Welcome to an NBA Draft-centered article series where I’ll share my thoughts on the 2022 class as the year goes on. Each month I’ll give reports on around 10 prospects which will detail what I’ve noticed from watching their film. The reports will have strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, and outlooks on them as prospects.
This edition will mainly start out with the bigger name prospects since I decided to scout them first. As the months go along I’ll go further down my personal watchlist and some editions will have a big focus on the Team Ignite, Overtime Elite, and international prospects. Also, each edition will provide updates on certain players I’ve already covered depending on how they develop.
The players are in no particular order since I haven’t watched enough players to form a big board ranking. Finally, these thoughts are subject to change as the year goes on because all of these players are capable of getting better or worse at certain skills.
Updates from the last edition:
Jaden Ivey: When I made my report on Ivey in late November, he was shooting in the low 30’s from three-point range. Now he’s up to 44.6% from 3 on 4.7 attempts. He’s become a knock-down catch and shoot threat as of late and the pull-up flashes continue to become more and more frequent.
Paolo Banchero: In watching more games of his, it’s apparent that his flashes as a help defender are less common than I previously thought. However, his passing has impressed me and his processing speed is higher than most might think.
Kennedy Chandler: Chandler appeared to look like an elite rim finisher and offensive creator as he shredded Colorado’s ball screen coverages. In the four games he’s played since then, Chandler has only reached double-digit points once. He struggles to create when teams have blitzed him more and thrown length at him in ball screen situations. This inconsistency is part of the reason why he’s becoming a tougher evaluation than I previously thought.
Chet Holmgren: His open court brilliance has only become more impressive. Chet looks like a gazelle going by the other team. Two issues that have arisen are his mobility moving laterally on defense and attacking closeouts aggressively on offense. The mobility isn’t a con in his game but it’s not necessarily one of his best strengths either.
Jalen Duren: Duren has looked quite pedestrian in some games due to foul trouble or even poor play. However, from a scouting perspective, I’m actually higher on him now than I was before. Duren has shown the ability to make plays off the short roll at a high level. This is a major plus for his ceiling as a non-shooting big man.
Jabari Smith Jr.: There aren’t major changes here but there are some nitpicks. Smith’s finishing is a bigger issue than I thought. He shoots 56% at the rim when you take out his transition finishes. The pull-up shooting is still special but he’ll have to improve here if he wants to be a number one overall pick.
Benedict Mathurin: Mathurin has had some of the most impressive showings of any prospect in this class. His outside shot variety becomes more and more balanced with every game he plays and the developing offensive ancillary skills and on-ball defense are great to see. Mathurin is making a better case with each and each game that he’s a top 10-15 prospect.