2022 NBA mock draft: Top three picks look certain

Auburn forward Jabari Smith reacts after making a three-pointer against rival Alabama.
Auburn forward Jabari Smith reacts after making a three-pointer against rival Alabama during an SEC game in February. Smith is projected to be the first player taken in the NBA draft on Thursday.
(Butch Dill / Associated Press)

The prevailing thought among NBA scouts is that there is a consensus top three for the draft, which will start at 5 p.m. PDT on Thursday at the Barclays Center in New York.

But starting with the fourth pick, the draft could go any direction.

That’s because the Sacramento Kings have the fourth pick and are looking to move it for an “NBA-ready veteran” player, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The New York Knicks, Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks have interest in Sacramento’s fourth selection.

This is a look at how things might shake out in the first round. The Lakers and Clippers do not have first-round picks.

1. Orlando: Jabari Smith, 19, PF, 6-10, Auburn

Though young, his size, length and athletic ability are intriguing.

2. Oklahoma City: Chet Holmgren, 20, F/C, 7-0, Gonzaga

Agile for his size, he can shoot and has good ball-handling skills. His weight (195 pounds) is worrisome.

3. Houston: Paolo Banchero, 19, PF, 6-10, Duke

Considered to be NBA-ready. Can pass and score. But how much better can he be?

4. Sacramento: Jaden Ivey, 20, SG, 6-4, Purdue


He’s aggressive and explosive. It’s likely the Kings trade the pick to a team needing backcourt help.

Purdue's Jaden Ivey brings the ball up court again Yale during a game last season.
Purdue guard Jaden Ivey is likely to be selected fourth in the NBA draft on Thursday, but will the Sacramento Kings be making the pick or will they trade it?
(Morry Gash / Associated Press)

5. Detroit: Shaedon Sharpe, 18, G, 6-6, Kentucky

Great fit next to point guard Cade Cunningham to give Pistons a backcourt of the future.

6. Indiana: Keegan Murray, 21, F, 6-8, Iowa

Nice mid-range game and can put ball on the floor to score off the drive.

7. Portland: Dyson Daniels, 19, G, 6-8, G League Ignite

Has really good point guard skills and is a really good defender, on and off ball.

8. New Orleans: Bennedict Mathurin, 19, G, 6-6, Arizona

Has good size for a shooting guard and is a good defender.

9. San Antonio: Ousmane Dieng, 19, F, 6-9, France


Has been impressive in workouts during draft process, moving him up.

10. Washington: Johnny Davis, 20, G, 6-5, Wisconsin

A slasher who is tough and can defend, but needs to improve three-point stroke.

Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis drives against Rutgers.
Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis drives against Rutgers during a game last season.
(Adam Hunger / Associated Press)

11. New York: A.J. Griffin, 18, F, 6-6, Duke

Perhaps the best pure shooter in the draft, he’s a natural scorer.

12. Oklahoma City: Blake Wesley, 19, G, 6-5, Notre Dame

He is super explosive with plenty of athleticism and scoring ability.

13. Charlotte: Jeremy Sochan, 19, F, 6-9, Baylor

His seven-foot wingspan helps make him a good defender.

14. Cleveland: Malaki Branham, 19, F, 6-5, Ohio State


Has a strong work ethic and ability to score in a variety of ways.

15. Charlotte: Mark Williams, 20, C, 7-0, Duke

Was a top rim protector in the NCAA last season.

16. Atlanta: Jalen Duren, 18, C, 6-11, Memphis

Not a bad rim protector, but Hawks probably willing to move this pick.

Memphis center Jalen Duren blocks a shot by Tennessee Tech's John Pettway.
Memphis center Jalen Duren blocks a shot by Tennessee Tech’s John Pettway during a game last season.
(Karen Pulfer Focht / Associated Press)

17. Houston: Ochai Agbaji, 22, G/F, 6-5, Kansas

He’s more of a small forward who needs to improve ball-handling skills.

18. Chicago: Tari Eason, 21, F, 6-8, Louisiana State

A defensive-minded player who is raw offensively.

19. Minnesota: TyTy Washington, 20, G, 6-3, Kentucky


Could add depth to Timberwolves’ talented backcourt.

20. San Antonio: Kennedy Chandler, 19, PG, 6-0, Tennessee

He’s super-fast and can score.

21.Denver: Jalen Williams, 21, G/F, 6-6, Santa Clara

His size and strength make him a good defender.

22. Memphis: MarJon Beauchamp, 21, F, 6-6, G League Ignite

Long and athletic, a driver and slasher.

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23. Philadelphia: Jaden Hardy, 19, G, 6-4, G League Ignite

Is a talented scorer with handles who can shoot the three-pointer.

24. Milwaukee: Nikola Jovic, 18, F, 6-10, Serbia


Has really good ball skills and is athletic.

25. San Antonio: E.J. Liddell, 21, F, 6-7, Ohio State

Undersized power forward, but is strong and tough.

Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell works in the post against Michigan State's Malik Hall.
Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell works in the post against Michigan State’s Malik Hall during a game last season.
(Jay LaPrete / Associated Press)

26. Houston: Wendell Moore, 20, F, 6-5, Duke

Likes to drive to the basket.

27. Miami: Dalen Terry, 19, G, 6-7, Arizona

Good size for a point guard who looks to pass first.

28. Golden State: Walker Kessler, 20, C, 7-1, Auburn

Has size, but what does that matter to the NBA champions?

29. Memphis: Patrick Baldwin, 19, F, 6-9, Milwaukee


Has the skills to be a stretch-four.

30. Denver: John Butler, 19, F/C, 7-1, Florida State

Has good shooting range for his size and length.