NBA mock draft 2022 projections for Duke basketball players
BROOKLYN — There have never been five Duke basketball players selected in the NBA draft in the same year.
That seems to change on Thursday night at Barclays Center.
Coming out of a Final Four race in Mike Krzyzewski’s final season as a coach, the Blue Devils could have up to three – freshmen Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin and second Mark Williams – taken as lottery picks and Wendell Moore and Trevor Keels drafted late in the first to start of the second round.
The fifth eight players will be selected in the 2022 NBA Draft, and nearly 10% could come from a program.
“Any time you have the opportunity to have five guys, I’ve played with four (who got drafted), you want them to break that record,” assistant coach Chris Carrawell said. “It would be good for us and, you know, everyone can see that. When I go to a rookie’s house, I can say, I coached this guy, and you know, that helps.”
F Paolo Banchero
High simulated draft: Round 1 (#1 overall) at Orlando Magic
Low simulated draft: Round 1 (No. 3 overall) at the Houston Rockets
The buzz: Wherever Banchero lands, the 19-year-old Seattle native won’t be sitting in the green room for long. The 6-foot-10, 235-pound Banchero is as ready for the NBA as any draft player and will be shortlisted for NBA Rookie of the Year next season. He was the anchor during Duke’s run to the Final Four, averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists while earning ACC Freshman of the Year honors. Once considered the No. 1 overall pick by consensus, Banchero has slipped behind Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren in numerous mock drafts.
F AJ Griffin
High simulated draft: Round 1 (#8 overall) at Los Angeles Lakers
Low simulated draft: Round 1 (#11 overall) at New York Knicks
The buzz: Griffin started his first season as a highly touted prospect, but with many question marks due to a previous two years of injuries that had mostly kept him out of basketball. He became Duke’s best shooter — hitting 45% on 3 — and became a proven shot-maker with his 6-6 size and 220-pound frame. There are still concerns about his defensive ability and the possibilities of old injuries slowing him down. He’s still a work in progress, but he has as much potential as any other player in the draft.
C Mark Williams
High simulated draft: Round 1 (#9 overall) at San Antonio Spurs
Low simulated draft: Round 1 (#23 overall) vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The buzz: Williams is an absurd physical specimen, standing 7-2 with a 9-9 reach and 7-7 wingspan, making him one of the best rim protectors in the draft. He averaged three blocked shots per game in his sophomore season and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Williams was a reliable goalscorer for the Blue Devils, shooting 72% from the field, almost all from close range. With less value on the central position in the NBA, Williams has the option of landing a lottery pick, but it would be shocking to see him unselected in the first round.
F Wendell Moore
High simulated draft: Round 1 (No. 26 overall) at Dallas Mavericks
Low simulated draft: Round 2 (#37 overall) at Sacramento Kings
The buzz: Moore did a lot to improve his draft stock during his junior season at Duke, where he averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. He developed his outside shot, making 41.3% of his 3-point attempts compared to 21.1% as a freshman and 30.1% as a sophomore. He showed off his vertical leap at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and displayed intriguing growth with his defense and passing ability. The 6-foot-5, 217-pound forward could be Duke’s fourth player selected in the first round.
G Trevor Bowling
High simulated draft: Round 2 (No. 31 overall) at Indiana Pacers
Low simulated draft: Round 2 (#36 overall) at Portland Trailblazers
The buzz: Keels was Duke’s final hurdle when it came to the NBA Draft, waiting until the final day to decide whether to return to Durham for his sophomore season. The reservation about his future may come from a top-down performance at the combine where many scouts and evaluators suggested another year of college basketball would be in his best interest. Keels showed flashes of brilliance at Duke, including a 25-point, 10-of-18 shooting performance against Kentucky in a high-profile season opener. Keels, however, exceeded 20 points only twice in the remaining 34 games and missed three games with a leg or calf injury. But with his potential as an NBA starter (eventually), he’s still expected to be a high pick in the second round.
David Thompson is an award-winning USA Today Network reporter covering NC State and Duke athletics. He can be reached at email@example.com, 828-231-1747 or on Twitter at @daveth89.