The NBA Draft has become the opening of a new season. With the arrival of the new rookies in the league, the 2022/23 campaign is about to begin, although just a few days ago we saw how the Golden State Warriors won the 2022 championship crown.
Then will come the free-agent market, the trading window, the pre-season, and then regular season games.
For the ninth time in its history, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will host the gathering of basketball’s top prospects hoping to hear their names called as quickly as possible.
Jabari Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren have long been in contention for the No. 1 pick and it is virtually certain that one of the two will be the first to greet Adam Silver.
But, as in all drafts, it is important to take into account other names that will become more and more important throughout the years:
1. Jabari Smith (Power forward)
Stats: 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 blocks, 1.1 steals, 42 percent shooting, 42pc three pointers.
For much of the year he has been the No. 1 player on most draft boards, but even more so when it became known that the Orlando Magic would pick first.
He is a great scorer, the best shooter in this draft and is capable of shooting in many different ways, coming out of blocks or making his own shots.
He is an excellent physical player who has shown good defensive skills.
2. Chet Holmgren (Power forward/centre)
Stats: 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 3.7 blocks, 0.8 steals, 60pc shooting, 39pc three-pointers.
For many, he is the favourite to be picked No.1, although the Magic are expected go for Jabari Smith. Dubbed the unicorn of this draft because of his height, he is a seven-footer, although his weakness is that he weighs just 200 pounds.
He’s a modern centre, one of the guys who can shoot threes and be an outside threat, but he needs to acquire the fundamentals of a pure centre. The problems he had with foul trouble could alarm teams.
3. Paolo Banchero (Power forward)
Stats: 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.9 blocks, 1.1 steals, 47pc shooting, 34pc three-pointers.
Paolo Banchero is a great defender and more than capable offensively. He has remarkable footwork that allows him to perform very well in the paint.
4. Jaden Ivey (Shooting guard)
Statistics: 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.6 blocks, 0.9 steals, 46pc in shooting, 35pc in three pointers.
There are projections that place him as number 3 of this Draft and others that involve him in possible trades
He is an electric player who seems to be ready to play in the NBA from minute 1. He is capable of scoring from several outside positions, even from the three. He has been compared to Dwyane Wade or Ja Morant.
5. Keegan Murray (Wing-Pivot)
University of Iowa
Statistics: 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.9 blocks, 1.3 steals, 55pc shooting, 39pc three-pointers.
In the NBA, he will become an excellent small-ball centre, although his terrific shooting will also allow him to shine as a power forward.
6. Bennedict Mathurin (Guard)
University of Arizona
Statistics: 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.3 blocks, 1.0 steals, 45pc shooting, 36pc three-pointers.
The Canadian has led one of the best scoring teams in the NCAA, which shows his offensive talent.
He will have to work on his consistency, among other things, but he could be an early contributor to whichever team he lands on.
7. Dyson Daniels (Shooting guard/forward)
G League Ignite (Australia)
Stats: 11.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.9 steals, 44.9pc shooting, 25.5pc three-pointers.
Australian by birth, Daniels will most likely be the first player not born in the USA to be selected in this draft having not been involved in college basketball. Hailing from the Australian G League, he is a very powerful player for the position he plays.
He is a good rebounder for an outside player and sets up attacking transitions very well. He has good penetration skills and the ability to move in traffic.
8. Jalen Duren (Centre)
University of Memphis
Stats: 12.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.1 blocks, 0.8 steals, 59pc shooting.
Duren is a physical presence reminiscent of a young Dwight Howard who made it to the NBA, or even Grant Williams who excelled for the Celtics in 2021.
At 18 years of age, he is one of the most interesting prospects of this draft because of his ability to finish plays combined with natural his defensive instincts.
9. Shaedon Sharpe (Shooting guard)
University of Kentucky
He did not play this season as he enrolled at Kentucky in January. He is a player who has everything it takes to succeed in the NBA but is surrounded by a sense of mystery surrounding his ability to focus. Teams are also concerned about his on-court intensity.
10. Adrian Griffin Jr.
Stats: 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 blocks, 0.5 steals, 49pc shooting, 44pc three-pointers.
Athletic, active and very strong, Griffin is a good shooter who can play inside because he handles contact so well.
He is a great threat from the three-point arc and his body looks like it was designed to play in the NBA. He has a lot of talent, but his extensive injury history will make some teams reluctant to take a gamble on him.
Other names to watch: Jeremy Sochan, Ousmane Dieng, Johnny Davis, Mark Williams and Jalen Williams.