The 2022 NBA Draft is set to take place Thursday, June 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET from Barclays Center. The Orlando Magic will begin the draft with the No. 1 overall pick, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons to round out the top five.
The nature of the draft makes it an unpredictable event, and prospects tend to get labeled with expectations based on where they are drafted. Here are five 2022 prospects we feel will outperform their draft slot and NBA projections.
NBA Draft 2022 top sleeper prospects
Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee) - 13.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.7 apg, 46.4 FG%, 38.3 3P%, 60.6 FT%
Chandler is projected to go late in the first round but he has the potential to be a key contributor right away. He’s got tons of upside and already shoots the ball extremely efficiently. His size is a concern but Chandler has the speed and shot-making ability to develop into a starting point guard in the league.
E.J. Liddell (Ohio State) - 19.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.5 apg, 49 FG%, 37.4 3P%, 76.5 FT%
The most likable quality in Liddell is the desire to get better. He did that when he returned to school last season and is now poised to go just outside the lottery. He has the potential to be a starting combo forward who can also distribute the ball a bit while also playing solid defense.
Jaden Hardy (G-League Ignite) - 21.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.9 apg, 39.6 FG%, 32.9 3P%, 69.2 FT%
The inefficiency is going to scare people, but Hardy could be this year’s Jalen Green. He’s likely not going to be tasked with leading an offense given his projected draft slot, which allows him to hone in on other skills while improving his overall percentages. He’s got plenty of upside as well given his age and experience with the G-League.
Walker Kessler (Auburn) - 11.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.6 bpg, 60.8 FG%, 20 3P%, 59.6 FT%
Traditional centers get a bad label now, largely because they don’t fit how the game is being played. Kessler has shown enough to suggest he can eventually add those elements to his game while still being a dominant force in the interior. His shot-blocking ability is second to none, which makes Kessler valuable from the jump. He is expected to go late in the first round, and he should easily surpass that draft position within a few seasons.
Trevion Williams (Purdue) - 12.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.0 apg, 54.7 FG%, 35.7 3P%, 59.7 FT%
Williams is likely a second-round prospect and could even go undrafted. He’s great on the boards and can facilitate well for his position, but his shooting splits leave a lot to be desired given how the game is played today. If the three-point shot is real, Williams will be able to latch on in any rotation. Look for him to be one of the gems of the second round from this year’s class.