Each year, this is one of the questions we ask ourselves at the time of the Draft: apart from the prospects announced at the top, who will be the nugget of the vintage? Who is THE player who will soon be considered a steal? The great Hexperts are legion at TrashTalk, so we wanted to get wet and give our opinions before the big ceremony. Save for a year!
Nicolas : Blake Wesley
Projected around 20th place in most mock drafts, the Notre Dame-trained guard could well turn into a 2022 NBA Draft steal. His qualities? We are talking about a dynamic player, scorer, athletic, capable of hurting in transition and who plays with contagious energy. With his 1m96 and his wingspan approaching 2m10, he also has interesting defensive potential on the backcourt and is able to cut the passing lines in half. So clearly, he will have to take a bit of a chest to succeed in making his mark in the NBA, but the potential is there and I can’t wait to see what he can bring in his first year with the big boys. A real playmaker, he is sometimes compared to Bones Hyland (and not just for the quickdraw) or even Tyler Herro.
John: Ishmael Kamagate
What could be better when you want to open it than to talk about a guy you’ve seen live play dozens of times. We had the chance this year to witness the development (the explosion) of gate in France, we are still talking about the best defender in the championship (ahead of Presnel Kimpembe, yes yes), at 21, and above all – that it’s for the potential – of an incredible freak like the NBA loves them. Be careful because he shoots like my aunt Dominique, but I swear to you that when he goes against it he jumps really higher than her. Absolutely a fan of the possible featuring between Kama and the NBA, and already in a hurry to slam the worst puns in the world all next season. Yes my gate, the Kama Sutra on a floor is coming soon.
Clement: Jaden Hardy
Jaden Hardy is the kind of walking firecracker I really like. Capable of catching fire like reurbanizing an entire city, for his career NBAon will go with the first option anyway. He who cut his teeth in the G-League, he has grown physically and has been able to taff his selection of shoots which is certainly still to be perfected. He is not expected very high but like a Chris Duarte last season, he can come out with a well-priced season off the bench. Hardy is expected to be called up by Adam Silver in the second half of the first round, and the team that picks him up could be a real bargain in terms of pure scoring. A real shooting machine not afraid of a high volume of shots, he is of the caliber of players who can rock a match with his energy and his passion. He is the potential darling of a lot of franchises, it remains to be seen who will take the plunge.
Alexandre T: Ochai Agbaji
The one and done is very nice but I have always been a fan of long courses and NBA ready players. Ochai Agbaji is typically the profile that will catch my eye in the Top 20. Profile of the 3&D par excellence, versatile defensively and able to shine without the ball (41% from afar in his last university year), the Kansas winger n will (in my opinion) not need too long an adaptation period to be useful within a team. His ceiling remains uncertain because he is already 22 years old but I believe that there is really a way to see him become a very complete player in the League in the long term. Why not a Khris Middleton profile in a few years.
Nico V: Nikola Jovic
So no, I don’t choose him because he’s the quasi-homonym of Nikola Jokic eh. Finally if, a little because it’s funny all the same. In his basketball anyway, Nikola Jovic is far from joking. Strong winger of 2.08 meters, the guy is already able to distribute the balls like a boss. Say, it’s that they know how to do it in Serbia level transmission of orange leather. Add a hefty dose of mobility, very European dribbling skills and a solid vision allowing him to take the game for himself. Offensively, the scouts have raised his appetite for finishing in the circle. You put it all in a post 4, and hello NBA damage. If the teams selecting between ten and fifteen made the effort to see him play, it could give a hell of a good potential draw. Then well, the Serbs with the zetazouni… you begin to know.
Loan : AJ Griffin
Having been a Duke fan for almost a decade now – yeah that doesn’t make me any younger – you could say the chick preaches for her parish. But I’ve seen games from him this season, and I can assure you that the kid is ready for the big league. At 18 years old, almost 2m tall and a little over 100 kilos, the boy already has the arms of a father. And with Nick Nurse’s assistant dad in Toronto, he has the game vision of a league lieutenant with twelve NBA seasons in his paws. In mentality, defensive versatility, basketball IQ, AJ is a real thirty-year-old serving the collective with a very attractive 3&D profile. Yes, 3 because next to the defensive mindset, the Blue Devil knows how to shoot high volume parking (44.7% this season). If injuries spare him in 2022-23, AJ Griffin will be able to make a difference in his rookie year in a franchise that really lacks a position 3. A Jimmy Butler in the making who can clearly be a steal if he is drafted in outside the Top 10 on Thursday.
Valentin : Jalen Duren
I think Jalen Duren will be one of the surprises of this Draft. The guy is not expected in the top 10 after having delivered a rather irregular season in the NCAA. And yet… The potential is immense! Already because he is only 18 years old, but above all because the pivot has everything he needs in store to become an elite circle protector: he is a beautiful baby (2m10, 113 kgs), a real athlete with quite exceptional physical qualities for his age and in addition, the guy has already got into the habit of distributing slaps at the University (2.1 against). You understood, we are dealing with something potentially monstrous defensively, but not only. Although he still has a long way to go to contribute regularly from an offensive point of view, his power near the circle is likely to do damage if served correctly. By working on the moves in the post and developing a small mid-range shot that is still too irregular, it can become a problem for the defenses. In short, with a monstrous defensive potential and qualities to develop in attack, we end up with a potential Robert Williams III (we saw that it could be used in the Playoffs), even an Evan Mobley if it goes well. Not necessarily enough to make your franchise player but why not an important part of a good team. There is work but the guy is young and determined, so I believe in it.