In the weeks and months heading into Thursday night's 2022 NBA Draft,
Auburn forward Jabari Smith was the odds-on favorite to go No. 1 to the Orlando Magic.
Then things changed. Late Wednesday into early Thursday morning, the odds shifted to
Duke's Paolo Banchero as the favorite to be the first overall pick.
Smith was as high as -500 at one point to be selected first, with Banchero thought to be
taken at No. 3 by the Houston Rockets. Nearly a third of the bets at some sportsbooks are on Smith.
But the morning of the draft, the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Banchero was sitting at -200 to be selected No. 1 at
DraftKings. Smith was +145 and Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren was +800.
Then, after a story from ESPN's NBA insider
Adrian Wojnarowski, things that seemed out of whack went back into order.
Wojnarowski reported Thursday morning that the top three picks were "increasingly firm," with Smith, Holmgren and Banchero going in that order to Orlando,
Oklahoma City and Houston, respectively.
Hours later, odds settled and as of Thursday afternoon, Smith was back atop the DraftKings board at -400 to be selected No. 1 overall. Banchero's odds to be the top pick moved down to +250 and Holmgren dropped to +1600.
Holmgren is still the favorite to go second to the Thunder at -500, while Banchero, even though he's +250 to go No. 1, is +750 to go second and -500 to go third to Houston.
As they have all day, things, obviously, could change leading up to the first pick, including trades.
Editor's Note: This story was updated at 2:10 p.m. (Eastern) to reflect the latest odds for the 2022 NBA Draft.
No. 1 to No. 30: Every first round selection in our 2022 NBA mock draft
1. Orlando: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga, 7-0
The Magic shouldn't overthink this pick. Holmgren's combination of size, skill, and rim protecting are unmatched coming into the league. They also have a chance to reunite him with last year's draft pick and former high school teammate Jalen Suggs.
2. Oklahoma City: Jabari Smith, Auburn, 6-10
The Thunder haven't been fortunate enough to see a 6-10 talent like Smith in their organization since Kevin Durant left. His outside shooting at that height is reminiscent of a young KD, but he's built to secure their frontcourt for years to come.
3. Houston: Paolo Banchero, Duke, 6-10
Leading Duke to the Final Four in the last season of Coach K's legendary career, Banchero made a case to be No. 1 with averages of 18.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in the NCAA Tournament.
4. Sacramento: Jaden Ivey, Purdue, 6-4
Ivey would be the highest drafted Big Ten player since Michigan State's Jaren Jackson Jr. was the fourth pick in the 2018 draft. Comparisons to Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant seem realistic when it comes to athleticism at his position.
5. Detroit: Keegan Murray, Iowa, 6-8
The Hawkeyes will have their first NBA first-round pick since 1998 with Murray, who was arguably the most improved player in the country. Raised his scoring average from 7.2 as a freshman to 23.5 points as a sophomore last season.
6. Indiana: Dyson Daniels, NBA G League Ignite, 6-7
Daniels has been on the NBA's radar as a big combo guard, but scouts didn't realize how big he would become. The Australia native reportedly grew two inches since joining the NBA G League developmental team.
7. Portland: Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona, 6-6
Arizona's first-year coach Tommy Lloyd saw Mathurin become arguably the best shooting guard in college hoops as the Wildcats made a Sweet 16 run.
8. New Orleans: Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky, 6-5
Sharpe was the top-ranked high school player in the 2022 class before reclassifying to attend Kentucky last season. He sat out the season, but his draft stock didn't decline.
9. San Antonio: Ousmane Dieng, New Zealand Breakers, 6-10
Dieng, a native of France, had some underwhelming stats in the National Basketball League (8.9 points and 3.2 rebounds), but his ability to play on the perimeter at his size is intriguing.
10. Washington: A.J. Griffin, Duke, 6-6
Griffin played in the shadow of Banchero's massive talent, but the Blue Devils freshman still had five 20-point performances and shot 44.7% from 3-point range last season.
11. New York: Johnny Davis, Wisconsin, 6-5
A favorite to win NCAA player of the year at one point last season, Davis carried the Badgers on his back to a Big Ten title and earned conference player of the year honors.
12. Oklahoma City: Jeremy Sochan, Baylor, 6-9
The 19-year-old Polish talent stands out with his dyed blonde hairdo but a strong finish to the season, including 15 points and 11 rebounds vs. North Carolina, made him lottery material.
13. Charlotte: Jalen Duren, Memphis, 6-11
The Tigers opened the season with two top NBA prospects as freshmen, but Duren proved more worthy of that distinction than his former teammate Emoni Bates.
14. Cleveland: Malaki Branham, Ohio State, 6-5
He's the most unlikely first round pick of this year's freshmen in the draft, but nobody performed better in the clutch than this Buckeyes sharpshooter.
15. Charlotte: Ochai Agbaji, Kansas, 6-6
A decade ago, Agbaji would've been a possible top-10 pick after leading his team to the NCAA title. But the 22-year-old Jayhawks senior has age working against him.
16. Atlanta: Tari Eason, LSU, 6-8
Quietly one of the SEC's most consistent players, Eason scored in double figures in 17 of his last 18 games, including four straight 20-point efforts.
17. Houston: Mark Williams, Duke, 7-2
Good luck finding a player more impactful as a rim protector than Williams, who had 22 games with at least three blocks, and added 16 total blocks in the NCAA tourney.
18. Chicago: Jalen Williams, Santa Clara, 6-6
Not even 6-feet tall as a junior in high school, Williams was a late bloomer, but he blossomed at the right time, averaging 18 points and shooting 40% from 3.
19. Timberwolves: TyTy Washington Jr., Kentucky, 6-4
Wildcats have a solid track record for producing guards, including Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, DeAaron Fox, and Tyler Herro.
20. San Antonio: Nikola Jovic, Serbia, 6-11
With a name similar to Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, this tall and lengthy wing has trouble avoiding comparisons to the two-time MVP, but his game speaks for itself.
21. Denver: Blake Wesley, Notre Dame, 6-4
Wesley led the Irish in scoring and his all-around play as a freshman helped them reach the program's first NCAA Tournament since 2017.
22. Memphis: Kennedy Chandler, Tennessee, 6-0
One of the nation's top freshmen, Chandler topped the Vols in scoring, assists, and steals, but his biggest accomplishment was leading them to the SEC Championship.
23. Philadelphia: Jaden Hardy, NBA G League Ignite, 6-4
Hardy passed up playing college ball to play in the NBA G League. He was once considered the top offensive prep prospect in the country, so someone will draft him on that potential.
24. Milwaukee: Walker Kessler, Auburn, 7-1
College basketball's top shot blocker had two games with double-digit swats this season and should fit into the Bucks nicely.
25. San Antonio: MarJon Beauchamp, NBA G League Ignite, 6-5
Two years ago, Beachamp was an offensive standout at Yakima Valley College in Washington, but his success with the NBA G League attracted NBA scouts.
26. Dallas: Kendall Brown, Baylor, 6-7
The former standout at Minnesota's East Ridge left his home state for prep school in Kansas and developed into a prototypical wing in the NBA with his athleticism and versatility.
27. Miami: Dalen Terry, Arizona, 6-7
Terry saved some of his best games for last with breakout performances in the Pac 12 championship game and NCAA Tournament.
28. Golden State: Jake LaRavia, Wake Forest, 6-8
The Warriors have a few young talented wings, but they might not be able to resist drafting LaRavia, who can defend and play multiple positions.
29. Memphis: Patrick Baldwin Jr., Milwaukee, 6-10
Baldwin was a projected lottery pick coming out of high school, but he might drop with inconsistency against mid-major competition as a freshman.
30. Oklahoma City: Max Christie, Michigan State, 6-6
Christie could've used another year under Hall of Famer Tom Izzo to grow into a star, but his outside shooting is NBA ready.
NBA Draft 2022: Mathurin, Griffin, Davis, Sharpe top wings
The 6-6 sophomore blossomed in his second season to become ESPN's No. 8 draft prospect.
STRENGTHS: Mathurin was a second-team Associated Press All-American with above-the-rim athleticism and a reliable jumper. He averaged 17.7 points while shooting 38.3% on 3-pointers over two seasons. He had a big March moment, scoring 30 points and coming through in the clutch to help Arizona survive an overtime win against TCU in the NCAA Tournament's second round.
"I took advantage of March Madness to showcase my talent,” Mathurin said Thursday. “And I felt like there was a great chance for me, for people to see what I'm able to do.”
CONCERNS: While his length offers defensive potential, Mathurin could also use more consistency at that end of the floor, with ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla noting earlier this year that Mathurin has room to grow with making reads and handling the pick and roll.
The 6-6 small forward, son of former NBA player and current Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin, offers outside shooting, length and defensive potential.
STRENGTHS: Griffin, who turns 19 in August, is ESPN’s No. 9 draft prospect after averaging 10.4 points. His stroke was terrific, with the freshman hitting 44.7% of his 3-pointers and tallying a dozen games with at least three 3s. There were also flashes of ability to take over games, highlighted by his 27 points in a February romp against rival North Carolina.
CONCERNS: There’s a limited sample size to evaluate a player who missed most of his last two prep seasons to injuries. He also must develop off the dribble to complement his range.
The 6-5 sophomore went from role player off the bench to unexpected star for Wisconsin.
STRENGTHS: Davis plays with aggression and toughness at both ends. Ranked as ESPN's No. 11 draft prospect, Davis averaged 19.7 points and 8.2 rebounds to become an AP first-team All-American while proving capable of creating his own shot or looks for his teammates.
His all-around 37-point performance in a road win against then-No. 3 Purdue in January illustrated his upside, with Boilermakers coach Matt Painter calling him “the definition of a two-way player.”
CONCERNS: Davis needs to improve his outside shooting after making just 30.6% on 3s, including 10 of 48 (20.8%) in his last 15 games.
The 6-5 guard has taken an unusual route to the draft after a semester-long stop at Kentucky.
STRENGTHS: He was considered the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2022 before reclassifying and enrolling with the Wildcats in January, with the stated plan of playing the 2022-23 season. Hall of Fame coach John Calipari raved about the Canadian’s athleticism and shooting, with Sharpe showing the ability to finish around the rim, score off the dribble and hit from outside in the prep ranks. Ranked as ESPN's No. 7 draft prospect, he also measured just shy of a 7-foot wingspan at the NBA draft combine. CONCERNS: Sharpe hasn't played since a nationally televised high school game in October, leaving little body of work to evaluate against other top pro prospects after his decision to leave school.
“My last game was high school, so I feel like there is curiosity and mystery with me," Sharpe said Friday. “But like I said before, I’m just in the gym getting ready.”
The 19-year-old Frenchman spent last season in the Australian National Basketball League’s Next Stars program for elite prospects. Ranked No. 12 by ESPN, the 6-10 Dieng has intriguing perimeter skills as a potential lottery pick. But he must develop his outside shot (27% from 3-point range in the NBL) and add bulk (205 pounds).
The 6-5 freshman from Ohio State averaged 13.7 points while shooting 41.6% from 3-point range and 83% from the foul line. He could go late in the lottery and is ESPN's No. 13 draft prospect.
The 6-6 senior was a first-team AP All-American and the most outstanding player at the Final Four as Kansas won the NCAA championship. Agbaji elevated his game last season to average 18.8 points and 5.1 rebounds while also proving to be a quality defender, making him a first-round prospect and ranked No. 16 by ESPN.
The 6-8 sophomore and Cincinnati transfer brought a 7-2 wingspan and the versatility to defend multiple positions to LSU, part of the reason he's a first-round prospect and ESPN's No. 17 prospect.
JADEN HARDY AND MARJON BEAUCHAMP
Both are first-round prospects from the G-League Ignite developmental program for prospects who bypassed college basketball.
NBA Draft 2022: Ivey, Daniels headline list of point guards
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Purdue guard is a top-5 prospect with his potential both as a scorer and playmaker.
STRENGTHS: With athleticism to play either guard spot, the 20-year-old Ivey went from a complimentary piece as a freshman (11.1 points per game) to a second-team Associated Press All-American averaging 17.3 points and 4.9 rebounds. Ranked as the draft’s No. 4 prospect by ESPN, Ivey has proven the ability to score off the dribble or finish at the rim, whether gliding gracefully through traffic or throwing down with power.
Notably, his improved shooting helped elevate his game beyond highlight-reel moments. Ivey shot 46% from the field (up from 39.9% as a freshman) from the field and 35.8% from behind the arc (up from 25.8%) last season. That included going from having eight games with at least two made 3s as a freshman to 21 such games last year.
CONCERNS: Ivey has the tools to develop into a quality defender but needs more consistency there. Offensively, he had a tendency at times to play out of control with his aggressive edge, making him prone to turnovers (2.6 per game, close to his 3.1-assist average) and forced shots.
The 19-year-old bypassed the college ranks to play for Ignite, bringing size and versatility to the pro ranks.
STRENGTHS: The 6-7, 195-pound Daniels has the size to play and defend multiple positions, particularly as a point guard who added another inch and roughly 20 pounds of strength to his frame in the past year.
Ranked No. 6 by ESPN, Daniels has a nearly 6-11 wingspan and posted the fastest time (2.81 seconds) of any player tested at the NBA scouting combine in the shuttle run, which measures agility and ability to change direction. He averaged 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.9 assists for Ignite.
“For me, playing the point guard position and being 6-7 is really beneficial to me,” Daniels said in an interview with the AP in late March. “I'm able to go play down in the low post, play with the ball in my hands off pick and rolls and stuff like that. It was a big focus for me putting on size and weight this year.”
CONCERNS: Daniels' outside shot is still developing. He made 13 of 51 (25.5%) 3-pointers in 14 games with Ignite.
TYTY WASHINGTON JR.
Kentucky’s latest one-and-done player is a first-round prospect with his playmaking ability.
STRENGTHS: The 6-4, 196-pound freshman showed quickness and versatility at both guard spots. That included time at the point for injured Sahvir Wheeler and setting a single-game school record with 17 assists in a January win against Georgia.
Ranked No. 17 by ESPN, Washington was second on the team in scoring (12.5 points) while shooting 45% and averaging 3.9 assists. He also committed more than two turnovers in just six of 31 games.
CONCERNS: The outside shot must improve after making just 36 3-pointers and shooting 35% from behind the arc. Durability also became an issue as he missed three games because of injury and twice failed to hit double figures in the final four games, including going 2 for 10 in the stunning upset loss to No. 15 seed St. Peter’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 6-0, 172-pound Tennessee freshman is a first-round prospect with speed and the defensive skills to rank among the nation’s best in steals (2.2). ESPN’s No. 19 draft prospect also shot 38% from 3-point range, including 17 of 30 (56.7%) over seven games in March, and had the best max vertical leap (41.5 inches) of any player measured at the NBA scouting combine.
The 6-7 sophomore brought size and defense to the Arizona backcourt as a potential first-round prospect while taking a leading role late in the season due to teammate Kerr Kriisa’s ankle injury.
The 6-5 senior was a starter in Gonzaga's run to the 2021 NCAA title game, then averaged 11.8 points and 5.8 assists last season while improving his 3-point shooting (38.3%). Nembhard could be a late first-round pick.
The 6-2, 172-pound Montero bypassed the college ranks to play for the Overtime Elite developmental program, and is a second-round prospect.
Cities with the most NBA playoff seasons
Cities With the Most NBA Playoff Seasons
Photo Credit: Oleksii Sidorov / Shutterstock
With the 2021-22 NBA season drawing to a close this month, the league’s teams and fans are taking stock of the year and looking ahead to next season. Only one franchise can hoist the
Larry O’Brien trophy each June, but teams can have successful or unsuccessful years in other ways. This season, upstart teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors exceeded expectations on their way to playoff berths, while star-studded squads like the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers delivered disappointing campaigns.
One important measure of success for many teams is playoff appearances. Making the playoffs can be an important milestone for a young team’s development: for instance, the Phoenix Suns snapped a decade-long playoff drought last year on their way to earning the league’s best record in 2021-22. A playoff berth could also mean a return to relevance, as was the case this year for one of the league’s premier franchises, the Chicago Bulls, who made their first playoffs since 2016-17.
But in some NBA cities, playoff appearances are a baseline expectation. Boston is one of the NBA’s most storied cities, with a total of 59 playoff seasons and 17 NBA championships. While both the Lakers and the Clippers missed the playoffs this year, Los Angeles has seen a playoff berth in more than 90% of total seasons. And while Boston and Los Angeles both have long histories in the league and are destination markets, some comparatively newer NBA markets have seen sustained runs of excellence as well. San Antonio has had a playoff appearance in 84.8% of eligible seasons, while Salt Lake City has had a playoff team in 72.1% of eligible seasons.
Los Angeles and San Antonio have the highest proportion of playoff seasons
For cities longing for playoff basketball, the NBA created a new way for teams to qualify with the introduction of the play-in tournament in the 2019-20 season. Under the
current format, teams ranked 7th through 10th in each conference at the end of the regular season compete for the 7th and 8th seeds in the playoff bracket. This setup has allowed more teams a shot at earning a spot in the playoffs. In the 2021-22 season, the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans each made their first playoff appearances since 2017-18 after surviving the play-in.
Despite the creation of the play-in, some cities have been waiting years to see their local team return to the playoffs. Among the 28 metros that host NBA franchises, only Charlotte and Sacramento have failed to make the playoffs in the last five years, though Charlotte qualified for the play-in in each of the last two seasons.
Only Charlotte and Sacramento have failed to make the NBA playoffs in the last 5 years
With 16 teams making the playoffs each season and some cities having been blessed with well-run franchises or Hall of Fame players over the years, some NBA markets can look forward to playoff basketball more often than not.
To find the cities with the most NBA playoff seasons, researchers at
HotDog.com ranked U.S. and Canadian metropolitan areas according to total NBA playoff seasons. In the analysis, a playoff season was defined as a season in which a metro area was represented by at least one NBA team in the playoffs. Regular season tiebreakers and play-in tournament games were not counted as playoff games. Only locations with at least one playoff season were considered, and all NBA seasons since the NBA was founded in 1946 were included. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher percentage of playoff seasons was ranked higher. Further ties were broken according to the most recent playoff season. The data was sourced from basketball-reference.com.
Here are the cities with the most NBA playoff seasons.
15. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
Photo Credit: JKO Photos / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 28 Total seasons with an NBA team: 47 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 59.6% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2022 (Nuggets)
14. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ
Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 31 Total seasons with an NBA team: 54 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 57.4% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2022 (Suns)
13. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN
Photo Credit: Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 31 Total seasons with an NBA team: 51 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 60.8% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2020 (Pacers)
12. Salt Lake City, UT
Photo Credit: photo.ua / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 31 Total seasons with an NBA team: 43 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 72.1% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2022 (Jazz)
11. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
Photo Credit: Tomas Simkus / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 33 Total seasons with an NBA team: 51 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 64.7% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2020 (Rockets)
10. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
Photo Credit: Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 34 Total seasons with an NBA team: 66 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 51.5% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2019 (Pistons)
9. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI
Photo Credit: Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 34 Total seasons with an NBA team: 58 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 58.6% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2022 (Bucks)
8. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA
Photo Credit: ESB Professional / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 35 Total seasons with an NBA team: 54 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 64.8% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2022 (Hawks)
7. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
Photo Credit: Jon Bilous / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 37 Total seasons with an NBA team: 52 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 71.2% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2021 (Trail Blazers)
6. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
Photo Credit: f11photo / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 39 Total seasons with an NBA team: 46 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 84.8% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2019 (Spurs)
5. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
Photo Credit: marchello74 / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 40 Total seasons with an NBA team: 62 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 64.5% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2022 (Bulls)
4. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
Photo Credit: Zack Frank / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 50 Total seasons with an NBA team: 75 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 66.7% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2022 (76ers)
3. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
Photo Credit: dibrova / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 55 Total seasons with an NBA team: 76 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 72.4% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2022 (Nets)
2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
Photo Credit: Chones / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 56 Total seasons with an NBA team: 62 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 90.3% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2021 (Lakers and Clippers)
1. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
Photo Credit: ESB Professional / Shutterstock
Total NBA playoff seasons: 59 Total seasons with an NBA team: 76 Playoff seasons as a percentage of total: 77.6% Most recent NBA playoff season: 2022 (Celtics)
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