2022 NBA Draft: Ten players who can increase their inventory the most during the initial draft process

The NBA Draft Combine is only days away, giving us The View the preliminary draft process where scouts, executives and decision makers will get an expanded look at this year’s class. This, my friends, is the point in the preliminary draft of the timeline where things really start to focus.

In the coming weeks, players will begin to settle into their predicted draft slots while teams, making their final ratings, narrow down on goals based on draft and forecast ranges. Next month will be a major factor in determining what this year’s class will look like and how the draft will unfold.

While some players can basically take their predictions to the bank – Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero are the top five locks, for example – others still have some ambiguity surrounding their situation and can build on their inventory. I’ve listed 10 players below who have a chance of dramatically improving their stock for NBA decision makers with the draft just over a month away.

1. Malachi Branham | Ohio State

Named the 38th player in his recruiting category a year ago, Branham is one of the few unexpected players in that category after a fantastic new season. At Ohio State, he averaged 13.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while hitting 41.6% from a 3-point range. In the second half of the season, those numbers were 17.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 43% of the 3-point range. He’s one of the most dynamic offensive wingers in this category, and after briefly declaring he was only testing the waters, he’s on his feet committed to staying in the clouds, making him one of the most interesting late risers.

2. Jaden Hardy | G League Ignite

Shooting is less than 27% from a 3-point range with G League Ignite and 35.1% from the field is acceptable Not cool, Bob, But Hardy — the team’s top scorer last season — has one identifiable skill in the NBA: scoring. Sure, he’s done it somewhat ineffectively last year, and I’m concerned there about how to translate it. However, he is able to create his own look away from the bounce and has enough pick-up and shot-making skills to get the teams interested late in the lottery. His range appears to be a little closer to 20-30 at the moment, but his talent and pedigree as a former top-five volunteer teams might be willing to consider – or even overlook – in the course of his one season gone in the G League.

3. Leonard Miller | Fort Erie International Academy

Miller is the youngest prospect in this year’s NBA Draft class and arguably one of the most physically talented too. After recently checking his eligibility to score, teams will likely give him a closer look – and they will likely like what they see. He’s a 6-foot-9 combo striker whose play and shooting mechanics show a lot, but size, frame and skill for him—which has drawn offers from Kentucky, Arizona, Alabama and others as a recruit—make him a high-potential-swing upward for late first- or second-round teams.

4. Galen Williams | Santa Clara

Sam Vecenie at The Athletic has been driving Jalen Williams’ hype train lately after making it into the top 30 earlier this month. And I must admit that after some initial skepticism…I think he’s right about him as the first potential director. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes (me!) we think of small school guys and we don’t really give them a chance, but Williams—a 6-foot-6 winger—has been hiding in plain sight. Huge goalkeeper, good playmaker, he hit 35.2% of 3 in three seasons. The kind of person without radar that is worth a look. He’s now 51st on the CBS Sports Big Board, but he has a chance to rise in the coming weeks.

5. EJ Lidl | Ohio State

EJ Liddell was one of the best players in the Big Ten last season and an improved version of an already promising prospect. After his return to the junior season, he reduced his strength and improved his outside shot and was able to develop his game from the inside out when attacking, making him one of the most attractive strikers in this year’s category. He’s only 6 feet 7 feet tall, so you wonder if there is some concern about his height, but he hits the glass as if he’s 6 feet 10 and never outshines him physically. The Top 20’s player has a clear role in the NBA and feels like he’s flying under the radar as a marginal first-round player.

6. Dyson Daniels | G League Ignite

There’s not a lot of potential for upward movement here with Daniels – I have 17th on the Big Board, which is the first to have a consensus – but it’s not crazy to think that he can cement his place in this class as a potential lottery (and possibly Top 10) in the coming weeks. Featuring a generous 6-foot-6, they’re good for rebounding, play-making chops and give overall versatility to the point guard that’s so valuable in the modern NBA.

7. TyTy Washington | Kentucky

Washington had a 27% assist rate in playing SEC as a freshman in Kentucky – the eleventh place among SEC players while playing in the league – and this despite the fact that, because Wheeler traveled, he mainly played turning off the ball. So the gaming and scrolling industry, even if we don’t see it in an expanded role, is very real and something I’m buying into for the long haul. The bet here is on that untapped potential as a head guard along with his shooting skills. Great touch from distance, good float, good passing and game making…good enough for me to consider a talent equal to the top half of the lottery. We’ll see if the NBA agrees.

8. Ryan Rollins | Toledo

Ryan Rollins was quietly one of the stars of college basketball last season and one of many potential first-round players in the 2022 tournament who blossomed as a sophomore. averaging 18.9 points per game for Toledo and 3.6 assists per game in rock rhythm, he demonstrated his abilities as one of the country’s most versatile scorers. His heavy use likely affected his efficiency – he fired 46.8% from the field and 31.1% from 3 – but a likely indicator of his long-range potential as a thrower is that he hit 80.2% from the free throw line. His touch and his ability to score from three levels, especially from rebounding, from a point guard could catch the attention of NBA teams in the coming weeks.

9. Peyton Watson | University of California

After one season in college, Watson’s stock is far from where it once was when he entered the 2021-22 season, potentially his first and potential lottery pick. He played sparingly for the Bruins, struggled to make an impact on the veteran team and appeared frequently lost when he was long run. However, Watson, still only 19, is still someone the teams look up to as a potential draft flyer. Huge defensive potential, a wingspan of 7 feet 1 (!) and incredible athleticism on top of it all. Abuse is, and will likely remain, a question, but the tools are there for him to reclaim some of what once made him such a coveted prospect a year ago.

10. Nikola Jovic Mega Mozart

A huge Serbian guy who can perform plays and has the first name Nikola? Sure, the NBA wouldn’t let him slip into the second round…right? right?

Mostly not.

Jovic, a 6-foot-10 from Mega Mozzart, is a fantastic opportunity whose passing and creation – especially for his size – make him one of the most intriguing talents in this category. He was Mozzart’s primary builder this past season, averaging 3.4 assists per game.

The teams will be really investing resources to dig into Jovic as we get closer to the draft, and given his production profile, size, and lack of it on the case side, there are a number of factors that suggest he could do well. . A clear talent from the first round.

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