NBA Draft 2022: Top 10 Best Forward Prospects

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NBA Draft 2022 - Top 10 Best Forward Prospects

The 2022 NBA Draft is airing live on Thursday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET; here is our list of the NBA Draft 2022 top 10 best forward prospects. This draft will be televised on ABC and ESPN. For streaming, YouTube TV, fuboTV and DirecTV Stream offer free trials. This year’s annual draft is the 76th edition.

The event is taking place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Anyway, our NBA Draft 2022 experts at Basketball Insiders have researched the top 10 best forward prospects. Top prospects include Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith Jr.

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10.) Wendell Moore Jr. | Duke — Top 10 Best Forward Prospects

Wendell Moore Jr. is 6’5″ and weighs 216 lbs. In his 2021-22 junior season at Duke, Moore Jr. averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in 39 games played. Plus, he averaged 50% shooting from the field. And he ranked fourth in the ACC for assists, averaging 4.4 per game.

Along with earning a 2022 All-ACC Tournament first-team selection, he was named to the 2021-22 All-ACC second-team, 2021-22 ACC All-Defense and won the Julius Erving Award. In Duke’s 113-101 loss to Wake Forest on Feb. 25, Moore Jr. scored a career-high 25 points.

On Nov. 12, 2021, he became only the fifth player in Blue Devils history to finish a game with a triple-double. In Duke’s 82-56 victory over Army, Moore Jr. amassed 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

9.) Patrick Baldwin Jr. | Milwaukee

According to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index (RSCI) top 100 list in 2021, Patrick Baldwin Jr. ranked fifth overall. He is 6’9″ and weighs 220 lbs. His nickname is PBJ. In his freshman debut with Milwaukee, he recorded 21 points and 10 rebounds in his team’s 75-60 win versus North Dakota.

Although he was a consensus five-star recruit in high school, Baldwin Jr. was unable to remain on the court in his freshman year of college due to injuries.

In 11 games played with Milwaukee, the forward averaged 12.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. This player had a lot of bad luck in his first year in the NCAA. So, a number of NBA teams will likely skip over this Green Bay native in favor of more proven prospects.

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8.) Jake LaRavia | Wake Forest

Next, Jake LaRavia is 6’9″ and weighs 228 lbs. He played two seasons at Indiana State and one season at Wake Forest. In his junior year, LaRavia averaged 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in 33 games played with Wake Forest. Not to mention, he shot 55.9% from the field and 38.4% from downtown. He had the third-highest field goal percentage in the ACC last season.

To add to the statistics above, LaRavia finished his junior season with a total of 55 steals, averaging 1.7 per game and ranking sixth in the ACC. In 2022, the forward was selected second-team All-ACC. On Jan. 22, in Wake Forest’s 98-76 win over North Carolina, he ended his outing with a career-high 31 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. LaRavia turns 21 in November.

7.) Tari Eason | LSU — Top 10 Best Forward Prospects

Additionally, Tari Eason is 6’8″ and weighs 215 lbs. For his freshman season, he played for Cincinatti. Then, he transferred to LSU for his sophomore season. In a total of 33 games played with LSU, Eason averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and one assist per game. The forward finished fifth in the SEC for steals in 2022, averaging 6.6 per game.

Regarding true shooting percentage (52%), the forward placed fourth on the SEC list as well. This past season, he was selected first-team All-SEC and won SEC Sixth Man of the Year. Other content related to “NBA Draft 2022: Top 10 Best Forward Prospects” can be read on the main page.

6.) Jeremy Sochan | Baylor

Furthermore, Jeremy Sochan is 6’9″ and weighs 230 lbs. He was born in Guymon, Oklahoma. In his freshman season at Baylor, he averaged 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in 30 games played. He finished last season shooting 47.4% from the field. Sochan is a great defensive player.

Last season, the 19-year-old had the fourth-highest defensive rating (89.8) in the Big 12. Also, he was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team and won Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year. He has a 7′ wingspan, and the one team that is most interested in drafting Sochan is the Spurs.

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5.) AJ Griffin | Duke

Moreover, AJ Griffin is 6’6″ and weighs 222 lbs. On the RSCI top 100 list for 2021, Griffin ranked 18th overall. In his 2021-22 freshman season at Duke, he averaged 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and one assist per game in 39 games played. Griffin led the ACC in true shooting percentage (63%) in the 2021-22 season.

Not only was the forward one of the most accurate freshman shooters in the NCAA last season, he’s an excellent ball handler. His turnover percentage in his one season at Duke was 7.2. Griffin’s outstanding performances led to him being named 2021-22 ACC All-Freshman.

4.) Ousmane Dieng | National Basketball League (NBL)

Besides comparing American-born forwards, Ousmane Dieng was born in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, France. He is 6’10” and weighs 216 lbs. The 19-year-old played professional basketball in France for the Centre Federal de Basket-ball (CFBB) in the Nationale Masculine 1. Then, he played for the New Zealand Breakers in the NBL, a professional men’s basketball league in Australia and New Zealand.

With the Breakers in the NBL, he averaged 8.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game in 23 games played last season. Needless to say, the young Frenchman already has enough experience playing basketball at the international level. He’s prepared to play either forward or center for any NBA team. He excels at protecting the rim.

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3.) Keegan Murray | Iowa — Top 10 Best Forward Prospects

Next, Keegan Murray is 6’8″ and weighs 215 lbs. His hometown is Ceder Rapids, Iowa. In 35 games played with Iowa in his 2021-22 sophomore season, Murray averaged 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. The 21-year-old led the Big Ten in scoring last season, and he finished second in total rebounds (303). Plus, Murray had the third-highest true shooting percentage in his conference (63%).

More importantly, his offensive rating last season in the NCAA was 134.6, ranking third overall. He led the Big Ten in this metric, too. As a result of his top-notch performances, Murray was named consensus first-team All-American, selected first-team All-Big Ten and won the Karl Malone Award. According to BetOnline oddsmakers, Murray has the best odds (+100) of getting drafted at No. 5.

2.) Paolo Banchero | Duke

Moving on to another star forward, Paolo Banchero is 6’10” and weighs 250 lbs. Entering the NBA, he is the right size at his position. Some NBA analysts are comparing him to Anthony Davis. In 2021, Banchero ranked second on the RSCI top 100 list. In his freshman year at Duke, the 19-year-old averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in a total of 39 games played.

It should go without saying that Banchero led the ACC in total points (671). He also ranked second in total rebounds (304). The forward was selected consensus second-team All-American, named first-team All-ACC and won ACC Rookie of the Year. Banchero has the best odds (-550) of being drafted third overall behind Jabari Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren.

RELATED: NBA Draft 2022: Big Board, Top Prospects and No. 1 Pick 

1.) Jabari Smith Jr. | Auburn

Lastly, Jabari Smith Jr. is 6’10” and weighs 220 lbs. On the RSCI top 100 list of 2021, he ranked fourth overall. In his freshman season at Auburn, Smith averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and two assists per game in 34 games played. The forward ranked third in the SEC for defensive rebounds (220). With a rating of 25.1, he also finished fifth for Player Efficiently Rating (PER).

In Auburn’s 94-80 win over Vanderbilt on Feb. 16, Smith recorded a career-high 31 points. In 2022, he received multiple selections: consensus second-team All-American, SEC All-Freshman Team, first-team All-SEC and NABC Freshman of the Year. And he won the Wayman Tisdale Award.

His father played professional basketball in the NBA for four seasons. As the top prospect in this year’s 2022 NBA Draft, Smith Jr. has the highest odds (-200) of earning the first overall selection. To read other articles similar to “NBA Draft 2022: Top 10 Best Forward Prospects,” go to the main page.

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