Basketball players

The 3 best basketball players in the 2022 draft

The Draft — the NBA’s next biggest event after the Finals — took place on June 23 in Brooklyn.

The rookie class of 2022 is strong, possibly the strongest in several years: a few guys with obvious superstar potential, a few with star potential and a few with elite role player potential .

Even though this year’s draft was quite unpredictable, more than six months ago there was a definite consensus among scouts and observers on the top three players – they are considered Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banquero – 3 very unfriendly players playing in the same position (heavy forward – tall). Their position in the big charts and fake drafts changed over time, but they always stayed in the top 3.

When the order of the selection teams became known, more or less, all draft analysts lined up this trio: Smith goes first to Orlando, Chet to Oklahoma and Paolo to Houston. The paradox is that despite such a clear distribution in all simulation projects, no one can say for sure which of the attacking trio is the best prospect and which is the worst. All observers have their preferences, but everyone understands that any player can be the best in the top 3. essayists have researched these basketball players to understand the potential of these basketball players.

Jabari Smith

A dimension attacker with a sniping and versatile defense

Nobody talked much about Smith, unlike Holmgren or Banquero, until a year ago, but the guy worked hard through the season and quickly rose to the top of the draft. He now has the best chance of leaving under the No. 1 pick.

Jabari is often compared to Rasheed Wallace, one of the best heavy hitters in history. A more modern comparison is Michael Porter, with a defense and no back problems.

Smith’s game has no major flaws but has pronounced elite-level skills – primarily shooting and defence. Jabari has amassed 44% from beyond the arc throughout the season on a large sample, throwing from receiving and driving. Because he combines size, jumping ability and technique, it’s extremely difficult for defenders to make it difficult for him to shoot, which means if he wants to shoot, he will, and in that respect he’s a lot like Durant or Porter.

I wouldn’t say Smith can be considered a terrific defender yet, but the potential is cosmic. The dude combines height (he’s 6’10”), a powerful frame, mobility in his legs, active hands, diligence and energy – this set allows him to play against players at any Which is why his size and versatility, the things the league values ​​the most right now, make him one of the most promising young guards in the NBA.

Some might wonder, “So he’s just an elite 3&D player?”

Not really – Jabari can play with the ball in his hands, has the passing game and can create his shot, but he’s still quite limited in that role – which is seen as his main weakness. Nobody understands how good he can be as a first star with the ball in his hands, but what matters:

It’s going to be a classy second option anyway. There are no red flags in his game – no gameplay elements he couldn’t do at all or would be terribly bad at – he’s just playing more of a shooter role for now.

Chet Holmgren

Seven feet, an elite rim protector with quick feet in defense and manual skills in attack

Chet is a unicorn, which makes him unique and at the same time intimidating in his uncertainty.

He’s a huge, skinny kid who looks like the size of Kevin Durant but has played big his entire career. His attacking arsenal is huge: he shoots 41% from three, can carry the ball, assist, plays the ball well and is elite in the paint – almost 80%.

He can close the paint in his own half, but he can also go to the perimeter, which is why many have dubbed him the tricked-out version of Gobert in defense. In my opinion, he hasn’t won that title yet, but it’s a good reflection of his skills as a defender – he’s a combination of a classic and modern, versatile big man who can get on the perimeter and To keep. The closest comparison for me in this regard is Evan Mobley.

Hence all the ensuing questions: how is he going to play a full-fledged big, chop on the rebounds, push against Embiid, and all that? The questions make sense, but Chet’s weight issue is slightly exaggerated. First of all, he shouldn’t be playing in the center in his first season – the example of Mobley, who was four next to Allen last season, perfectly reflects the way of signing such players at the start of their career. career before they gain mass. and experience. Second, Holmgren is a lot stronger than he looks. Visually, it looks like he should be able to bounce back from any contact with the paint, but he isn’t – Chet is always defending himself and using his long arms and nimble legs to his advantage, and he’s a fighter.

The more serious question is how long his career will last, because Holmgren is still a thin semi-fighter with long, thin legs, and those guys get hurt a lot. Chet hasn’t had any serious problems so far in his career in this regard, but it’s hard to be sure about his future.

Paolo Banquero

A power forward with first-star potential

While Smith and Holmgren played more off the ball in college, Paolo at Duke was a typical alpha, leading the team’s offense.

Over the year, Banquero underwent a positional transformation from a power forward to a more typical third man, both in play and size (he lost a noticeable amount of weight). So while comparisons to Julius Randle used to stand, Paolo is now heading somewhere in the direction of versatile point forward Jason Tatum, and that makes him a notable prospect.

Banquero grew up playing the playmaker, hence his ball handling skills – he sees the pitch well, moves the team’s attack and can create for himself and his partners.

He’s shooting from both running and receiving, and he’s pretty confident, but he’s still not very stable, just 32% from beyond the arc.

A big bonus to his arsenal is his post-game skills. He’s adept at finding his moments for easy throws from the paint, thanks to clear footwork, skill and a powerful body.

It paints a picture of an almost perfect player, but it’s not quite true.

I would say Paolo’s main problem offensively is his lack of elite athleticism. His speed, jumps and mobility are good enough, but not too much. Some might think that statement doesn’t deserve attention when the guy has so much talent, but I think it’s a very important factor for a forward with first-star potential. Think of any forward, from LeBron to Tatum. They are all distinguished by prohibitive athleticism. If you don’t have that, you risk becoming something like Julius Randle.

I’m not saying that in Banquero’s case, his physique is some sort of verdict. It can improve over the years. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll still have a chance of being a great first option. But comparisons to LeBron and the “most promising young forward in the league” are premature.

Another more pronounced flaw in Paolo’s game is his defense. He lacks the size to play big and the footwork to make easy exchanges around the perimeter. And at the same time, he in no way tries to compensate for this with his efforts. In that regard, Banquero is a typical first-team college star who can rest easy on his half, awaiting the transition of possession.

This led to a situation where Paolo, the only top 3 player in the draft with pronounced first-option potential, ranks No. 3 in nearly every simulation, losing the competition to Smith and Holmgren.