Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Instant grades for every 2022 NBA draft first-round pick

There’s an old adage that no one can accurately judge a draft pick for at least five years after the draft is made. It’s undeniably true, but it never stops us from making quick judgments about our choices from the moment we make them.

The 2022 NBA Draft is here, and we’re scoring every first-round pick again. Our results were largely determined by the final top 60 draft committees released earlier this week. When scoring, we will also consider team fit and value for each position.

We’ve been working on this draft for an entire year, and we’re releasing the first board of this class the day after the 2021 draft. A lot has changed since then, but our top two players – Paul Banchero and Chet Holmgren – have been in the same spot all season. It’s been a very interesting draft cycle.

Let’s rate every first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Please feel free to contact us in a few years and tell us we were wrong. Until then, we stick to those grades.

1. Orlando Magic – Paul Banchero, F, Duke

grade: a+

Banchero was our No. 1 prospect all year because he was the best shot maker in the class at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds. Banchero’s ability to handle the ball and pass the ball off the dribble is phenomenal for a man of his size. He’s also an excellent scorer who can finish with power downhill, shoot from mid-range from the elbow after his jab creates space, and use his power and touch to bury defenders in the post. Banchero is just an average three-point shooter right now, and he’s not a good runner. There will be issues with his defensive translation, but his size and feel for the game should help him to be at least average in that regard. What makes Banchero truly special is the ball in his hands that creates shots for himself and his teammates. The Magic have a decent guard, but they don’t have anyone as a first choice for a team that could make the playoffs. Banchero is that person. After months of rumors that Jabari Smith Jr. would be Orlando’s No. 1 pick, I think the Magic finally found the right pick.


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