San Antonio Spurs Draft

2022 NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Pre-lottery look at every team's best option

Jaden Ivey
Jaden Ivey / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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Paolo Banchero, 2022 NBA Mock Draft
Paolo Banchero - North Carolina v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages

Paolo Banchero. player. 149. . Forward. 4. . Duke

Stacking as much talent as possible is the key for Sam Presti’s Oklahoma City Thunder—a franchise resting its laurels on a treasure trove of draft assets and promises of the future. Even with three incredible prospects being selected before him, Paolo Banchero still has a significant chance to become the best player in the 2022 NBA Draft class. Banchero is the no-brainer pick for OKC, whether in a vacuum or not.

A three-level scorer with staggering downhill attacking and a killer faceup game, Banchero is the kind of prospect who could shape the offensive identity of his team. Even in a Duke system that tends not to lean on its stars, Banchero was indisputably the top scoring option during Mike Krzyzewski’s final coaching season.

No matter what matchup is thrown his way, Banchero has the tools to exploit it. Confronted by a smaller defender? Paolo can bully them in the post. Switched onto a big man? He can draw them to the perimeter and break them down with his triple-threat arsenal. Whether he needs to speed up, slow down, misdirect his opponent, or thread a pass to a relocating teammate, Banchero has the instincts of a remarkable offensive weapon.

Quite frankly, Banchero should probably be off the board by No. 4 come draft day. However, there are some lingering questions about his game, like will he fulfill his defensive potential? Or is there a chance he’s a black hole of usage that sucks the air out of the gym? If cultivated by the right organization, those questions are going to fly out the window and leave three GMs wondering why they got stuck in their heads on draft night.

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