With Chet Holmgren Out, Here's Our Predictions for the Other Draft Picks
Mon, Sep 12, 2022
The draft, after having been postponed for two contagion riddled years, was supposed to return with 60 picks in June. Due to Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks getting caught red handed, having focused more on poaching than practicing, that number went down to 58. Of the 58 draft picks, Chet Holmgren was arguably the most promising. 58 is quite a talent pool to be floating at the top of, that is why news of a Lisfranc diagnosis has been so deeply unwelcome. This year he will not be cropping up on the best sportsbooks online, as his stats lie static.
Although the news of a successful surgery was a relief, the player is very much under existential threat within the NBA even as a healthy prospect. Lumbering in at 2.13 metres this is an obscenely tall player made special by the fact that he is as dexterous and court smart as he is tall. The question mark over his slender physique being capable of surviving the extremely tough knocks of the NBA turned into sceptical frowns when Lebron James, almost casually, sent this kid’s nascent career to the ground. Considering Chet Holmgren’s future is painful to do, because we know he managed to successfully defend against Lebron, but there might be some less obvious disadvantages to his physique that will end up outweighing the more obvious advantages. This year, the Oklahoma City Thunder might be a little lower on oddsmakers lists.
So, putting the violins away, who else in that pool is looking good? Remember, the order of the draft is far from everything, and the NBA is a league where underdogs thrive. There are possibilities for anyone in that 58 to still become a star.
This is the other name on everyone’s lips and it certainly is not because he can’t play this season. Quite the contrary, this player is the only draft to surpass Chet Holgrem in the picks and it is not just because of his less risky physique. This potential master of all trades, a scorer, rebounder and trigger-happy passer is as good at creating opportunities as he is at fulfilling them. Instantaneously snapped up by Orlando Magic (who really need good news now) Paolo pirouettes as he dunks, he is dynamic, magnetic and, well, a bit of a show off. Being cocky might be alright if you have the skill to back it up, which Banchero certainly does, but the price is apparently the loss of Dejounte Murray’s respect.
Perhaps Murray could be accused of jealousy, but he still won the ball and got it through the net. The pair had it out on social media and have perhaps written only chapter one of an ongoing saga. Beef rarely gets in the way of success however, often the opposite, and Paolo Banchero has a long and promising road ahead of him. This road needs to consist of improvements to his defence however if he really wants to be a master of all and an NBA superstar.
Perhaps slightly more of a team player than Banchero, but not quite as good a chance at becoming a star. Jabari Smith is an extremely sharp (and wide!) defender but with the ability for long distance shooting as well. He does not have crazy energy levels but with improvement he could end up as the NBA’s deadly all rounder - and a far humbler one than Banchero!
Now that that’s the top 3 out of the way, the rest of the board is overall looking very promising, here’s a word on a few whose value may not be in stardom, but certainly elsewhere.
This Aussie ball handler is worth keeping an eye on, regardless of the fact he may not be pirouetting (and probably never will be) like Banchero. Passing, defense and rebounds define his play and there is an uncanny likeness in his measurements and drill stats to last 2021’s Rookie of the year. And who knows, Daniels might be one of the underdog superstars: stranger things have happened than a fifth draft pick making history.
Despite having a body sculpted by the gods, this 18 year old is seriously lacking chops when it comes to shooting and dribbling. His defence, dunks and layups are what earned him a spot in the top ten picks however. With passing potential and a long future ahead of him he could still be a seriously valuable asset - using his wingspan to powerfully compensate for the lack of any technical brilliance.
In a game where (putting talent to one side) height is the chief physical attribute, it is worth taking a peek at the second tallest player, a distance behind Holmgren at 7.25. Kessler is a player that could go either way in future as he leaves a lot to be desired in all aspects but guarding and finishing next to the rim. He is, to some degree, already a GOAT: he has the greatest shot-blocking stat of any prospect… of all time. This alone could make a worthy addition to any NBA team’s arsenal and who knows, there could still be much more to his career.