Barlowe's Big Board 6.0, Part 1: Post March Madness NBA Draft Prospect Rankings
Paolo Banchero, Tari Eason and Terquavion Smith are the big risers in our latest Top 20 prospects
Here we go. March Madness has ended and the Kansas Jayhawks (I can hear Chad still screaming all the way from Hawaii) are the national champs.
That means it’s officially NBA Draft season, and time for our sixth NBA Draft Big Board for the 2022 draft — the first one I’ve put together for this site.
You will see significant shifts from Chad Ford’s prospect rankings (Big Board 5.0) in early March. Some of that reflects how prospects have performed over the past month, and some of the shifts reveal differences in how Chad and I evaluate prospects.
So, for instance, while you’ll see the same top four, I have a new No. 1 overall pick.
Today, the top 20, to be followed later this week by players 21-40 and 41-60. Chad will finish the week with his last column and podcast before handing the keys to me for NBA Big Board.
More coming attractions:
Next week, after the NBA regular season ends on Sunday, I’ll have a new NBA Mock Draft.
And, day by day, we’ll continue updating our all-important list of Who’s In and Who’s Out of the 2022 NBA Draft … which is free for all our readers.
6’10” | 250 | Wingspan: 7’0”
Age on draft night: 19.6
2022 Draft Projection: 1-4
Banchero has been my top prospect since the highly anticipated matchup against Chet Holmgren and Gonzaga back in late November in which the Duke forward scored 21 points and grabbed five rebounds, leading Duke to a three-point victory over the Zags.
While Holmgren and Jabari Smith have had their turns as the flavor of the month, Banchero was the last man standing among the top prospects, and his play in the NCAA tournament has solidified him as the top pick in my eyes.
During Duke’s Final Four run, Banchero averaged 18.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists and shot 50% from the floor, quelling concerns about his 3-point shooting by knocking down 10 of his 19 attempts from deep.
At 6’10” and 250 pounds, Banchero proved to be a tough matchup in the post due to his size and strength, and he has the handle and offensive creativity to exploit mismatches when opponents look to defend him with size.
Among the three freshmen contending for the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA Draft, I feel the most comfortable with the ball in Banchero’s hands when I need a basket or to create a scoring opportunity for a teammate.
Banchero is an underrated passer who I believe will be able to maximize his playmaking strengths on the next level and could see minutes as a point forward, similar to the role played by Scottie Barnes as a rookie in Toronto.
From March, here’s my video breakdown of Banchero:
In 39 games, Banchero averaged 18.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 blocks, and 1.1 steals per 36 minutes and shot 47.8% from the field and 33.8% from 3.