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2022 NBA Draft

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The Five Riskiest Prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft

2022 NBA Draft
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The Five Riskiest Prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft

A prospect can be considered risky for several reasons: lack of experience, injury concerns, or issues in their play. Regardless, each guy listed has major red flags regarding their futures in the NBA. Here are five of the riskiest prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft.

1. Shaedon Sharpe – Kentucky

Shaedon Sharpe is without a doubt the riskiest player in the 2022 NBA draft. According to the 247 composite rankings, Sharpe was the No. 3 player in the nation coming out of high school. Despite enrolling early at Kentucky, he didn’t play a single college basketball game for the Wildcats last season. The reason for this is unclear. There are a variety of rumors, but there is no reason to speculate on unknowns. Heading into the draft, teams will have to make a decision on Sharpe based on his high school film and his pre-draft workouts.

The risk with Sharpe is clear. It is difficult to evaluate a player that has never played elite competition. There is no college, overseas, or G-league experience with Sharpe. Other players in Sharpe’s situation would not sniff the top ten, but his athleticism will make him an option for teams as early as fourth overall. Sharpe likely will not go fourth but five through eight all seem like realistic fits.

Along with experience issues, there are questions about Sharpe’s jump shot, first step, and defense. Pairing these issues with his lack of experience makes Sharpe a massive risk for any team that spends a lottery pick on him.

2. Jabari Smith – Auburn

Jabari Smith will be a really good player in the NBA. The risk with Smith is that he will likely be selected first or second overall and there is a good chance he is not a top-two player in the class. Smith will be one of the best three-point shooting forwards in the NBA. Plus, he is a good perimeter defender that can defend multiple positions. This will prevent him from being terrible.

With that being said, there are good reasons to believe that he should not be picked first overall. Smith has a lot of holes in his game. The biggest red flag is that he does not create shots for himself. He is not a great finisher or passer either. If Smith is unable to develop additional tools to pair with his shooting, he will not live up to the expectations that come with being selected first overall. That is a large risk to take when players like Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jaden Ivey are on the board.

3. AJ Griffin – Duke

AJ Griffin is another high-level recruit that has some red flags. However, the majority of Griffin’s issues are not related to his game. The cause for concern with Griffin is injuries. Griffin has faced some major lower-body injuries. In high school, Griffin dislocated his knee in January of 2020 and did not play again until the fall of 2021.

At Duke, Griffin appeared to be slightly less athletic than he did before his injury. However, Griffin was one of the best shooters in college basketball, shooting nearly 45% from 3-point range. He does have flaws in his game, but his three-ball makes him a solid lottery choice.

As long as Griffin stays healthy, he could play a role on a solid team. However, those injury concerns are large enough to get him on this list.

4. Patrick Baldwin Jr. – Milwaukee

Patrick Baldwin Jr. is the definition of a risky pick. As a five-star coming out of high school, Baldwin chose to play for his father at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Baldwin has shown both concerns with his health, athleticism, and shooting — three areas that you do not want to see issues.

Baldwin only played in 11 games at Milwaukee due to injuries. In these games, Baldwin shooting split percentages were 34.4/26.6/74.3. That is not good for someone that is billed as a forward that can be an elite offensive option.

At the combine, Baldwin had a historically bad performance. He had a standing vertical of 23.5″ and a maximum vertical of 26.5″. Needless to say, that is poor and may just be the biggest issue in his game.

If injuries are what have caused Baldwin’s recent struggles he may be able to bounce back and have a successful NBA career. With that being said, a team is going to have to take that risk.

5. Jeremy Sochan – Baylor

Jeremy Sochan comes with a higher risk than many people believe. I like Sochan as a prospect but he has issues that are not being discussed. Sochan is a terrific defender and he is versatile enough to defend all five positions. Sochan can be a tremendous role player and provide defensive effort off the bench.

The risks and issues with Sochan all come on the offensive end of the floor. Sochan will need to improve his offensive skill set if he wants a significant role on an NBA team. Sochan does not stretch the floor as he shot under 30% from behind the arc. He does not dribble well enough to create his own shot either. Sochan’s limited offensive skills make him a riskier draft choice than most people will admit.

In all fairness, the risk with Sochan will be worth it at a certain point. Adding a solid defensive piece outside of the lottery would definitely be a quality pick. However, if someone jumps on him early, they will be facing a challenge as they look to round out his game.

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