Pippen Ain’t Easy’s 2022 NBA Mock Draft: Final two-round forecast

Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, 2022 NBA Mock Draft (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, 2022 NBA Mock Draft (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Jaden Ivey, 2022 NBA Mock Draft
Jaden Ivey, 2022 NBA Mock Draft (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

4. player. 84. . G. Sacramento Kings. Jaden Ivey

While this year’s draft could pan out in any number of ways, Jaden Ivey is seen as the last member of the “upper tier” of prospects in this year’s draft class.

His explosiveness getting to the hoops even has many hopeful fans likening Ivey to NBA greats like Russell Westbrook, Ja Morant, and Dwyane Wade. I’m not so sure those comparisons are completely warranted as those three all have other elite skills beyond their driving ability, but I definitely can some of the similarities in their games.

Ivey is also the first player on this list that isn’t a college freshman. Making the decision to return to Purdue for his sophomore season couldn’t have worked out any better in his favor. Ivey saw statistical increases all across the board but most notable of all was his points per game improving from 11.1 to 17.3, his field goal percentage increasing from 39.9% (yikes) to 46%, and his three-point percentage jumping all the way from 25.8% to 35.8%.

These improvements clearly had an impact on winning, as the Purdue Boilermakers went from a mediocre 18-10 and first-round exit in the NCAA tournament in 2021, to go on to achieve a 29-8 record and Sweet 16 appearance in 2022.

The biggest obstacle blocking Ivey’s route to the No. 4 overall selection isn’t his talent level, it’s his fit with the Sacramento Kings. It would be very odd to see the Kings trade away their promising ball-dominant combo guard away in order to prioritize DeAaron Fox as the ball handler, just to draft another ball-dominant combo guard a few months later.

There’s also always the possibility the Kings trade this pick for a veteran in an effort to snap their postseason drought. That would be a terrible idea, but the possibility is there.

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