The NCAA basketball season is still in its early stages, but two college freshmen have already made their cases as the frontrunners for the 2022 NBA draft. Those players are Duke’s Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren.
The 2022 NBA Draft is scheduled for June 23, 2022.
Before we look at the players who could go first during the 2022 NBA Draft, make sure to check the best NCAA basketball betting sites and what teams are the top picks to win the 2022 NBA Championship.
Odds To Be The First Overall Pick In The 2022 NBA Draft
|Patrick Baldwin Jr.||+1800|
Banchero And Holmgren are 1 and 1A
At 6-feet-10-inches and 250 pounds, Paolo Banchero is built for the NBA. The 19-year-old Duke freshman opened his NCAA career by putting up 22 points, seven rebounds and adding two steals against Kentucky.
Really nice spin move in the post from Paolo Banchero pic.twitter.com/LaIzM1Z8Uy
— HoopsWill (@HoopsWill) November 13, 2021
Banchero is a big man who can use his size and power to dominate, but he also has the skills to play a finesse game. Banchero is a player who could fit on an NBA team right now. He’s one of the two players to watch to see what they can add to their game throughout the NCAA season.
Chet Holmgren is the other player to watch this NCAA season. At 7-feet and 190 pounds, Holmgren is not the physical presence Banchero is, but his upside as a complete player might be higher than Banchero’s.
— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) November 20, 2021
Holmgren, despite his size, moves well. He is great at handling the ball and passing and has solid defensive acumen. What NBA teams will want to see from Holmgren is how he handles a full season of play and if he can add some size to his slight frame.
Holmgren had a great game in his NCAA debut for Gonzaga. In 27 minutes of playing time, he scored 14 points and added 13 rebounds, seven blocks and six assists in the team’s win over Dixie State. The stat line made Holmgren the first player in the past 25 years with at least 10 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five blocks in a NCAA Division I debut.
For those interested in seeing how Banchero and Holmgren match up head-to-head, that game takes place on November 26 in Las Vegas.
G League Player To Watch
Jaden Hardy is the only NCAA player outside Banchero and Holmgren who is under +1000 to go first in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Hardy had offers to play for Kentucky and UCLA, but the 6-foot-4-inch 19-year-old opted to sign with the NBA G League. The G League saw two players taken in the first 10 picks of the 2021 NBA Draft with Jalen Green going at No. 2 and Jonathan Kuminga going at No. 7.
In the early draft scouting, Hardy is seen as an elite playmaker with the ability to score from anywhere on the court. In his second game in the G League, Hardy scored 24 points and had seven rebounds, four steals and two assists.
All things being what they are today, it’s hard to pick against Paolo Banchero as going first overall. With that being said, the upcoming game between Duke and Gonzaga could make a difference about how teams feel about Banchero and Holmgren. I believe Banchero is more physically ready for the NBA grind, but if Holmgren can handle his first NCAA season and add some muscle to his frame, he could close the gap between himself and Banchero as the draft approaches in June.
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