Tuesday, July 5, 2022

2022 NBA Draft Big Board: Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren is No. 1 in final prospect rankings

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What the Orlando Magic will do at No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft — contrary to betting markets, which have Jabari Smith Jr. as the frontrunner to be selected with the top overall pick — is the biggest question mark entering Thursday’s draft that will no doubt have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the top 10 and into the lottery. And opinions vary on who is deserving of this year’s No. 1 selection.

That is especially true, it turns out, not just in NBA front offices but with the CBS Sports and 247Sports staff. I polled our draftniks to compile a consensus ranking for CBS Sports’ Top 100 prospect rankings — Gary Parrish, Matt Norlander, David Cobb, Colin Ward-Heninger, Adam Finkelstein, Travis Branham and myself — and opinions are completely split. Four of the seven had Chet Holmgren No. 1 while one had Jabari Smith Jr. and another had Paolo Banchero. I had Jaden Ivey.

Taken together, Holmgren won out as the No. 1 in our consensus rankings — though he was hardly a unanimous pick. He ranked as high as No. 1 and as low as No. 4 on some of our experts’ boards, whereas Banchero — No. 3 in the consensus ranks — ranked No. 4 on only two boards. He consistently ranked between No. 2 and No. 3 (with the great Matt Norlander being the lone wolf ranking him No. 1.)

Sandwiched between Holmgren and Banchero in our consensus ranking is likely No. 1 pick Jabari Smith Jr. at No. 2. Only two of us had him at three or lower (guilty!), but only one of us had him at No. 1.

Want more analysis of the top prospects in the NBA Draft? Listen below and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast where we take a deep dive on the top players heading to the next level.

Barring injuries it will take years to determine which of us is right or wrong about the rankings in this class, though it does feel that despite the lack of agreement, it is a good representation of just how much of a toss-up the top of this draft in particular is. There is no clear-cut No. 1 — or No. 2 or 3 or 4, for that matter. Opinions vary not just from team to team but person to person within teams on top prospects. The final Top 100 in that sense feels as informative as it is predictive. 

NBA Draft Big Board

Click here for the full Top 100 NBA Draft Big Board 

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