2022 NBA Mock Draft: Who each team should pick

Chet Holmgren, NBA Mock Draft (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
Chet Holmgren, NBA Mock Draft (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The 2022 NBA Draft will soon be upon us. The incoming rookie class is talented from top to bottom, with several players to satiate rebuilders and contenders alike. The Sixers, for example, will be looking for instant contributors at 23, while OKC has three first-round picks invest in the future.

In this edition of the mock draft, the picks will be made based on what each team should do — not what I necessarily expect them to do on draft night.

So, without further ado, the Orlando Magic are on the clock…

38. . C. Orlando Magic. Chet Holmgren. 1. player

2022 NBA Mock Draft — 1. Chet Holmgren, Magic

Of all the rebuilding teams, none can defend like Orlando. The Magic played truly great defense for stretches last season. Chet Holmgren would catapult them to the next level. He has the potential to compete for multiple DPOY trophies before his career is done. You take the best player available in Orlando’s position, and Holmgren happens to be a clean fit too. Holmgren can play several different roles offensively. Want him to run the court and playmake in transition? Check. Want to run the offense through him on the elbow? Doable. Focus on getting him easy looks at the rim? Smart. The Magic love length. Why not embrace it?

PF. Oklahoma City Thunder. Jabari Smith Jr.. 2. player. 149.

2022 NBA Mock Draft — 2. Jabari Smith Jr., Thunder

Jabari Smith Jr. is probably the “safest” pick in the top three, if only because there are valid concerns about Chet’s frame. Smith is a dynamic 3-point shooter at 6-foot-10. He doesn’t have the on-ball creation skills of Paolo Banchero, but he’s excellent at attacking off the catch and getting to his unblockable pull-up jumper. He has dynamic upside and plenty of room to grow, while his current skill set is perfectly suited to playing off of two elite young playmakers in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. OKC would also have the foundation of a great switchy defense.

Paolo Banchero. 3. player. 169. . PF. Houston Rockets

2022 NBA Mock Draft — 3. Paolo Banchero, Rockets

Paolo Banchero could just as easily go No. 1, so Houston should not feel left out. He’s probably not the cleanest fit of the top three — he’s easily the most ball-dominant creator of the bunch, which could cause some overlap with last year’s No. 2 pick, Jalen Green — but hey, if you have two elite creators that’s generally a good thing. Banchero can run the offense as a power forward, with fearless passing chops and excellent self-creation skills. With Christian Wood as his frontcourt running mate, Banchero could help Houston simply run teams to death in transition. The Rockets would be fast and powerful on offense, they would just need to figure out the defense later.