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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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2022 NBA Mock Draft
Jalen Duren - Houston v Memphis / Joe Murphy/GettyImages

34. . Memphis. . Jalen Duren. 10. . player

The Trail Blazers are on the clock again, and with the 10th overall pick, they select Memphis’ Jalen Duren.

After taking a flyer on Johnny Davis, who I see as a floor-raiser more than anything, I think it would make sense for Portland to opt for more of an upside swing with their second pick. The Trail Blazers are very much in need of more depth in their frontcourt, and perhaps outside of Chet Holmgren (who isn’t exactly a proper center to begin with), Duren may have the highest ceiling of any center in the 2022 Draft.

In my recent piece that went more in-depth on Duren, I noted how scouts are having a difficult time getting a good read on Duren due to the poorly constructed Memphis Tigers team that he’s played for this season. While this remains true, in the past month or so, he has seemingly turned a bit of a corner and is finding his game more and more.

He has continued to show flashes of the short roll passing that I think will be instrumental to his success at the next level, he’s been a more consistent scorer, and he's gotten to show a few glimpses of his jump shot. Even before his latest good stretch of games, his defense has remained mostly consistent throughout the season, and I think he’s capable of being a frontcourt anchor at the very least in the NBA. 

By selecting Duren and Davis, the Trail Blazers will add quite a bit of upside to the roster on both ends of the floor without swinging too hard toward the fences. Davis and Duren will have the opportunity to study under Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic, respectively, and if they can both tap their ceiling, the team could find itself having an unexpected amount of depth.

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