2022 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Surprises Sneak Into Top 10

2022 NBA Mock Draft - Jabari Smith
2022 NBA Mock Draft - Jabari Smith / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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March Madness is officially underway, and that means that the 2022 NBA Draft is inching closer by the day for the San Antonio Spurs and the rest of the NBA. Today, we're going to take a deep dive into the entire first round of this year's draft as we attempt to make the most educated guesses possible as to who each team will choose to add to their roster.

Before getting into the essence of each pick, it's worth mentioning a few key points about this mock draft, as it will be updated several times before NBA Draft night this coming June. Version 1.0 of the mock draft uses the draft order provided by Tankathon as of Sunday, March 6, 2022 -- exactly one week before selection Sunday and the start of the NCAA Tournament. Being that the NBA season is ongoing, the draft order is very likely to change, and it is likely already different by the time you read this.

Secondly, because the season is ongoing, it is within the realm of possibility that draft picks that are currently projected to convey to a different team will not convey by the end of the season. For example, the San Antonio Spurs currently own their own 1st round pick, which in this mock draft, is the seventh overall pick. Additionally, they own 1st round picks from the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, which are 17th and 20th in this mock draft, respectively.

While it remains likely that the Boston Celtics' pick will convey to the Spurs in the 2022 NBA Draft, if the Toronto Raptors' pick lands in the top 14 of this year's draft, the pick will not convey to the Spurs until at least the 2023 NBA Draft next year. Other teams that own protected picks, like the Memphis Grizzlies, for example, could see similar changes under the right conditions.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the 1.0 version of the mock draft does not include two potential 1st round picks: Shaedon Sharpe and Jean Montero.

Shaedon Sharpe reclassified this past November to join the University of Kentucky and John Calipari. He was originally slated to be in the 2023 NBA Draft class and was considered a consensus lottery pick in that class, but now, even after Calipari has gone on record stating that Sharpe will return to Kentucky next season, some speculate that he may enter the 2022 Draft instead.

The catch? Sharpe will not play a minute of Kentucky basketball this season. This makes scouting accurately very difficult, and I am choosing (for now) not to include him here for that reason.

Jean Montero is another wild card prospect this season that is playing with the Overtime Elite rather than in college, the G League, or overseas. While, at this point, there is more film to make claims about Montero compared to Sharpe, the level of competition in the Overtime Elite is questionable at best, again, making accurate scouting quite difficult.

Montero will be included in future mock drafts if he is worthy of a 1st round pick, but for now, we won't include him until gathering more intel.

With those points out of the way, and without further ado, here is the first Air Alamo mock of the 2022 NBA Draft.

2022 NBA Mock Draft
Chet Holmgren - Gonzaga v San Francisco / Joe Buglewicz/GettyImages

. Gonzaga. . 169. . Chet Holmgren. 1. player

With the first overall pick in the draft, the Houston Rockets select who I believe to be the best prospect in the 2022 Draft class: Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren.

Holmgren’s statistical impact in college basketball this season has been borderline comical as he currently leads the entire NCAA in box plus/minus (BPM), defensive rating, true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage, and two-point field goal percentage. He’s also top 10 in the NCAA in seven other statistical categories all while shooting 44% from beyond the arc on over three attempts per game. If that isn’t enough for you, he’s doing this as a seven-footer with a 7’5” wingspan.

Holmgren is versatile enough to play in a wide variety of lineups and has unmatched two-way upside that can be realized if he continues to build on his frame. While many diminish his value because of his current frame, his clear statistical impact on the court, unprecedented versatility, consistent motor, and overall aggression vastly outweigh any concerns I currently have about his strength and frame.

In my opinion, there’s no good reason for him to still be on the draft board after the second overall pick. With the Rockets still in the infancy of their rebuild, he’s a risk they can certainly afford.