NBA Draft Prospect Rankings: Big Board 1.0

Ranking prospects 1 to 30 for the 2022 NBA Draft

With the college basketball season tipping off on Tuesday, Nov. 9, it’s time for my first 2022 NBA Draft Big Board. 

The Big Board is our ranking, based on intel from NBA scouts and executives, of the top prospects in this year’s draft.

This is not a mock draft. When my 2022 Mock Draft debuts, it will project which team will select each prospect. Rather, my Big Board is essentially a consensus ranking, gathered from all of my sources.

For now, I am assuming that every draft-eligible prospect will declare for the draft. And of course, most of the top prospects will.

This is just the first edition: Big Board 1.0.

Subsequent editions will capture the fluctuations in draft stock among the top prospects as the season progresses.

In fact, we’ve already seen movement from my preseason rankings of top freshman, returning college players, international prospects and G League players based on initial scouting of practices, preseason scrimmages and, in the case of international prospects, the first month of the season.


01 CHET HOLMGREN

Gonzaga
Freshman
PF/C
7’0” | 195 | Wingspan: 7’6”
Age on draft night: 20.1
2022 Draft Projection: 1-5

There’s no consensus No. 1 prospect this year. But on pure upside, Holmgren holds the most intrigue of any prospect in the draft, with a well-rounded game.

It’s not too hard to see Holmgren doing what Evan Mobley is doing for the Cleveland Cavaliers right now. Blessed with elite size, length and mobility and the skill set of a guard, Holmgren is one of the most unique prospects I’ve ever scouted.

He’s actually more accomplished as a perimeter player than Mobley was after his one year at USC. And while scouts questioned Mobley’s toughness and motor at times, no one is questioning that with Holmgren. Despite his very slender build, he’s wiry strong and he goes hard on every possession.

He’s also, somehow, 20 pounds lighter than Mobley. Strength is by far the biggest issue for Holmgren. If you think Mobley is getting pushed around, what will happen to Holmgren in the NBA? And given that he will be 20 before the draft, it’s unclear how much potential he has to add to his frame.

Another question for this season at Gonzaga: How will Holmgren handle playing next to a dominant low-post player in Drew Timme, the only unanimous pick for the preseason AP All-American team?


02 PAOLO BANCHERO

Duke
Freshman
PF/C
6’10” | 250 | Wingspan: 7’0”
Age on draft night: 19.6
2022 Draft Projection: 1-5

Banchero provides the most competition at the No. 1 spot for Holmgren. Like Holmgren, he’s a highly skilled big man who can do a bit of everything — shoot, pass, rebound, defend. Unlike Holmgren, he’s built like a tank and he already has the strength to hold his own in the paint in the NBA.

But Banchero’s lack of elite length (Holmgren’s wingspan is six inches longer) and solid but not elite athleticism might limit his ceiling. 

I do expect Banchero to put up huge numbers for Duke this year — better than Holmgren’s — and perhaps the best of any freshman. And I expect he’ll have serious support all season to become the No. 1 pick.

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