The headline for ESPN’s first 2022 mock draft last summer posed the question: Will it be Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero or someone else at No. 1? Holmgren was projected to go first overall, with Banchero right behind him at No. 2. Jabari Smith was seventh, although he moved up to fourth after the college season started in early November.
In other words, things were pretty stable at the top of this draft class for a long time — and the top three of Holmgren, Banchero and Smith, in some order, have been set in stone since very early in the college season.
Everyone has their specific preferences, but the general vibe was that this was a draft with three No. 1-caliber players, and there wasn’t much separation. And in conversations with college coaches after the draft, that sentiment continued. Some thought Banchero was the correct No. 1 pick, some thought Smith should have stayed at No. 1 as anticipated and some thought Holmgren’s uniqueness and ceiling were too much to pass up at the top.
What coaches had to say on Banchero: