As the 2021-22 basketball season continues to roll on, some fans and experts alike have turned their attention ahead to the 2022 NBA Draft. After all, it’s always exciting any time new talented players join the league and the fact is that sometimes the draft is all that some fanbases have to look forward to.
While draft rankings and projections can change before next year, Bovada has released odds on who’s favored to be selected first overall. As it stands, Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero is favored to be drafted at No. 1 at -105 odds.
On paper, Banchero is already an impressive specimen. He’s a freshman, standing at 6-foot-10 and weighing 250 pounds before even turning 19 years old. He was also listed as a five-star prospect ahead of the current NCAA college basketball season, so it’s clear that people were expecting big things from him.
Well, Banchero made his highly-anticipated NCAA debut against the Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday. Duke ended up getting the 79-71 with the freshman finishing with 22 points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals in just about 31 minutes played. While he failed to connect on three 3-point attempts, he still shot .636 from the field and .889 from the free-throw line.
Banchero’s debut performance raised his 2022 NBA Draft stock, but so did the fact that LeBron James was posting about his performance on social media. It’s one thing to be endorsed by analysts and draft experts, but it’s a completely different thing when it’s from one of the top players of all time. A lot can change for Banchero as the NCAAB season continues, however, things are looking promising when it comes to his odds of being drafted first overall next year.
2022 NBA Draft Odds — Nov. 11
Odds via Bovada as of Thursday, November 11
- Paolo Banchero (-110)
- Chet Holmgren (+105)
- Jaden Hardy (+800)
- Caleb Houstan (+1000)
- Peyton Watson (+1500)
- Jabari Smith (+1800)
- Patrick Baldwin Jr. (+1800)
- AJ Griffin (+2000)
- Jaden Ivey (+2000)
- Nikola Jovic (+2200)
Holmgren Battling for First Overall Status
Another freshman who finally made his NCAA debut this week was Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren. He played 28 minutes in Gonzaga’s 97-63 win over the Dixie State Red Storm, finishing with a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double while adding six assists and an impressive seven blocks.
Now, he owns +105 odds to be selected first overall at the 2022 NBA Draft, as per Bovada.
Even if Banchero’s odds are better, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see Holmgren being taken at No. 1 in 2022. After all, some draft experts are still projecting him to be taken ahead of the field despite what oddsmakers are saying.
The truth is that Holmgren has the potential to be one of the premier big men in the NBA. He’s already 7-feet-tall and can provide spacing for any team that needs it. Not only can he also dish the ball, but he’s a decent mid-range and three-point shooter when given the opportunity. Considering that style of play has made guys like Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid indispensable, it isn’t hard to see why a team may value Holmgren over Banchero.
If Holmgren can put on some more weight and use his physical advantage to bully opposing players, he could end the season as the favorite to go No. 1 at the 2022 NBA Draft.
2022 NBA Draft Odds: Jaden Hardy
It’s a pretty big drop off on the odds list after Banchero and Holmgren. The player with the next closest odds to go first overall in 2022 is Jaden Hardy, who sits at a distant +800.
A 19-year-old guard, Hardy is one of the young prospects who’s taking the NBA G League Ignite path to a professional career. He’s played two games in the Showcase Cup so far, averaging 15.0 PTS/5.0 REB/3.5 AST on underwhelming .250/.286/1.000 shooting splits.
While there’s room for improvement, it’s important to point out that Hardy had a 24/7/2 stat line in his second game, which shows that he may have needed time to adjust to the competition. He still has a long way to go before proving that he’s deserving of first overall status. Nevertheless, the G League is a great way for him to prove his worth, just like it worked out for Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, who both played for the Ignite last season and went inside of the Top 10 at the 2021 NBA Draft.