0 out of 4
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The 2022 NBA draft is just two days away, which means we’ll finally know where Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, Shaedon Sharpe, Bennedict Mathurin and more end up.
Between Banchero’s likely landing spot, the diagnosis of Sharpe’s pre-draft workouts, the rise in Mathurin’s stock, and hearing Ivey’s thoughts on his potential next team, there are plenty of rumors worth investigating.
It’s time to hook up the BS meter to find out what to believe as you step into this year’s draft.
1 out of 4
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While it’s widely believed that the top three players will be a combination of Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero, we don’t know exactly which talented big man will go where. Even Jeff Weltman, president of Orlando Magic, owner of the #1 overall pick, claims that “it’s still early in the process” even though the draft is just days away.
In other words, it’s still a guessing game of who goes where.
Despite the uncertainty that remains, The Athletic’s Kelly Iko wrote that Banchero is looking like the most likely outcome in Houston:
“With draft days away, signals are increasing that Duke’s Paolo Banchero will be picked by the Rockets should he be 3rd on the board, sources told The Athletic. … After making his official visit to Houston last week, Banchero is the most familiar of the three names believed to be at the top of the draft. Jabari Smith has decided not to visit and it is still unclear if Holmgren will.”
Purdue’s Jaden Ivey looks like the only prospect with a chance of spoiling the Banchero-Houston party should Smith and Holmgren leave the board.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony previously wrote that Ivey’s “candidate for the Rockets at No. 3 is being considered,” though Banchero fits the current list much better. Not only does Houston already have a couple of ball-dominating guards in Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., but Christian Wood’s recent move to the Dallas Mavericks has opened up a spot for Banchero up front.
Expect the Magic to eventually go for Smith with the first overall pick taking Oklahoma City’s Holmgren for 2nd place and Banchero actually being picked by Houston for 3rd place with the team wisely passing Ivey.
BS meter: Low. Even though the first two picks are yet to be determined and Ivey is a wild card, Banchero to the Rockets seems the most likely scenario.
2 out of 4
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Jaden Ivey is the top guard in the 2022 class and will almost certainly go 4th overall.
Of course, the Kings currently own fourth-pick, although “teams expect the Sacramento Kings to discuss trades until they’re fourth-picked,” according to Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman.
There’s a very real chance that Ivey could end up in Sacramento if a deal doesn’t go through, which is a possibility he’s been asked about in the media recently.
“If I got drafted there, that wouldn’t be the worst option,” Ivey replied, according to BasketballNews.com Evan Sidery. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of the franchise.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony previously reported that the Kings are not the “preferred target” for the Purdue star, who has coached for the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons.
It sounds like Ivey is politely telling the kings not to call him up, which could be for a number of reasons. Sacramento already has a talented backcourt with De’Aaron Fox and last year’s No. 9 overall winner Davion Mitchell, or maybe Ivey isn’t thrilled with the way the franchise handled Tyrese Haliburton so early in his career.
Playing alongside Cade Cunningham and a few other promising candidates in Detroit should be far more appealing, or staying in Indiana State with Haliburton and the Pacers would be an excellent solution, especially if Malcolm Brogdon is traded this offseason.
We’re going to call BS on Ivey’s response here as he probably actually sees it as the worst (or almost the worst) option for starting his NBA career. However, we respect courtesy.
BS meter: High. Word is already spreading about Ivey’s feelings about Sacramento. It was a nice way for him to say he doesn’t want to play for the Kings.
3 out of 4
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Since Kentucky guard Shaedon Sharpe chose not to play last season, his pre-draft workouts have meant far more to teams than perhaps those of any other top prospect.
The latest report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania states that Sharpe’s training has been going quite well:
“Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe is the mystery man of the NBA draft. Sharpe is a predicted top Lottery pick and sources say he’s been putting on strong group practices like three-on-three scrimmages to show off his skills to teams who haven’t seen him play organized basketball in the last one or two years. Rather than doing individual workouts, Sharpe sought out competition and coached for teams between the #1-13 draft ranges.
However, this comes just days after a previous report claimed exactly the opposite.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer wrote that the 19-year-old was indeed in danger of being dropped in the draft, noting, “Sharpe is said to have under-challenged several teams in pre-draft workouts.” While Charania listed Sharpe as a lottery entrant, Fischer wrote that his assortment could start with the New Orleans Pelicans at number 8.
So what is it?
If anything, Charania’s report reads like an over-correction attempting to dispel any doubts teams playing in the 4-7 range might have about the talented wing’s draft. Even the line in which he seeks out the competition reads as if it came straight from the mouth of an agent.
BS meter: Middle. While Sharpe’s last training session was better, that doesn’t change the fact that he originally underwhelmed teams.
4 out of 4
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Originally scheduled between the 8th and 12th picks in mock drafts, Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin could actually go much higher, according to Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman.
“Teams don’t expect Bennedict Mathurin to get past the New Orleans Pelicans in 8th place. Most people in the league think he’ll be off the board by then. … The Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers could all consider Mathurin fit at the 2/3 positions. His range looks like #4-7.
This is a big jump for a player who’s often ranked below Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Dyson Daniels, Shaedon Sharpe and others, but may now be able to jump some, if not all, on draft night.
The NBA is largely built around wings, and the 6’6″ (in shoes) Mathurin should be able to fit in as a shooting guard or small forward. His ability as a three-pronged scorer who can play with the ball in or out of bounds will thrive can of his hands should be an attractive trait for teams that need offensive pop. The four teams listed by Wasserman, the Kings, Pistons, Pacers, and Blazers, all have primary ball handlers in place and could use Mathurin as a backcourt partner who also orchestrates can stretch the offense for.
However, Ivey should still be considered the top guard in that class, even if Mathurin’s height would make him a better spot for Sacramento at number 4. If the Kings like Mathurin, a trade back to five with the Pistons (who would love to have Ivey) could work for everyone.
Ivey will almost certainly be the first guard off the board, although Mathurin could very well be second and even fifth.
BS meter: Low. Mathurin won’t pass Ivey, but the 4-7 range feels right.