The 2022 NBA draft is less than 11 months away, but we've had our eyes on this group of players for quite some time. We've watched the class' best prospects grow up in high school, AAU and FIBA events, as well as other all-star settings in the past two years, despite pandemic-induced restrictions.
Still, as a result of the disjointed nature of events, NBA decision-makers say they know very little about this group at this stage. Teams skipped most scoutable events due to short-term prioritization of the 2021 NBA draft class, plus the need to be with their own teams during what was a very challenging season. Events continue to be canceled or reduced, including FIBA championships this summer, the Nike Skills Academy and an NBA Basketball Without Borders-type event that was planned for Dallas in September.
Those realities only place more emphasis on the coming season. Expect there to be significant movement as unheralded players emerge from the confusing haze of the past 18 months and other more highly regarded prospects inevitably stagnate after missing critical opportunities for development in the form of high-level competition.
Let's look at the way our mock sets up at this early stage, followed by the top storylines we expect to follow this class into 2022:
Note: The projected 2022 draft order is based on 2021-22 NBA championship odds from Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, with all ties broken by 2020-21 standings. The full 1-59 order also reflects picks owed and owned.