With Kansas' national title run capped by a 72-69 win over North Carolina, the Jayhawks' Christian Braun and Ochai Agbaji helped their 2022 NBA draft stock the most after a strong showing in the men's NCAA tournament.
Ohio State point guard Malaki Branham is rising up draft boards and even got a shoutout from LeBron James after declaring for the draft last week.
The NBA draft is three months away and a lot of who goes No. 1 will depend on team need. It has been the same three players of Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero at the top, and Yahoo Sports takes a look at the best fits for each of the top three players.
(Draft order is from Tankathon as of April 4.)
1. Orlando Magic: C Chet Holmgren
Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 196 pounds | Class: Freshman | Gonzaga: 14.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 3.7 bpg
The Magic have a young, talented backcourt with Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs and R.J. Hampton, and no one wants to see the Magic draft Holmgren more than his high school teammate, Suggs. The pair have been playing together since middle school and already have an established chemistry on the court.
Although Holmgren's tournament performance drew mixed reviews around the league — 19 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks against Georgia State, and nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out against Memphis — his versatility is undeniable and will be hard to pass up for the No. 1 spot.
“His intangibles are off the chart,” one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “He’s so unique physically with all the other skills and abilities, and if you’re willing to take that home run swing, he’s totally worth it.”
Next-best landing spot: Oklahoma City Thunder
Imagine Holmgren in the frontcourt with 7-foot, 190-pound Aleksej Pokuševski.
2. Houston Rockets: F Jabari Smith
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 220 pounds | Class: Freshman | Auburn: 16.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Despite his 3-for-16 performance in a loss to Miami, Smith has the most upside of any player in this draft class, and his game translates well to the next level. He has great spacing on the court and is very versatile on offense, leading the SEC in 3-point shooting percentage at 42%.
The Rockets are in rebuild mode and will be targeting a forward or center at the top of the draft, after drafting guards Jalen Green and Josh Christopher last year. Houston loves to run in transition, and Smith has the athleticism to beat players to the block or step in threes in the open court. The Rockets are shooting only 35% from 3-point range, ranking 20th overall in the NBA.
Next-best landing spot: Detroit Pistons
The pick-and-roll option with Cade Cunningham and Smith would be difficult to defend.
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 250 pounds | Class: Freshman | Duke: 17.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.2 apg
Banchero was the best player on the court at times during the NCAA tournament and averaged 19 points and seven rebounds in his last five games. Banchero is comfortable with the ball in his hands and has a grab-and-go style of play. Cade Cunningham is a phenomenal passer and playmaker for his teammates, and Banchero ranks in the 88th percentile, averaging 1.4 points per possession, when cutting off the ball, according to Synergy Sports.
Banchero was the driving force for Duke's Final Four run, knocking down shots, throwing lobs and no-look passes in transition, and defending the perimeter well. He's one of the best at creating separation in his shot and blends his passing and shot selection nicely. At times defensively, he was beat on the block for position and doesn't have the lateral quickness to keep players in front of him when they get downhill.
Next-best landing spot: Portland Trail Blazers
Banchero brings much-needed size in the lane and is a secondary option as a ball-handler.
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 195 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Purdue: 17.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.1 apg
5. Indiana Pacers: F Keegan Murray
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 215 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Iowa: 23.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 215 pounds | Class: Freshman | Kentucky: Did not play this season
7. Sacramento Kings: C Jalen Duren
Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 250 pounds | Class: Freshman | Memphis: 12 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 210 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Arizona: 17.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.5 apg
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 194 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Wisconsin: 19.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.1 apg
10. Washington Wizards: G Malaki Branham
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 180 pounds | Class: Freshman | Ohio State: 13.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 215 pounds | Class: Senior | Kansas: 18.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg
12. New York Knicks: F Jeremy Sochan
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 230 pounds | Class: Freshman | Baylor: 9.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg
13. Houston Rockets: G TyTy Washington
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 197 pounds | Class: Freshman | Kentucky: 12.5 ppg, 3.9 apg
14. Charlotte Hornets: F A.J. Griffin
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 222 pounds | Class: Freshman | Duke: 10.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 242 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Duke: 10.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3 bpg
16. Atlanta Hawks: F Tari Eason
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 216 pounds | Class: Sophomore | LSU: 16.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg
17. Indiana Pacers: G Dyson Daniels
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 200 pounds | Australia | G League Ignite: 11.3 ppg, 4.4 apg
18. Minnesota Timberwolves: G Jaden Hardy
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 198 pounds | G League Ignite: 17.7 ppg, 3.2 apg
19. Chicago Bulls: F E.J. Liddell
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 240 pounds | Class: Junior | Ohio State: 19.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.5 apg
20. San Antonio Spurs: F MarJon Beauchamp
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 175 pounds | G League Ignite: 15.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.3 apg
21. Memphis Grizzlies: G Blake Wesley
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 185 pounds | Class: Freshman | Notre Dame: 14.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.4 apg
22. Denver Nuggets: F Kendall Brown
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 205 pounds | Class: Freshman | Baylor: 9.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 220 pounds | Class: Freshman | Milwaukee: 12.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg
24. Brooklyn Nets: G Wendell Moore Jr.
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 213 pounds | Class: Junior | Duke: 13.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.4 apg
25. Dallas Mavericks: G Kennedy Chandler
Ht./Wt.: 6-0, 171 pounds | Class: Freshman | Tennessee: 13.3 ppg, 4.9 apg
26. San Antonio Spurs: F Nikola Jovic
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 205 pounds | Serbia | Mega Basket: 10.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 218 pounds | Class: Junior | Kansas: 14.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg
28. Miami Heat: G Jean Montero
Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 172 pounds | Overtime Elite: 17.4 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 8 apg
29. Memphis Grizzlies: G Caleb Love
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 195 pounds | Class: Sophomore | North Carolina: 15.9 ppg, 3.6 apg
Ht./Wt.: 7-1, 230 pounds | Class: Junior | Arizona: 12.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg