2022 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: New Names Enter the Top 30

Paolo Banchero
Paolo Banchero / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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2022 NBA Mock Draft
Malaki Branham - Ohio State v Villanova / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

Ohio State. . Malaki Branham. 20. player. . 24.

With the 20th overall pick, I have the Chicago Bulls surprising their fans and selecting Ohio State’s Malaki Branham.

Branham has a serious case to be a lottery pick in this year’s draft, so him falling all the way to 20 on draft night could present the Bulls with a complicated decision. If they can’t make a serious Finals run in the postseason, should they draft a player that can help them immediately or a player that may be a year or two away from being something special?

In the first version of our mock draft, we had the team selecting Branham’s teammate EJ Liddell, who would likely be a good complementary piece for the Bulls as their team is currently constructed. While Branham may not be quite as much of an immediate contributor in his rookie season, this could be a smart move by the Bulls if they aren’t confident they’ll be able to re-sign Zach LaVine in the offseason.

The Spurs, and Dejounte Murray specifically, have long been linked to LaVine as one of his possible free-agency destinations, and considering the team will have $40+ million in cap space in the offseason, the rumors around him could end up having some merit. If the Bulls have an opportunity to select Lavine’s long-term replacement in the draft without having to trade up for him, this could end up being the best decision for the team.