2022 NBA Draft: Debate over Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith or Jaden Ivey as No. 1 prospect

2022 NBA Draft: Debate over Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith or Jaden Ivey as No. 1 prospect

Who is the No. 1 prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft?

We’ll find out Thursday night who the Orlando Magic is assess as the No. 1 pick as they select first overall for the first time since 2004 — but there’s far from a consensus atop this draft among NBA front offices. And the same goes for our team of experts. In our final top 100 ranking Comprised of consensus drawn from rankings by CBS Sports pundits Gary Parrish, Matt Norlander, David Cobb and myself, along with 247Sports’ Adam Finkelstein and Travis Branham, there were four different players who got votes at the n ° 1.

So who is the No. 1 prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft?

Scouts have their opinions but our consensus ranking calculations determined that Chet Holmgren deserved that honor — but below, each of us has laid out our case for our pick as the No. 1 professional prospect in this year’s draft. Here’s who each of us had first place, and why, as we head into Thursday night’s draft with a wide range of views on the top of the class.

Want more analysis of the NBA’s top draft prospects? Listen below and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast where we dive deep into the best players heading to the next level.

The case of Chet Holmgren


I understand the arguments for Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and even Jaden Ivey to be first overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. I don’t think any of them are ridiculous options. But I still sincerely believe that Holmgren is the best prospect available this year, and that’s why I also think Orlando should take him with the No. 1 pick. He’s an elite rim protector on defense who can floating in attack, bouncing, shooting and generally exploiting confrontations.

If a big traditional keeps it, they can probably get around it. If a smaller player protects him, he can definitely shoot him. Am I concerned about the lightweight frame? Sure, on some level, I guess. But as ESPN’s Jonathon Givony noted in a recent podcast, how many great prospects haven’t achieved greatness strictly because they’re too skinny? He couldn’t think of any. Neither do I. So I guess Holmgren’s unique skill set will allow him to overcome his unique frame and ultimately emerge as the best player in this draft. – Gary Parrish

Holmgren has the highest ceiling in the project in my opinion. He changes the game at both ends of the field. There simply aren’t many 7-footers, anywhere in the world, that can protect the rim, stretch the ground and provide such an effective interior finishing presence. He’s even a better ball handler and passer than I don’t think some people give him credit for. But on top of all that, I’m just a big believer in his mentality and inner strength. I know he needs to build his body, but if there’s one thing that NBA teams have all managed to do at an exceptionally high level, it’s that. Adam Finkelstein

We know the whole world questions his physique, but the truth is that Holmgren has never had a history of injuries or shown his lack of strength to be a real hindrance. You won’t be able to throw it at the Joel Embiids of the world, but no one can throw anything at it. Four to five years from now we could rightfully be talking about him as one of the faces of the League with his ability to dribble, pass and shoot unlike anything we’ve seen at his height and length as well as the fact that he is an elite defender. and rim protector. Travis Branham

I understand the appeal of Smith and Banchero, but for me Holmgren’s advantage is a cut above. Smith lacks playing potential – Holmgren can flourish beautifully in that department. Banchero’s suspect as a 3-point shooter and on defense – Holmgren has a soft shot and is one of the best rim-protecting prospects we’ve ever seen. I don’t buy the loud ravings about unique body type either. Holmgren has been able to hold his own against stronger players all his life, and the rules of the NBA will continue to evolve in his favor. He’s already proven he can perform at the top level of amateur basketball, and he also has the most room for improvement among the top three prospects. Add it all up, and it certainly looks like the best player in the draft class. Colin Ward Henninger

The case of Paolo Banchero


Whether it’s for CBSSports.com, Eye on College Basketball, or CBS Sports HQ, I’ve explained my stance on having Banchero No. 1 on my big board several times over the past few weeks. But here, right against the draft, once again, with feeling. Banchero is the wisest choice of all players in this class as he is the most developed and proven talent. His numbers at Duke, along with several other first-round players in the starting lineup, were more than satisfactory: 17.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.2 apg for the nation’s top-rated offensive team, according to KenPom. .com.

Banchero was a 52.8 percent 2-point and 33.8 percent 3-point shooter. No one in this draft has Banchero’s combination of size + skill + touch + passing ability + playmaking + rebounding prowess + competitive edge. He has an above average grip, can work the post, shoot beyond the arc and is not a black hole. The hesitation with him at No. 1 stems from the fact that he’s not as potentially damaging for a 3-point shooter as Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and even Jaden Ivey. But he can still shoot it. Defensively, he still has some ground to make up for. Nobody is as ready to play in the NBA tomorrow as Banchero, though, and I think he’ll end up proving to be an All-Star multiple times by the end of his second contract. –Matt Norlander

The case of Jaden Ivey


There are safer prospects at the top of this class (Smith Jr.) and bigger boom/bust propositions too (Holmgren), but no one has the rare combination of explosive athleticism and creative ability that Ivey a in this draft. It’s a human firecracker that can burst to the brim. He has the potential to become a true leader at the next level if he continues to develop and improve as a decision maker.

At worst, he can be a change of pace initiator whose dynamic explosiveness helps ease the burden of a team’s #1 initiating option. I’d take him #1 over everyone else in this class in case his game improves even slightly, if not dramatically, and his improvement as a shooter over the past year bodes very well for him as a star flourishing entering the NBA. Kyle Boon

The case of Jabari Smith Jr.


What most clearly separates Smith from Banchero, Holmgren and others as the top pick at No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft is his elite outside shooting. At 6-10 and a 42 percent 3-pointer on 5.5 attempts per game in his only season at Auburn, Smith projects himself as an excellent long-range shooter at the top level. While Banchero and Holmgren have each flashed some distance from the perimeter in their only college seasons, neither projects as elite in all facets of the game the way Smith does as an outside shooter.

Given that Smith also has excellent defensive upside and a thriving shot-creating portfolio offensively, he’s the safest bet of the bunch to one day be an NBA All-Star. With promising young guards like Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony handing out the basketball in Orlando, Smith would make a great addition to the Magic’s core roster. While it may take Smith years to reach his full potential, it’s easy to see him becoming the Magic’s leading scorer early in his career because of the feathery shooting touch he’ll bring to the league on day one. . David Cob

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