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
Jaden Hardy / Joe Buglewicz/GettyImages

. 21. . G-League Ignite. Jaden Hardy. player. 73.

The Denver Nuggets are at the podium for the first time in the Draft, and with the 21st pick, they select the G League Ignite’s Jaden Hardy.

The Denver Nuggets aren’t ever afraid to make some wild picks, and this would surely be one of them. Like Patrick Baldwin Jr., Hardy was at one time considered a lock for the lottery but is having a highly inefficient season with the G League Ignite despite picking up the pace in recent games. Personally, I’m unsure about whether or not I buy his shot-making ability given just how inefficient he’s been this season. 

With that in mind, though, I can’t imagine a quicker way to find out if he’s capable of reaching his shot-making ceiling than having him play off-ball receiving passes from Nikola Jokic. Having someone to feed him the ball in catch-and-shoot situations could be a great way to open up the rest of his game.

I think there’s a real chance that the Nuggets decide to select a player that will be more likely to contribute immediately, but I think it will be very difficult for them to look past a player like Hardy at this point in the draft. In his past five games or so, Hardy’s shooting has been trending in the right direction. He’s also been using his bouncy athleticism to grab some rebounds, and he’s continued showing that he’s capable of creating for others.