Our in-house basketball expert @DodgeMoney breaks down his best bets for the NBA Draft
The 2021-2022 NBA Finals has come and gone, but the NBA never sleeps. While the Golden State Warriors are still celebrating their remarkable season the rest of the league put the 2022 season in the review mirror and is planning for the future. Where better to start than with the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft. Draft season is a perfect time to hit the “reset button” and plan for which direction the organization wants to head. It brings both excitement and hope and that with a few right pieces, starting with the draft (followed by free agency and trades), an organization can take the right steps forward in becoming a successful franchise.
Best Prop Bets for 2022 NBA Draft!
One Unit on Jabari Smith Jr. 1st Overall Pick (-280)
I do not necessarily love the value here, but there is no denying the interest the Orlando Magic have had on Smith for the last few months. The negatives on Smith are his ability to put the ball on the floor and some weakness around the rim in terms of finishing. Some also question his “it factor”. But his positives far outweigh the negatives. He is an elite level shooter, especially with his size (from all areas of the floor), has a high basketball IQ, and has a defensive prowess that is coveted. Pairing Smith with Wendell Carter Jr. would allow for a variation of lineups that the Magic could tinker with without losing size or defense if only one of them are on the floor. When you are picking #1 overall, the last thing you can afford to do is “whiff” on your selection and it is not a reach to say that Smith is arguable the most bust-proof player. And his youth and potential allow for a great deal of growth.
One Unit on Bennedict Mathurin Draft Position o6.5 (+180)
This play is based more on what I feel teams are coveting rather than a knock-on Mathurin. His size, length, athleticism, shooting ability and desire to improve as a player is everything most want in a player. I think based on team need he will go only as high as pick #7 but will not fall below pick #12. Even though in today’s NBA positions are a thing of the past, I feel like teams still focus too much attention on where players would have played in the past. Whichever team gets him will be very happy he fell this far.
One Unit on Jaden Hardy Draft Position o23.5 (-140)
Towards the end of the G League season Hardy has seen his draft stock take a hit due to his lack of consistency. His size of 6-4, 185 pounds raises some question marks. Of the shooting guards in the draft, he grades outside the top 5, which lands him at best squarely in the mid-first round conversation. I think due to his size and teams recognizing that he is more of a project than an immediate contributor he will fall to the back end of the draft with teams hoping they can make a splash with his potential down the line.
One Unit on Jalen Duren Draft Position o10.5 (-140)
This play is merely because the traditional center does not hold as much value in today’s game as it did in the past. He is a high-flying big man who can play around the rim, with big-time energy, and is not afraid to mix it up in the paint on the defensive end of the floor. He is pretty good in spots when asked to defend on the perimeter as well. He needs to improve his shooting at all levels and polish offensive game with his back to the basket. He is extremely young and showed growth over the course of his freshman year at Memphis. He is an elite talent with unlimited potential that will be too appealing for teams with mid-first round selections to pass on, but I think a top-10 selection is a reach.
One Unit on Shaedon Sharpe Draft Position o7.5 (-170)
I think this is a case where his young age of 19 combined with his exceptionally thin sample of games for scouts to rely on are going to hurt him. There is no question he has a unique talent, an NBA type frame, a gift athlete, and a capable shooting form, but due to the limited game film against top level collegiate athletes (more so defensively) questions remain if he has the intangibles to reach his potential. Also, I think a big factor in his draft position dip will be the fact that this draft class is not lacking talent and NBA franchises could lean to a more proven player when picking inside the top-10.