The intensity is turning up as the NBA Draft looms on June 23. With all combines and withdrawal deadlines behind us, the final steps to draft night will take place behind closed doors — apart from rumors and reports, of course.
On Monday, we saw the first pre-draft trade of the season go down. Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Oklahoma City dealt its No. 30 overall pick and two future second-rounders to Denver in exchange for JaMychal Green and a 2027 first-round pick. That should be just the start of one of the most chaotic newsbreaking stretches in basketball.
Senior NBA Draft Analyst Matt Babock updated our 2022 NBA Mock Draft on Tuesday. Jabari Smith remains the No. 1 overall pick, but movement later on in the lottery highlights his projections. Babcock discused the notable changes and gave his pulse on the pre-draft chatter.
Most mock drafts have either Jabari Smith or Chet Holmgren at No. 1 to the Orlando Magic, and you have not wavered from Smith yet. How close is the decision between these two?
I have not wavered from having Jabari Smith as the No. 1 pick. However, at this point in the process, we've shifted our approach from being scouts and making our own picks to projecting what the teams will actually do. From my understanding, most teams are operating under the impression that Jabari Smith will be the first pick, but I have heard some teams think it could be Holmgren too. So we'll see what Jeff Weltman and John Hammond decide to do soon enough.
What pick do you consider to be the first major inflection point for unpredictability in the draft?
We currently have Chet Holmgren at No. 2, but I'm not overly confident that's how it will actually unfold. For starters, will Oklahoma City even stay put at this pick? Sam Presti is known to be a wheeler and dealer. Could the Thunder take Paolo Banchero or even Jaden Ivey? I also heard Holmgren has not provided his medical information to teams (at least most of them), and did not do the NBA's heart screening. That could suggest that his agents are trying to manipulate the draft and direct Holmgren to a specific spot, which is probably the most likely scenario. I don't know which team that would be though.
Shaedon Sharpe continues to be one of the most mysterious players in this pre-draft process. How have things been going for him?
Shaedon Sharpe has become a polarizing prospect for this year's draft. However, I don't think there is any denying that he has a lot of raw talent and upside. There have been some rumblings that he could slip a bit, but even with that said, he's still likely to go mid-to-late lottery.
What has Jeremy Sochan continuing to rise up your mock draft to No. 9?
The San Antonio Spurs have a lot of young pieces on the perimeter, but I think they need to address their frontcourt. I've heard they do have interest in Sochan. I also heard earlier today that the Spurs could be a team on the hunt to move up, with Keegan Murray being their likely target.