The 2022 NBA Draft had a consensus top-three develop as the pre-draft process moved along. While the order did surprise some people, as Paolo Banchero out of Duke ended up going No. 1 overall, the top three picks were pegged accurately.
At No. 2, the Oklahoma City Thunder selected Chet Holmgren out of Gonzaga and with the third overall pick, the Houston Rockets landed Jabari Smith Jr. out of Auburn. However, those three are far from the only rookies that will have an impact early on with their teams.
Over at ESPN, a panel of 15 coaches, scouts and executives were put together for a survey answering numerous questions from this offseason and about the season ahead. One of the things that they were asked was who would be the best rookie from this draft class in five years.
Unsurprisingly, the first two picks in the draft, Banchero and Holmgren, led the way. Each of them received six votes and some explanations were provided. When it came to Banchero, his size stood out as he is ready for the rigors of the NBA.
“I don’t think it will be empty minutes,” a West scout said of Banchero’s first season in Orlando. “He will be able to play the role this year that in five years he will be playing, because his body is developed enough. He’s what people are looking for: length, size, athleticism.
“So, when you bring all that together, he’s most transferable from now to five years.”
Holmgren’s ability to make an impact on both ends of the court, something Banchero still has some concerns about, was part of the reason that he was selected. However, the biggest knock against Holmgren was his size and ability to stay healthy.
That has unfortunately already come true as he will miss the entire 2022-23 season because of a Lisfranc injury to his foot. But, this survey was about where the players would be in five years, not five months, and Holmgren still possesses a ton of potential.
“He can shoot, he can pass, he plays both ends, he’s a dedicated worker, he’s freakishly long,” an East scout said. “He’s going to have ample opportunities to shine.”
Rounding out the voting in this category was Jaden Ivey out of Purdue and Keegan Murray out of Iowa. Ivey, who was selected No. 5 overall by the Detroit Pistons, received two votes. Murray, who went one pick ahead at No. 4, received one vote.
Ivey had made some noise leading up to the draft about potentially being a sleeper pick at No. 2 to the Thunder but ended up falling to No. 5 into the laps of the Pistons. They now have a dynamic backcourt duo with Ivey joining Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick from the 2021 NBA Draft.
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