Sunday, July 3, 2022

2022 NBA Mock Draft: Keegan Murray, Jaden Ivey move up, but AJ Griffin slips out of top five

2022 NBA Mock Draft: Keegan Murray, Jaden Ivey move up, but AJ Griffin slips out of top five

There’s been some shuffling near the top in David Cobb’s latest NBA mock draft

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USATSI

As the NBA Draft approaches and intrigue increases over how the first several picks will transpire, the elite outside shooting of Jabari Smith comes into clearer focus as the difference-making component to his game. While the name of the game in the modern NBA is versatility, what separates role players from stars is the presence of something elite.

With Smith, that elite skill is going to be an excellent 3-point shot, and his perimeter touch is what makes him the best option for Orlando at No. 1 in a draft with several intriguing candidates for the top spot. To be sure, Smith also brings the diverse skill set required to thrive as a power forward in today’s pro game. In time, as his frame fills out, he should be able to guard positions 1-5 in most instances, and he showed flashes at Auburn of the ability to create off the dribble.

But what most clearly separates him from Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero and others in the top spot is the 42% mark he posted from beyond the arc for a team that earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. With his lanky 6-foot-10 frame and ability to shoot over opponents, Smith’s shot should translate to the next level, especially if he plays in a system with guards like Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony who can find him in the right spots.. 

Banchero and Holmgren can also stretch the floor with outside shooting and have plenty of upside. In fact, Banchero appears to have the highest floor of the three prospects because of his build and advanced offensive repertoire. However, Smith’s proven shooting acumen and potential to do everything else well make him the best bet at No. 1 entering the 2022 NBA Draft..

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