The 2022 NBA Draft is almost upon us, and I can’t wait for it to be over so I can just know who’s gonna be on the court for the Detroit Pistons in the Las Vegas Summer League. The draft isn’t here YET, though, which leaves us with many a rumor and many a mock draft to consume. After inhaling all the Large Media Draft Content I can stomach, I’ve got five predictions out of left-field for Thursday’s NBA Draft.
1. With the 4th Pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select…
Jaden Ivey, guard, from Purdue University.
On one hand, the Sacramento Kings don’t want to make this pick. Jaden Ivey is the consensus guy at 4, but the Kings believe in De’Aaron Fox SO HARD that they have, in the span of half a decade, not taken Luka Doncic and traded away Tyrese Haliburton. Sacramento wants to win starting yesterday, and rookies aren’t the way to do that. They want to trade this pick BAD.
On the other hand, Jaden Ivey does NOT want to be a Sacramento King:
Ivey hasn’t worked out for Sacramento, gave the verbal equivalent of a dismissive wave when asked about Sacramento, and his agency is doing everything but sending up a rescue flare to prevent him from heading there.
Who IS Jaden Ivey’s agency? Creative Artists Agency, or CAA. Specifically, Ivey is represented by Aaron Mintz, who you may remember from the “Extend Luke Kennard?” saga and the “Steering Tyrese Haliburton away from Detroit” tale. You think Mintz wants his high-profile guard client in Sacramento after the LAST high-profile guard client he had in Sacramento just got traded? No no no.
Which NBA team is basically a shell company for CAA, with former agents littered up and down the payroll and clients on the roster? That’s right, the New York Knicks. The Knicks have been linked to Aaron Mintz clients Jalen Brunson and Jaden Ivey, and Ty Sullivan clients Donovan Mitchell and Malcolm Brogdon.
For once, the Knicks have a not-egregiously bad cap sheet and own all of their own future draft picks (and are getting some future ones – thanks Kristaps!). Putting the puzzle pieces together, I think the Knicks bite the bullet, trade 11 + a future first + a future good second + Evan Fournier for 4, Mo Harkless, Alex Len, and (CAA client) Richaun Holmes. Ivey gets to be the Wrong Initiator in New York, CAA gets to steer a prized draft client to a huge market, Sacramento gets to fight for the 9th spot, everyone wins!
2. John Collins will be a Trail Blazer, but not for the 7th pick
John Collins’ name has been bandied about lately as a guy who is DEFINITELY moving on draft night. Injuries and iffy chemistry with Trae Young have marred Collins’ career. Atlanta is restructuring their underperforming roster, but Collins has still been productive enough and young enough for you to squint and see more There there.
(As an aside, I don’t know how you let the dude who overpaid everyone after the lucky Conference Finals run trade the dudes he just signed. Not-great process over there.)
Portland, of course, is also trying to bounce back in the Western Conference, with shadow GM Damian Lillard wanting to trade for any bouncy guy taller than 6’8 he’s ever had an on-court conversation with. Collins is not Portland’s first target (OG Anunoby is), but he is their most gettable one, and you can easily construct a trade around Eric Bledsoe and future draft capital that lands Collins in Portland.
The 7th pick, though? That’s reserved for Anunoby or drum roll DeAndre Ayton.
3. The Hornets don’t take Mark Williams OR Jalen Duren
Every single mock draft on the planet has the Hornets taking one of those two players at 13 or 15. That’s understandable; the Mason Plumlee trade didn’t really work out for them, drafting Nick Richards and Kai Jones hasn’t worked out (YET. I BELIEVE, KAI), and after Montrezl Harrell was traded there, he was … exactly who he’s always been. A lack of consistent minutes from their bigs forced Charlotte into playing lineups where, like, Kelly Oubre Jr. was the nominal center.
That needs to get fixed this offseason. However, with no coach (not blaming them for that one) and a seeming directive to Get Better Real Quick, I think the Hornets go in a different direction to solidify their center rotation and alleviate some of their defensive concerns; Myles Turner.
Yup, after flirting with trading Turner for something like two and a half seasons, Indiana will finally say goodbye to Myles Turner… but only after Charlotte compensates them handsomely.
4. Jerami Grant is headed home on Draft Day
I’m calling it now: Jerami Grant to the Washington Wizards for a package based around the 10th pick and friend of the program Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
You can pitch me on a Bradley Beal – Kristaps Porzingis – Jerami Grant – Kyle Kuzma rotation making waves in a top-heavy Eastern Conference; surrounding Beal with height and length sounds like a good way to make his transition to point guard / primary ballhandler easier. The Wizards need backcourt help, but there aren’t any instant-impact guards available at 10 in this year’s draft; Detroit should be more than accommodating and throw in a Cory Joseph or Frank Jackson to make the trade happen, as well.
There were rumblings of a Grant-to-Washington trade earlier this year; I think Troy Weaver wants to get a good deal for his guy AND do right by him, and Washington is a landing spot that enables Weaver to do just that.
5. Sam Presti ends the night with more picks than he started it with
This isn’t a hot take, this is just one of those things that’s gonna happen.