2022 NBA Draft: Debating case for Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith or Jaden Ivey as No. 1 prospect

2022 NBA Draft: Debating case for 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 on Thursday night who the Orlando Magic are. worth as the No. 1 pick as they pick first overall for the first time since 2004, but it’s far from a consensus view at the top of this draft among NBA front offices. And the same for our team of experts. in our end top 100 rankings Comprised of a consensus taken 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 earned votes at No. 1.

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

Explorers have their opinions. but our math in the consensus rankings determined that Chet Holmgren deserved the honor, but below each of us have laid out our cases for our pick as the No. 1 pro prospect in this year’s draft. Here’s who each of us had in the top spot and why, as we head into Thursday night’s draft with a wide range of views on the best in the class.

Want more analysis of the top prospects in the NBA Draft? Listen below and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast, where we delve into the best players going to the next level.

The case of Chet Holmgren

I understand the arguments for Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and even Jaden Ivey taking first overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. I don’t think any of them are ridiculous choices. But I still genuinely believe Holmgren is the best prospect available this year, which is why I also think Orlando should take him as the No. 1 pick. He is an elite rim protector on defense who can float on offense, rebound, shoot, and generally take advantage of matchups.

If a traditional big guards it, chances are it can get around it. If a smaller player marks him, he can definitely shoot over him. Am I worried about the light frame? Sure, on some level I guess. But as ESPN’s Jonathon Givony pointed out in a recent podcast, how many top prospects have failed to achieve greatness strictly because they’re too skinny? I couldn’t think of any. Neither do I. So I’m going to assume that Holmgren’s unique skill set will allow him to overcome his unique frame and eventually emerge as the best player in this draft. –Gary Parish

In my opinion, Holmgren has the highest ceiling in the draft. He changes the game at both ends of the floor. There simply aren’t many 7-footers, anywhere in the world, that can protect the edge, stretch the floor, and still provide such an efficient interior finishing presence. He’s an even better ball handler and passer than I think some people give him credit for. But besides all of that, I just really believe in his mentality and that inner toughness of his. I know he has to develop his body, but if there’s one thing every NBA team has figured out how to do at an exceptionally high level, it’s that. Adam Finkelstein

We know that everyone is questioning his physicality, but the truth is that Holmgren has never had a history of injuries or shown that his lack of strength is a real obstacle. You won’t be able to throw it at the Joel Embiids of the world, but no one can throw anything at it. In four or five years, we could legitimately be talking about him as one of the faces of the League with his ability to dribble, pass and shoot like we’ve never seen him before in his size and length, plus the fact that he’s a defender of elite. and rim protector. Travis Branham

I understand the appeal of Smith and Banchero, but for me Holmgren’s advantage is a notch above. Smith lacks playmaking potential — Holmgren can flourish beautifully in that department. Banchero’s suspect as a 3-point shooter and on defense: Holmgren has a sweet shot and is one of the best rim-protection prospects we’ve seen. He also doesn’t buy the noisy ravings about unique body type. Holmgren has been able to hold his own against stronger players throughout his life, and the NBA rules will continue to evolve in his favor. He has already shown that he can perform at the highest levels of amateur basketball, and he also has more room to improve than any of the top three prospects. Add it all up, and that certainly sounds like the best player in the draft class. Colin Ward Henninger

The case of Paolo Banchero

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Whether it’s for CBSSports.com, on Eye on College Basketball or on CBS Sports HQ, I’ve explained my position on having the No. 1 Banchero on my board many times in recent weeks. But here, against the current, once again, with feeling. Banchero is the most sensible pick of any player in this class because he is the most developed and proven talent. His numbers at Duke, with plenty of other first-rounders in the starting lineup, were more than satisfactory: 17.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.2 apg for the highest-rated offensive team in the nation, according to KenPom.com.

Banchero was a 52.8% 2-point shooter and a 33.8% 3-pointer. No one in this draft has Banchero’s combination of size + skill + touch + passing ability + playmaking + rebounding prowess + competitive advantage. He has above-average drive, can work the post, shoot from beyond the arc and isn’t a black hole. The hesitation with him at No. 1 stems from the fact that he’s not as potentially damaging a 3-point shooter as Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and even Jaden Ivey are. But he can still shoot. Defensively, he has more ground to make up. Still, no one is as ready to play in the NBA tomorrow as Banchero, and I think he’ll finally prove himself a multiple-time All-Star by the end of his second deal. -Matt Norlander

The case of Jaden Ivey

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There are safer prospects at the top of this class (Smith Jr.) and bigger boom/bust propositions as well (Holmgren), but no one possesses the rare combination of explosive athleticism and creative ability that Ivey has in this draft. It is a human firecracker that can burst to the brim. He has the potential to become a true leading guard 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 take the load off a team’s No. 1 starting option. I’d take him No. 1 over everyone in this class with the possibility of his game improving even marginally, if not substantially, and his improvement as a shooter over the last year bodes well for him as a burgeoning star entering the NBA. Kyle Boone

The case of Jabari Smith Jr.

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What most clearly separates Smith from Banchero, Holmgren and others as the best pick at No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft is his elite outside shooting. Going 6-10 with a 42% 3-point mark on 5.5 attempts per game in his only season at Auburn, Smith projects as an excellent long-term shooter at the next level. While Banchero and Holmgren showed some perimeter range in their only college seasons, neither projected as elite in any facet of the game as Smith does as an outside shooter.

Given that Smith also boasts an excellent defensive edge and a burgeoning shot-creation 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 distributing the basketball in Orlando, Smith would be an excellent addition to the Magic’s core group. While it may take years for Smith to reach his full potential, it’s easy to see him becoming the Magic’s leading scorer early in his career because of the slight shooting touch he’ll bring to the league on Day One. david cobb

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