With March Madness quickly approaching, college basketball’s best teams and players will be performing in college sport’s biggest stage. Along with fans all over the country watching, every game will draw attention from NBA scouts and general managers across the league with the NBA Draft approaching.
The season is quickly coming to an end, but before the nets get cut down, it is a great time to see where the NBA draft board stands at the moment. In this article, I will rank the top five NBA prospects for the 2022 NBA draft, and all five will be making an appearance in college sports’ best tournament.
Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
The Big 10 player of the year and arguably the national player of the year, Johnny Davis has had a magical 2021-22 season, leading Wisconsin to a Big 10 regular season title. Johnny Davis is averaging 20 points per game this season, and is putting together this phenomenal scoring output in one of college basketball’s best conferences.
Davis is a little short as a 6’5” wing, however he has proven to be able to score on taller defenders in traffic. The best thing for Davis would be to move him to shooting guard, but he will have to become more consistent with his three point shot if he wants to do so.
Paolo Banchero, Duke
Duke’s newest freshman phenom, Paolo Banchero has the build and skill set to contribute and start for an NBA team right away. At 6’10” and 250 pounds, Banchero has the size to bang down low against the league’s best big men, and can hit jump shots when open.
Banchero and Duke were able to secure the ACC regular season title and earned a one seed in the NCAA tournament with an ACC tournament win. If Duke does win the national title, expect Banchero to enter the discussion for the first overall pick.
Jaden Ivey, Purdue
The best guard in the upcoming NBA draft, Jaden Ivey has been the most explosive player in the Big 10, and has led Purdue to a top three seed in March Madness. Ivey has averaged 17.1 points per game, and has been able to score at all levels of the court.
While there are things left to be desired defensively, Ivey has the potential to be a star guard at the NBA level. He is the perfect type of player that can further raise their draft stock during the tournament, as Ivey is must-see television every time he is on the floor.
Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
The number one player in the 2021 high school graduating class, Chet Holmgren has showcased his unique skill set excellently this season. The seven footer features the ball handling ability and shooting of a guard.
Despite the loss to top five draft pick Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga has not missed a step, and are well on their way to being a one seed in the NCAA tournament. Holmgren is averaging a near double-double on the year, with 14.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
Holmgren’s biggest downfall is his frame. While being seven feet tall gives him a very high ceiling, he still weighs under 200 pounds. If he wants to be able to finish inside at the next level, the teenager will have to bulk up as soon as possible.
Jabari Smith, Auburn
No player has boosted their NBA draft stock more this season than Jabari Smith. The Auburn standout has the team in prime position to make a deep tournament run, and has become unguardable during his time there. Smith is a power forward with the ability to knock down threes at an efficient clip along with being an explosive finisher.
At 6’10”, Smith is another tall scorer like aforementioned Chet Holmgren, however has the weight necessary to finish through contact on the professional stage. Jabari Smith has all the tools to succeed and be a star at the NBA level, and if I had the first pick, there is no doubt who I am taking.
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