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The Chronicle's 2022 NBA mock draft

Duke has five players ready to enter the professional ranks in Thursday's draft.
Duke has five players ready to enter the professional ranks in Thursday's draft.

Thursday evening, five former Blue Devils hope to hear their name called on stage at the 2022 NBA Draft in Brooklyn, N.Y. Before then, The Chronicle predicts where each Duke product could land and breaks down the rest of the lottery.

Jonathan Levitan

V. 118 Sports Editor

Duke’s picks: 

Paolo Banchero: 2nd, Oklahoma City Thunder. In his media availability Friday, Duke associate head coach Chris Carrawell explained why he believes Banchero to be the draft’s best player: “If I’m drafting a guy number one, he got to be able to go get it.” Banchero only got better on the way to the Final Four, proving that he can be a go-to player in the NBA. It may not be enough to convince Orlando, but Oklahoma City has a strong foundation, plenty of draft capital and a need for a frontcourt player who can go get it. Banchero fits the bill.

AJ Griffin: 8th, New Orleans Pelicans. Griffin might not look exactly like the explosive Duke recruit he once was, but there’s little doubt that he’s ready to do damage from beyond the arc in the NBA. He should deliver the shooting touch that so many teams are looking for in today’s league, and that makes him more valuable than all but a precious few.

Mark Williams: 13th, Charlotte Hornets. If the Hornets have the chance to add a long, rim-running player like Williams to their dynamic young core, chances are they take it. Beyond the defensive boost he could bring, the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year fits the energy in Charlotte, meaning he could end up staying in North Carolina.

Wendell Moore Jr.: 26th, Dallas Mavericks. Teams may not have Moore this high on their boards, but the well-rounded wing is the type of player that could be appealing to teams on the brink of contention when things get shaken up on draft night. I see that pushing Moore comfortably into the first round and an instant supporting role for Luka Doncic.

Trevor Keels: 32nd, Orlando Magic. Much has been made about Keels’ professional future, but with an 18-year-old with undeniable potential and first-round upside, one team is going to take a swing before too long. Orlando has invested fairly heavily in backcourt players and won’t need Keels to step in immediately, putting him in an ideal situation to grow and succeed early in his career.

The lottery:

  1. Orlando Magic — Jabari Smith, Auburn
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder Paolo Banchero, Duke
  3. Houston Rockets Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
  4. Sacramento Kings Jaden Ivey, Purdue
  5. Detroit Pistons Keegan Murray, Iowa
  6. Indiana Pacers Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky
  7. Portland Trail Blazers Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona
  8. New Orleans Pelicans AJ Griffin, Duke
  9. San Antonio Spurs Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite
  10. Washington Wizards Malaki Branham, Ohio State
  11. New York Knicks Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder Jeremy Sochan, Baylor
  13. Charlotte Hornets Mark Williams, Duke
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

Sasha Richie

V. 118 Sports Managing Editor

Duke’s picks: 

Paolo Banchero: 2nd, Oklahoma City Thunder. At this point, Jabari Smith probably has the first pick on lock, and of the next three top prospects—Banchero, Ivey and Holmgren—Banchero is the best choice for the Thunder. Holmgren is a popular pick at second among mock drafts, but Oklahoma City needs a total-package kind of player to build around, and I think Holmgren’s future role in the NBA is too limited for that. Banchero and Ivey both have that ability to create for themselves while also elevating their teammates, and since the Thunder already have a young, exciting point guard in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Banchero should be the choice.

AJ Griffin: 6th, Indiana Pacers. I have Griffin the highest in this mock draft, but hear me out. After trading Justin Holiday, and with TJ Warren only playing four games in the past two seasons, the Pacers would be wise to draft a small forward, of which there isn’t a more talented prospect in this draft than Griffin, who fits nicely with assist-machine Tyrese Haliburton. Indiana needs an NBA-ready small forward, and Griffin needs to go somewhere where he has a defined role. Griffin at sixth to Indiana solves this puzzle. 

Mark Williams: 13th, Charlotte Hornets. We’re all in agreement that Williams is going to the Hornets, and for good reason. Williams is a solid bet to be a lottery pick, because 7-footers with his athleticism are too rare to be overlooked, but there are a few more eye-catching bigs that will almost definitely get taken ahead of him. However, with the 13th and 15th picks, Charlotte will be looking for a rim protector, and Williams just happens to be pretty good at that. The offensive threat of Williams and LaMelo Ball is just an added bonus. 

Wendell Moore Jr.: 24th, Milwaukee Bucks. Maybe this is a little high, but I think Moore is what Milwaukee will be looking for late in the first. The Bucks are still true title contenders and don’t need anything in particular, but they definitely don’t need a project. While Moore definitely has room to develop, he’s already a well-rounded player that would work great as a depth piece on a playoff team. He can shoot, he can defend, he can make plays, and I think the Bucks will be hard-pressed to find someone more ready to go than Moore here. 

Trevor Keels: 46th, Detroit Pistons. Keels has a lot of potential, but the consistency and the conditioning just isn’t there, which I think will hurt him in the draft. I can’t see a playoff team being willing to take the risk with a late first-round pick, but I also think that there will still be better options on the table early in the second round. However, the Pistons have an extra pick midway through the second, and they’re in the stage in their rebuild where I think they’ll be willing to take on a high-potential, high-risk prospect like Keels. 

The lottery:

  1. Orlando Magic — Jabari Smith, Auburn
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder Paolo Banchero, Duke
  3. Houston Rockets Jaden Ivey, Purdue
  4. Sacramento Kings Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
  5. Detroit Pistons Keegan Murray, Iowa
  6. Indiana Pacers AJ Griffin, Duke
  7. Portland Trail Blazers Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky
  8. New Orleans Pelicans Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite
  9. San Antonio Spurs Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona
  10. Washington Wizards Jalen Duren, Memphis
  11. New York Knicks Jeremy Sochan, Baylor
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
  13. Charlotte Hornets Mark Williams, Duke
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

Micah Hurewitz

V. 118 Sports Managing Editor

Duke’s picks:

Paolo Banchero: 3rd, Houston Rockets. He’s arguably the top player in the draft, and while I still believe he may deserve the top pick, all signs are pointing to the Blue Devil forward heading to H-Town with the third selection. He would be joining a very young, still developing team featuring Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.

AJ Griffin: 8th, New Orleans Pelicans. I’ve seen Griffin anywhere from sixth to 13th recently, but I’ll take a nice middle ground—and one that makes sense for the 18-year-old wing. Griffin would initially add to the Pelicans’ bench depth and shooting, and when joined by fellow former Blue Devils Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, “Duke South” could do some damage.

Mark Williams: 15th, Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets own the 13th and 15th picks, and knowing that the Cavaliers—sandwiched between the two—are not looking for a big, Charlotte can likely wait two picks to grab the 7-foot-2-in-shoes giant. The addition of Williams would pay huge dividends for the Hornets’ interior defense and rebounding, and, wow—the thought of Williams catching lobs from Ball…

Wendell Moore Jr.: 30th, Denver Nuggets. The former Duke captain showed continued improvement through his three-year college career, and I think teams should be willing to reward him with a first-round selection. He has an NBA-ready skill set and can be a key bench piece for a playoff team in his first year.

Trevor Keels: 44th, Atlanta Hawks. Keels’ combine performance was all the talk in Durham when it was time for him to decide whether to keep his name in the draft. Now that he’s committed to the draft process, I see him—one of the youngest players in the draft—falling somewhere in the middle of the second round.

The lottery:

  1. Orlando Magic — Jabari Smith, Auburn
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder — Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
  3. Houston Rockets — Paolo Banchero, Duke
  4. Washington Wizards (projected trade from Sacramento Kings) — Jaden Ivey, Purdue
  5. Detroit Pistons — Keegan Murray, Iowa
  6. Indiana Pacers — Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona
  7. Portland Trail Blazers — Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite
  8. New Orleans Pelicans — AJ Griffin, Duke
  9. San Antonio Spurs — Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky
  10. Sacramento Kings (projected trade from Washington Wizards) — Jalen Duren, Memphis
  11. New York Knicks — Johnny Davis, Wisconsin 
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder — Jeremy Sochan, Baylor
  13. Charlotte Hornets — Malaki Branham, Ohio State
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers — Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

Andrew Long

V. 118 Blue Zone Editor

Duke’s picks: 

Paolo Banchero: 1st, Orlando Magic. Predicting Banchero to usurp Smith and Holmgren for the top spot is a bold choice, but I think his immense postseason will catch Orlando’s eye. Banchero is probably the most pro-ready and complete player this class has to offer, and his impressive dribbling and scoring abilities for his size make him a player any rebuilding franchise would want to center itself around. He’d be the main man in the Magic Kingdom.

AJ Griffin: 8th, New Orleans Pelicans. As evidenced by a ridiculous stretch in January and February in which his clip from three exceeded 50%, Griffin is lethal from downtown. When he was on, he was on—see his 27-point masterclass in Chapel Hill—but he also endured dry spells that halted his charge toward stardom. The potential and talent are clearly there for a top-10 pick, but some professional coaching will help smooth any rough edges. 

Mark Williams: 13th, Charlotte Hornets. From a promising center on a struggling Duke team to its defensive stalwart, Williams enjoyed about as good of a season as anybody. The Hornets are an exciting and improving squad, but there’s a hole at center and a need for a big man. A 7-foot-2 ACC Defensive Player of the Year? This pick just makes sense.

Wendell Moore Jr.: 38th, San Antonio Spurs. Moore could easily land in the first round, but out of an abundance of caution, I’m going to put him early in the second. The Julius Erving Award recipient comes stocked with college experience, especially as a perimeter defender and playmaker. Even if San Antonio already has a talented small forward in Keldon Johnson, Moore could add defensive acumen and assists to the bunch, just as he did for the Blue Devils.

Trevor Keels: 45th, Charlotte Hornets. Keels could have benefited greatly from another year of college ball, but his raw athleticism and strength are unique for a guard, and in an organization where he can play frequently there is potential for a successful professional career. Plus, he and Williams could carpool.

The lottery:

  1. Orlando Magic Paolo Banchero, Duke
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder Jabari Smith, Auburn
  3. Houston Rockets Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
  4. Sacramento Kings Jaden Ivey, Purdue
  5. Detroit Pistons Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona
  6. Indiana Pacers Keegan Murray, Iowa
  7. Portland Trail Blazers Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky
  8. New Orleans Pelicans AJ Griffin, Duke
  9. San Antonio Spurs Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite
  10. Washington Wizards Ochai Agbaji, Kansas
  11. New York Knicks Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder Jeremy Sochan, Baylor
  13. Charlotte Hornets Mark Williams, Duke
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers Malaki Branham, Ohio State

Ana Young

V. 118 Assistant Blue Zone Editor

Duke’s picks: 

Paolo Banchero: 1st, Orlando Magic. Banchero is ready. The other top picks, Smith and Holmgren, are also prepared, but Duke’s key difference-maker this season offers the complete package. More than the other two, the former Blue Devil has the physicality of an NBA star. His 6-foot-10, 250-pound build has made him a force around the basket and a defensive challenge. With three seven-footers already, the Magic instead need an offensive skill set that can guide them after a 22-60 season. 

AJ Griffin: 9th, San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs could use a wing in their rotation much more than New Orleans, and with a few days left until the draft, it's looking more likely that Dyson Daniels will fill that role for the Pelicans. San Antonio already has former Duke star Tre Jones and is unlikely to look past another Krzyzewski product. 

Mark Williams: 13th, Charlotte Hornets. With just one 7-foot player, the Hornets need a center that will bring the heat, and the former IMG Academy player is guaranteed to do that. Though Charlotte could potentially pick him at 15th, it won’t want to risk it. The Hornets will fill this position first and then grab the next big name after Cleveland chooses.

Wendell Moore Jr.: 27th, Miami Heat. Moore is a projected first-rounder, but given the younger talent on the prospect list, it’s going to be near the end. He looks complete after improving his shooting skills and becoming the Blue Devils’ elite playmaker this year. Evidently, the wing is a player who can add flair to a looking-to-improve Miami team.

Trevor Keels: 38th, San Antonio Spurs. Keels is an unmatched player on his best day, but inconsistent on his worst, making him a likely second-round pick. However, when he’s having a good day—as he did in Duke’s season-opener against Kentucky—he can be the best player on the court. Just like Griffin, San Antonio is a strong contender for the 6-foot-5 guard, and taking two players with chemistry is a wise decision not unseen before.

The lottery:

  1. Orlando Magic Paolo Banchero, Duke
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder Jabari Smith, Auburn
  3. Houston Rockets Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
  4. Sacramento Kings Jaden Ivey, Purdue
  5. Detroit Pistons Keegan Murray, Iowa
  6. Indiana Pacers - Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona
  7. Portland Trail Blazers Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky
  8. New Orleans Pelicans Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite
  9. San Antonio Spurs AJ Griffin, Duke
  10. Washington Wizards - Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
  11. New York Knicks Jalen Duren, Memphis
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder Jeremy Sochan, Baylor
  13. Charlotte Hornets Mark Williams, Duke
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

Rachael Kaplan

V. 118 Assistant Blue Zone Editor

Duke’s picks:

Paolo Banchero: 3rd, Houston Rockets. I firmly believe that Paolo Banchero is the best player in this draft. His level of consistency, especially in the NCAA tournament, cemented that. However, I think he’ll fall to third. The Rockets desperately need a strong playmaker. The 6-foot-10 forward will slot in perfectly.

AJ Griffin: 8th, New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans roster is rapidly changing. Though much improved, New Orleans is still missing a crucial piece: a shooter, and Griffin might be the best in the draft. Griffin would join two former Blue Devils in Williamson and Ingram, and could help elevate the Pelicans from a sub-.500 team to a contending squad.

Mark Williams: 13th, Charlotte Hornets. The Charlotte Hornets need someone big; who better to fill that role than Duke's big man himself? He is a talented rebounder, a powerful shot-blocker and offers Charlotte a much-needed defensive presence. Williams fills that need for the Hornets.

Trevor Keels: 29th, Memphis Grizzlies. Keels is my biggest question mark. It was unclear if he would even remain in the draft leading up to June 1, and he probably would have benefited from another year in Durham. But the Grizzlies need a shooter, and when he's hot, Keels can shoot. He is also a strong defender, and Memphis can help Keels continue to grow and improve.

Wendell Moore Jr.: 34th, Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder have two first-round picks and will likely use at least one to add some size to their frontcourt. However, they also need some help beyond the arc, and Moore can do just that. He's not a flashy player, but he knows his game and helped lead Duke to the Final Four. The experienced wing would be a valuable addition to a roster loading up with young players.

The lottery:

  1. Orlando Magic Jabari Smith, Auburn
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
  3. Houston Rockets Paolo Banchero, Duke
  4. Sacramento Kings Jaden Ivey, Purdue
  5. Detroit Pistons Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite
  6. Indiana Pacers Keegan Murray, Iowa
  7. Portland Trail Blazers Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona
  8. New Orleans Pelicans AJ Griffin, Duke
  9. San Antonio Spurs Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky
  10. Washington Wizards Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
  11. New York Knicks Jeremy Sochan, Baylor
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder Ousmane Dieng, NZ Breakers
  13. Charlotte Hornets Mark Williams, Duke
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers Malaki Branham, Ohio State

Sasha Richie | Sports Managing Editor

Sasha Richie is a Trinity junior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


Micah Hurewitz | Sports Managing Editor

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity junior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.



Jonathan Levitan | Sports Editor

Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


Ana Young | Assistant Blue Zone Editor

Ana Young is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle’s 118th volume.

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