2022 NBA Mock Draft — 16. Malaki Branham, Hawks
The Hawks have more depth than your average team, to the point where it might behoove them to use this pick as part of a consolidation trade, rather than making it outright. If they do keep the pick, however, it would make sense to get some more firepower in the backcourt. Lou Williams is on the decline and Delon Wright is a free agent. Bogdan Bogdanovic filled in more than admirably as the de facto backup point guard last season, but the Hawks could use another player who can give them 15-20 minutes of self-creation every night. Branham is exceptional off the dribble, and would have plenty to learn from Trae Young.
2022 NBA Mock Draft — 17. Ousmane Dieng, Rockets
Ousmane Dieng is one of the draft’s biggest upside swings. He’s 6-foot-10 with fluid handles and impressive flashes of shot-making. On the flip side, he’s a wildly inconsistent shooter who doesn’t play great defense. He has the physical tools to be something special — multi-position defender, jumbo playmaker, go-to scorer — but it’s mostly theoretical right now. He’s probably not winning you many games as a rookie, but the Rockets are taking the long view right now.
2022 NBA Mock Draft — 18. E.J. Liddell, Bulls
E.J. Liddell would flesh out the Bulls’ mediocre frontcourt, providing skill and versatility at the four spot. Listed at 240 pounds, Liddell can also play some small-ball five — useful considering the talent around him on Chicago’s roster. Liddell can operate as a spot-up shooter, or attack from the elbow and score inside. It’s his defense, however, that would most benefit Chicago. The Bulls’ frontcourt defense is rather poor right now, and the few good defenders in those positions (Derrick Jones Jr., Javonte Green) simply don’t have Liddell’s offensive ability.