forward at 6-foot-7, his IQ and mobility make up for what he lacks in size. His length (with a reported 7-foot wingspan) and versatility allow him to defend both bigs and wings and he has quick hands and good instincts to come up with blocks. He’s a savvy post scorer and has developed into a reliable 3-point shooter – something that is crucial for his future in the league. He’ll be a stretch forward or small-ball big at the next level.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jeremy Sochan, Baylor

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-9, 230 lbs.

Age: 18, Freshman

Sochan is a wiry forward who plays with a high motor. At 6-foot-9 with a reported 7-foot wingspan, he has the length to defend bigs but he moves fluidly enough to guard on the perimeter. His offensive game has a long way to go with a very raw skillset, but an NBA team could take a swing on him as a project with upside potential.

20. Chicago Bulls: Walker Kessler, Auburn

Position: Center

Height and weight: 7-foot-1, 245 lbs.

Age: 20, Sophomore

Kessler is the nation’s best shot blocker, averaging 4.5 blocks per game. He’s not super mobile but he’s not clunky either. He has displayed a bit of a shooting touch, giving him some potential as a stretch big. He’s physical inside and dominates the glass. He would be a likely target in pick-and-roll actions at the next level, though.

21. Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jovic, Mega Basket (ABA), Serbia

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-10, 210 lbs.

Age: 18

Jovic has an incredible feel for the game as a 6-foot-10 forward. He’s at his best playing on the perimeter as a point-forward with crafty passing skills, but also has great touch around the basket as a slithery finisher. He’s averaging 11 points, four boards and three assists playing high-level basketball overseas, showing he can produce against other pros.

22. San Antonio Spurs (via BOS): Ousmane Dieng, NZ Breakers (NBL), France

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-9, 185 lbs.

Age: 18

Dieng is a creative scorer on the perimeter with quality ball handling skills to get to his spots and he’s a good passer for his size. He has improved as the NBL season has gone on, putting forth a couple of double-digit scoring performances. His best game of 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists against the Tasmania JackJumpers shows his untapped potential as a development project for an NBA franchise.

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23. Milwaukee Bucks: Jean Montero, Overtime Elite, Dominican Republic

Position: G

Height and weight: 6-foot-2, 170 lbs.

Age: 18

Montero is a confident ball handler who changes speed and direction well. He lets the game come to him as a floor general, knowing when to attack or set up his teammates with keen passing instincts. He’s one of the better pure point guards in his class, looking to become the first player drafted from the newly establish Overtime Elite program.

24. Dallas Mavericks: Justin Lewis, Marquette

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-7, 245 lbs.

Age: 19, Redshirt Freshman

Lewis is another name that popped up on Mock Draft boards more frequently as the college basketball season went on. His size at 6-foot-7, 245 pounds makes him an intriguing prospect as a true four who can step outside and stretch the floor. He does most of his damage around the basket, using his size to his advantage, but his improved jumpshot – shooting 39 percent from 3 this season – has elevated his ceiling as a potential NBA player.

25. Memphis Grizzlies (via UTA): Patrick Baldwin Jr., Milwaukee

Position: F

Height and weight: 6-foot-9, 220 lbs.

Age: 19, Freshman

It was a disappointing freshman season for Baldwin. The No. 5-ranked player in his high school class elected to take his talents to mid-major Milwaukee to play for his father and didn’t dominate at that level the way he was expected to. An ankle injury eventually cut his season short, limiting him to 11 games played. His measurables and potential still land him in the first round, but he’ll have to shoot the 3 at a much higher clip (26.6%) to truly make an impact at the NBA level.

26. Brooklyn Nets (via PHI): Trevor Keels, Duke

Position: G

Height and weight: 6-foot-4, 221 lbs.

Age: 18, Freshman

Keels is a big guard in every sense of the term. At 6-foot-4, 221 pounds, he is a walking mismatch for smaller players on the perimeter. He has the strength to disrupt any opposing ball handler and has a quick and powerful burst when he attacks the basket. His jumpshot isn’t reliable just yet – which is his biggest area to improve upon – but he’s a sound playmaker with crafty passing skills, making him an intriguing prospect as a combo guard.

Oscar Tshiebwe

27. Miami Heat: Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky

Position: C

Height and weight: 6-foot-9, 255 lbs.

Age: 22, Junior

This is more of a prediction on my part than what is currently expected. Tshiebwe has been one of the most dominant players in college basketball this season, as evidence of earning Sporting News’ College Basketball Player of the Year. He is the best rebounder in the country by a wide margin, averaging over 15 rebounds per game. His effort and mentality are relentless on the court, always willing to out-hustle his opponents. His physicality and reported 7-foot-4 wingspan would translate fine to the next level, but his offensive game is limited to shots in the paint, which hinders his projection as a pro. Regardless, I believe he could do enough in the NCAA Tournament to convince a team to give him a chance in the late first round.

28. Golden State Warriors: Kennedy Chandler, Tennessee

Position: G

Height and weight: 6-feet, 170 lbs.

Age: 19, Freshman

Chandler has improved significantly as the season has gone on. His passing ability was always strong but he has become much more reliable as a scorer, making him a more well-rounded offensive threat. He is a quick point guard who is at his best when he is creating for others. He’s a bit undersized but uses his speed to get out in transition and find teammates running the lane. Chandler is someone who could raise his draft stock with an impressive NCAA Tournament run.

29. Memphis Grizzlies: Blake Wesley, Notre Dame

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-foot-5, 185 lbs.

Age: 19, Freshman

Wesley inserted his way onto Mock Draft boards as the catalyst of Notre Dame’s successful season. He excels as a shot creator, using his quick handle and change of direction to navigate through the teeth of defenses to get to the rim. His jumper is inconsistent, but he has no problem creating space and trusting his pull-up. He’s a capable passer off the bounce, making him a pick-and-roll threat, but he’s still a raw guard prospect who may not declare for the draft.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder: Bryce McGowens, Nebraska

Position: Guard

Height and weight: 6-foot-7, 179 lbs.

Age: 19, Freshman

McGowens may not declare for the draft but if he does, an NBA team will definitely take a flier on him. His shot creation skills are intriguing as a 6-foot-7 guard, but he took all the shots on a poor Nebraska team. If he can become a more consistent shooter and develop his playmaking skills, he could rise up draft boards in the coming years. If he elects to come out this season, he’ll be a development project for an NBA team.