By Hocine LOUKKAF on 8/18/2021
Now that the 2021 NBA Draft is away, we can turn to the 2022 class and its great pack of big men, which has been upgraded lately with the reclassification of Jalen Duren into the 2021 class.
#1 Chet Holmgren, 7-0 PF, Gonzaga, Fr
An incredible talent for someone his size, Holmgren looks like a guard stuck in a PF’s body. If it wasn’t for his lack of bulk, he would be a generational prospect due to his versatility and motor.
#2 Jaden Hardy, 6-5 SG, G-League Ignite
Your prototypical SG, Hardy has all it takes to be an elite player, size, athleticism and above all a picture-perfect shooting release. His ability to be an elite scorer in the NBA could cement his top 3 position.
#3 Damion Collins, 6-10 PF/C, Kentucky, Fr
Another physical freak, Collins combines elite length and athleticism. His shooting touch and versatility are other strengths you like to see in such a big man. Could help UK bounce back from their terrible year.
#4 Paolo Banchero, 6-9 PF, Duke, Fr
Another versatile big, Banchero combine surprising handles with nice size and athleticism. He’s also got a high motor that he uses to dominate his opponents.
#5 Jalen Duren 6-10 C, Memphis, Fr
The fresh member of the 2021 class is your typical tough Philly guy. If he can display improved mid-range shooting and the same defense/motor as in HS, he will be dominant.
#6 Adrian Griffin, 6-7 SF/PF, Duke, Fr
A physical freak on the wing, Griffin has all the tools to be a Kawhi-type of player, able to play both forward spots and maybe defend 1-4. Doesn’t have an elite strength on offense but a nice jack of all trades.
#7 Yannick Nzosa, 6-11 PF/C, 2003 Malaga (Spain)
The first international prospect of our list, Nzosa is already getting minutes in the Spanish league and the Eurocup for powerhouse Malaga. A mobile big who is very efficient around the rim, he’s a shot and some pounds away from being a top 5 contender
#8 Kennedy Chandler, 6-1 PG, Tennessee, Fr
Chandler’s speed, shooting and passing make him the best pure PG of his class. If he was a little taller, we would talk about a potential top 5 pick.
#9 Patrick Baldwin, 6-9 SF/PF, Milwaukee, Fr
A big wing who could play some small ball PF, Baldwin is a very talented and complete player who may just lack some athleticism to be a higher pick. He chose to play for his father at Milwaukee where he will be the focal point on offense.
#10 Hunter Sallis, 6-4 PG/SG, Gonzaga, Fr
A potential combo guard at the pro level, Sallis has a good combination of physical tools and talent. He’s also a nice shooter from outside, which may help him solidy his top 10 spot.
#11 Jabari Smith, 6-9 SF/PF, LSU, Fr
Another solid combo forward, Smith reminds me of a young Rashard Lewis, as his sweet touch from outside could help him have a long career in the league.
#12 Caleb Houstan, 6-8 SF, Michigan, Fr
The Canadian SF struggled with his 3pt shooting during the FIBA U19 World Cup but will have time to prove he can be consistent at Michigan.
#13 Ousmane Dieng, 6-8 PG/SG/SF, 2003, New Zealand Breakers (NBL)
One of the players with the biggest upside, Dieng elected to leave France for the NBL route. At 6-9, he’s a versatile wing but has a lot of work to do, mainly strength-wise, to be a solid player.
#14 Nikola Jovic, 6-10 PF, MegaBasket (Serbia)
A very versatile stretch four, Jovic dominated at the FIBA U19 WC. If he proves he can switch on/guard smaller forwards, he could end up in the top 10.
#15 Kendall Brown, 6-7 SF, Baylor, Fr
An explosive athlete, Brown has the type of athleticism and toughness that can make him a fan-favourite at Baylor. If he can display a consistent outside shot, he could be a lottery pick.
#16 Peyton Watson, 6-8 SF, UCLA, Fr
A late bloomer, the Cali kid has risen in the draft boards. He’s a versatile forward who needs to gain toughness to be more efficient at the college level.
#17 Moussa Diabate, 6-10 PF, Michigan, Fr
Frenchman Diabate has used the HS platform to become one of the best big men in the country. His size, motor and improved shooting make him a solid prospect in the teens.
#18 Matthew Cleveland, 6-6 SG, Florida State
Florida State has become one of the best launchpads for HS prospects. Cleveland is next in line with a nice mix of talent and physical tools.
#19 Roko Prkacin, 6-9 PF, 2002, Cibona Zagreb (Croatia)
The Croatian forward decided to withdraw his name from the 2021 draft. Consistent shooting and improved athleticism will help him get first-round guarantees at the end of the year.
#20 Mouhamed Gueye, 6-11 PF, Washington State, Fr
A pretty unknown prospect at this stage, Senegalese forward Gueye reclassified into the 2021 class and will have playing time to display his length and athleticism with the Cougars.
#21 Tyty Washington, 6-3 PG/SG, Kentucky, Fr
A scoring guard a la Quickley, Washington could help the Wildcats bounce back from their terrible year. He could form a nice one-two punch with Collins.
#22 Khalifa Diop, 6-11 PF/C, 2002, Gran Canaria (Spain)
Diop withdrew his name from the draft but may gain some more playing time with Gran Canaria and keep improving his already good basketball IQ.
#23 Benedict Mathurin, 6-7 SG/SF, Arizona, So
An athletic swingman, Mathurin combines nice physical tools with solid shooting. Not the player with the highest ceiling but a potential starter in the league.
#24 Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, 6-8 PF, Tennessee, Fr
Another reclassified freshman, Huntley-Hatfield is a hard-nosed forward who could take some of the minutes left by Pons.
#25 Jaden Ivey, 6-3 SG, Purdue
Ivey was instrumental in helping the USA win the FIBA U19 WC against France. He’s a bit unidimensional as an undersized SG but could end up a nice microwave from the bench.
#26 JD Davison, 6-2 SG/PG, Alabama
An elite athlete, Davison needs to prove at the college level than he can be more than that. Will need to learn to be whether a real PG or an above average shooter to find a spot in the NBA.
#27 Ibou Badji, 7-1 C, 2002? FC Barcelona (Spain)
The long Senegalese center has not lived up to the hype yet but an NBA team will probably find him too interesting not to take a gamble on him. An incredible athlete considering his length.
#28 Allen Flanigan, 6-7 SG, Auburn, Jr
The versatile Auburn forward has really improved between his freshman and sophomore season. If he can make the same leap into his junior season, he could be a dominant player in the SEC.
#29 Azuolas Tubelis, 6-10 PF/C, Arizona, Fr
Not the most hyped prospect but Tubelis had a great freshman year and has a lot of room to become dominant at the college level. A strong big man like his fellow countryman Sabonis, he’s struggled against length during the FIBA U19 WC. An improved shot could help him solidify his stock.
#30 Johnny Juzang, 6-7 SG/SF, UCLA, Jr
Juzang elected to stay at UCLA as may not have had any guarantee to be a first rounder. If he keeps playing with the same confidence he had during the tournament, he could be one of the best scorers in the country and help UCLA reach the Final Four once again.