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
Keegan Murray - Iowa v Michigan / Jaime Crawford/GettyImages

5. . Iowa. Keegan Murray. 100. . . player

With the fifth overall pick in the Draft, the Indiana Pacers select Iowa’s Keegan Murray.

I’ll be brutally honest about this pick: I don’t think Murray is worthy of a top-eight to nine selection, let alone a top-five selection. I think the Pacers will feel comfortable with a safer pick toward the top of the draft since they’ll also be in possession of a pick later in the first round (that they can use to take an upside swing with).

In that way, while I still think fifth overall is quite high for Murray, there is something to be said for making a smart, high-floor selection higher up in the lottery, particularly for a team that already has Tyrese Haliburton on the roster and needs a power forward.

Outside of positional fit, though, there comes a point when teams selecting toward the top of the draft have to begin looking past a player’s draft age and overall ceiling if they’re having consistent production in college, and that is precisely what would drive this decision to take Murray so high in the draft.

Keegan Murray has been one of the most consistent and versatile scorers in college basketball, and many Spurs fans have been clamoring for the front office to take a look at him as a result. One of our Air Alamo co-contributors, Dylan Carter, put together a fantastic in-depth analysis of his game on both ends of the floor that’s worth a read for fans of any team.

If Murray were to be selected by the Pacers fifth overall, this would certainly be a move to fill the void left by Domantas Sabonis at the trade deadline. While I personally have some concerns about Murray’s space creation, twitch athleticism, and left-handed dominance at the next level, he’s a player that won’t rely on the ball always being in his hands to succeed, plays smart team defense, and should be able to defend at least three positions on-ball in the NBA.

Ultimately, he checks several boxes for the Pacers, plays a position of need for the team, and still has plenty of potential that can be explored despite his age, which should not be as big of a concern as it seems to be. While this may initially feel like a reach, I think this is a safe pick that could age well for Indiana.