San Antonio Spurs Draft

2022 NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Dust settles on an unpredictable class

Chet Holmgren
Chet Holmgren / Abbie Parr/GettyImages
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2022 NBA Mock Draft
AJ Griffin / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

. . Duke. . AJ Griffin. 11. 27. player

Depending on who’s left on the board at this point, I think there’s a strong possibility that the Knicks elect to trade down similar to how they did last year. But in this mock draft, because Griffin is still on the board in the back end of the lottery, the Knicks elect to keep the pick and select the best player available. The 45% three-point shooter would likely be an immediate contributor for a Knicks team that shot only about 36% from beyond the arc this pasts season, and if Griffin’s potential is fully realized, this pick could ultimately look like a steal in retrospect. 

Griffin’s draft stock has quite the wide range compared to some of the previously-discussed prospects on this mock draft, and that wide range mostly comes down to concerns about his health and athleticism. He was forced to ease his way into his freshman season with Duke after injuries in the preseason and never quite was able to show the explosive, bouncy athleticism that he once displayed frequently in high school.

As a result, at times he looked quite slow on the court, particularly when asked to guard players on the perimeter. 

If Griffin never returns to being the athlete he was in high school, that could dramatically impact his overall upside, particularly on defense. At this stage, despite likely being the highest-upside player available for the Knicks, this pick feels a bit awkward. If the Knicks don’t find moving down in the draft to be desirable either, I think a wildcard move for the team could be to do everything they can to trade up to the 4th overall pick for Jaden Ivey, whom the team has been linked to for weeks.