This Thursday will be the beginning of several young men's careers in the NBA, as the 2022 NBA Draft will begin its two-round process. Many of the top college basketball and international stars will take the next step in their journeys in professional basketball.
Fans are wondering where their favorite players will go, what trades will change the game and more.
1. Where will Jaylin Williams go?
From the moment that Arkansas Razorbacks sophomore center Jaylin Williams entered the 2022 NBA Draft process, teams have been interviewing him and inviting out to workouts. Williams ranks among the top center prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft as his athleticism, ability to drive to the basket and passing abilities are highly efficient. His best performances were in big games, such as the NCAA Tournament where he averaged 14.3 points per game and 11.8 rebounds per game. If Williams get drafted on Thursday night, it would be the fourth year in a row that a former Hog was selected.
ESPN's Jonathan Givony predicts Williams will be drafted at 34th overall in the second round by the Oklahoma City Thunders. The Athletic's Sam Vecenie has Williams being selected at 47th overall in the second round by the Memphis Grizzlies. Yahoo Sports projects Williams to be drafted 38th overall in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs. There are strong indications Williams may not slip past 43rd overall, a pick owned by the Los Angeles Clippers.
2. What trade have a huge impact?
Suns to Pelicans, Knicks to Kings.
Every NBA Draft comes with new rumors, and some are so wild that they can only be true.
One rumor this year is that the Phoenix Suns are looking to trade to the 8th overall pick, owned by the New Orleans Pelicans, reason being that the Suns might want to trade a key player to relieve cap in order to potentially extend the contract of center DeAndre Ayton, who is set to be a free agent. Phoenix has been rumored to trade point guard Cameron Johnson, but that might not be enough to entice New Orleans to trade away the 8th overall pick. A more enticing offer that might be trading small forward Mikal Bridges.
Another rumor going into the 2022 NBA Draft is the New York Knicks potentially trading up from 11th overall pick to the 4th overall pick, owned by the Sacramento Kings. The Knicks have been interested in Purdue Boilermakers shooting guard Jaden Ivey. The Kings have also been interested in acquiring Ivey, but they may bite for a package that includes the Knicks' 11th overall pick and a top-tier player like power forward Julius Randle.
3. Will the Orlando Magic go big or go small?
The Orlando Magic will have the first overall pick for the fourth time in franchise history. They have used their previous 1st overall picks on center Shaquille O'Neal (1992), power forward Chris Webber (1993) and center Dwight Howard (2004). The Magic are essentially down to two choices they can make on Thursday, between Auburn Tigers forward Jabari Smith and Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren. Smith is a dynamic playmaker on both ends of the court and is a top shooter in the 2022 NBA Draft class. Holmgren is a tenacious defender and surprisingly good with the ball in his hands. Both players could be the face of the franchise that the Magic could build around.
4. What are the Oklahoma City Thunder going to do?
The Oklahoma City Thunder have four picks in the 2022 NBA Draft, including three in the first round. The Thunder have been building their team with first round picks from trades that sent guard/forward Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers and point guard Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns. Despite having high-caliber players, the Thunder are among the worst teams in the league.
Oklahoma City are likely to use the 2nd overall pick to select either Smith or Holmgren, whoever isn't picked by Orlando. They've reached out to Duke Blue Devils forward A.J. Griffin for workouts, and mock Drafts place Griffin around the 12th overall pick. With the 30th and 34th overall picks, the Thunder could continue to draft some of the best new players available or they could package them together to potentially trade for a veteran. Oklahoma City could even consider including three or all four of their picks to trade to another team for a veteran.
5. Will the Jazz, Lakers, Nets and Suns do anything?
This 2022 NBA Draft process will be big for all 30 teams in the NBA, but there are four teams that do not have picks in either of the two rounds: the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns traded most of their picks away for previous Draft picks or for veteran players. All four of these teams are in the market to seriously upgrade their roster. The Suns could make the move with a trade with the Pelicans. The Jazz could be making a move involving one of their two stars. Finally, the Lakers and Nets are in danger of declining as a team and may need to make a trade happen to avoid that.