Wednesday, July 6, 2022

2022 NBA Draft Combine: Five storylines as pro prospects showcase their skills for scouts in Chicago

The NBA Draft Combine returns to its normal spot in the schedule this week in Chicago where 76 players will measure, interview and compete for attention in front of NBA team scouts, executives and decision-makers. Workouts begin Wednesday and run through Friday, which should give us further clarity about how perhaps the draft next month may unfold.

Storylines abound as we prep for the momentous week from top picks to top (potential) promises, G League Elite camp standouts, late risers and more. Here are all the big stories to follow with surely more to unravel in the coming hours and days leading up to the event.

Potential promises

The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline is June 1, but already there are whispers — potentially soon turning to murmurs — about possible promises for some of this year’s fringe prospects. One to watch is Michigan forward Caleb Houstan, a former five-star recruit, who was projected as a fringe first-rounder just weeks ago. Given that projection, the combine in theory would be a huge platform for him. However, he declined his invite — one of two to do so along with Kris Murray, who may return to Iowa — and has thus far remained in the draft, leading to speculation that he may have been promised by a team. There’s sure to be more scuttlebutt to follow in the coming days, especially with all the hang sessions between key NBA folks and media on tap.

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Will top prospects continue to skip?

Answer: … probably. Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith and Jaden Ivey — the likely top four picks in this draft — have accepted combine invites and are expected to be in attendance in Chicago this week. But none of the four are likely to be active in workouts. In recent years there’s been an emerging trend where few — if any — of the top talents participate. With so many of the top names already identified, we may again be headed for another year where the biggest names sit. How many that includes (top five? lottery? first-rounders?) is the bigger question. 

G League Elite camp standouts

There will be 44 players participating in the G League Elite Camp, a camp on Monday and Tuesday where draft prospects can play their way into the combine. This has been a forum in the past that has served players and their draft prospects well, with Terance Mann, Jose Alvarado, Max Strus and others using the platform to catch the eyes of NBA players and many others using it to leapfrog into the combine in a bigger spotlight. The event begins Monday and concludes Tuesday.

First-round talents emerge

The combine is the place to showcase your skills and state your case as a proving ground in front of the people who matter most. This has been a place in year’s past where first-rounders prove they are indeed first-rounders, but more often than not, it’s a place where fringe first-rounders solidify their standing and rise up boards. Among those that come to mind in recent memory who helped their standing: Nic Claxton, Luka Samanic, Jericho Sims, Bones Hyland and Joe Wieskamp. The back end of the first round is more open this year than in several years, so this week could be significant in determining which names fill out the first round. There’s inevitably going to be some big names who ride strong weeks into the first round radar. 

International talent abounds

With often conflicting international schedules, prospects either from overseas or playing in leagues overseas rarely get a break in the schedule big enough to make the Combine. But this year is a bit different. Nikola Jovic (Serbia/Mega), Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite/Australia), Jean Montero (Overtime Elite/Dominican Republic) and Ousmane Dieng (NBL/Australia) — all first-rounders on the Big Board — have accepted combine invites and are expected to compete. For the scouting community, it should be a great opportunity to see how their talents stack up against some of the best college prospects. It further should provide clarity on other expected non-U.S. attendees not currently projected in the first round with Ismael Kamagate (France), Hugo Besson (Australia), Leonard Miller (Canada) and several others in town. There’s sure to be some moving and shaking and some of those players have a great chance to really cement themselves as NBA prospects.

Prospects invited to 2022 NBA Draft Combine

Ochai Agbaji Kansas
Patrick Baldwin Jr. Milwaukee
Paolo Banchero Duke
Dominick Barlow Overtime Elite
Marjon Beauchamp G League Ignite
Hugo Besson New Zealand Breakers
Malaki Branham Ohio State
Christian Braun Kansas
Kendall Brown Baylor
John Butler Jr. Florida State
Julian Champagnie St. John’s
Kennedy Chandler Tennessee
Max Christie Michigan State
Kofi Cockburn Illinois
Dyson Daniels G League Ignite
Johnny Davis Wisconsin
JD Davison Alabama
Moussa Diabate Michigan
Ousmane Dieng New Zealand Breakers
Khalifa Diop Gran Canaria (Spain)
Jalen Duren Memphis
Tari Eason LSU
Keon Ellis Alabama
Michael Foster Jr. G League Ignite
Collin Gillespie Villanova
AJ Griffin Duke
Jaden Hardy G League Ignite
Ron Harper Jr. Rutgers
Chet Holmgren Gonzaga
Harrison Ingram Stanford
Jaden Ivey Purdue
Trayce Jackson-Davis Indiana
Nikola Jovic Mega (Serbia)
Johnny Juzang UCLA
Ismael Kamagate Paris (France)
Trevor Keels Duke
Walker Kessler Auburn
Christian Koloko Arizona
Jake LaRavia Wake Forest
Justin Lewis Marquette
E.J. Liddell Ohio State
Bennedict Mathurin Arizona
Matthew Mayer Baylor
Bryce McGowens Nebraska
Leonard Miller Fort Erie Intl. Academy (Canada)
Josh Minott Memphis
Aminu Mohammed Georgetown
Iverson Molinar Mississippi State
Jean Montero Overtime Elite
Wendell Moore Jr. Duke
Keegan Murray Iowa
Andrew Nembhard Gonzaga
Scotty Pippen Jr. Vanderbilt
Gabriele Procida Fortitudo Bologna (Italy)
Orlando Robinson Fresno State
David Roddy Colorado State
Ryan Rollins Toledo
Dereon Seabron NC State
Shaedon Sharpe Kentucky
Jabari Smith Auburn
Terquavion Smith NC State
Jeremy Sochan Baylor
Matteo Spagnolo Cremona (Italy)
Julian Strawther Gonzaga
Dalen Terry Arizona
Drew Timme Gonzaga
Jabari Walker Colorado
TyTy Washington Jr. Kentucky
Peyton Watson UCLA
Blake Wesley Notre Dame
Alondes Williams Wake Forest
Jalen Williams Santa Clara
Jaylin Williams Arkansas
Mark Williams Duke
Trevion Williams Purdue
Fanbo Zeng G League Ignite

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