NBA Draft Best Bets: Free Expert Picks for Thursday's 2022 NBA Draft

NBA Draft Best Bets: Free Expert Picks for Thursday's 2022 NBA Draft

This article is part of our NBA Picks series.

Bennedict Mathurin to go No. 5 overall (Detroit) at +175

DraftKings Sportsbook, Wednesday 6/22 11AM CT

Nick Whalen: It's anyone's guess what the Kings will do at No. 4, but if they roll with Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray or another top prospect, I like the idea of the Pistons pouncing on Mathurin at No. 5 to complement Cade Cunningham. Mathurin is a unique mix of NBA-readiness and long-term upside.

Ousmane Dieng to go in the top 10 at +125

DraftKings Sportsbook, Wednesday 6/22 11AM CT

Nick Whalen: Dieng's name has been in the First Round mix for several months, but – as this line indicates – he's gradually gaining steam as draft night approaches. He's not going to go sixth overall, but it's starting to feel like Dieng could be this year's version of Josh Giddey. He could be in play for New Orleans at 8, San Antonio at 9 or Washington at 10.

Jeremy Sochan UNDER pick 12.5 at -170

DraftKings Sportsbook, Wednesday 6/22 11AM CT

Nick Whalen: This one may be cutting it close, but I can't help but think Sochan is exactly the kind of defender teams covet in the modern NBA. He's huge, physical and athletic, and he should be able to switch onto just about any of the league's top ball-handlers. Offensively, Sochan has a ways to go, but he's shown flashes of comfortability as a three-point shooter.

Christian Braun to be a first-round pick at -130

DraftKings Sportsbook, Wednesday 6/22 11AM CT

Nick Whalen: Braun wasn't often talked about as a first-rounder during Kansas' run to the national title, but he tested well and could easily hear his name called in the 20-to-30 range. An athletic guard with great size, Braun could fill a Pat Connaughton-like role at the next level (yes, I know they're both white guys).

Jaden Ivey to go No. 2 overall (+2300)

FanDuel, 4:15 PM CT

Alex Barutha: I want to clarify that I'm less qualified to talk about the draft than other writers (especially Nick) that we have on staff, since college basketball isn't something I engage with throughout the year. However, for those who didn't immediately click away from the article and are still reading this, Ivey is someone whose name keeps popping up over and over again as the "fourth guy in a three-man draft". I'm biased towards excellent athletes, so I went to check out his highlights and numbers in addition to listening to what other analysts had to say. The appeal of the Top 3 guys – Banchero, Holmgren and Smith – is legitimate, but when I watched Ivey, I felt like I was watching an NBA player who got plopped onto a college team. He drives right past people with blinding speed and rises over the top of entire teams to throw down dunks. The aggressiveness combined with the athleticism is reminiscent of Ja Morant, though Ivey is 6-foot-4, 200 pounds. He's also a layups-and-threes guy, with his 17.3 PPG coming from 5.0 three-point attempts per game and 5.8 free-throw attempts per game. I know there are questions about his playmaking (3.1 APG), free-throw shooting (74.4%) and defensive engagement, but Sam Presti in OKC is exactly the type of GM that has the job security to take a risk outside of the "established" top 3. Maybe it takes the Magic selecting Holmgren No. 1 for this to happen, but it's 23-to-1 for a reason.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
Nick Whalen
RotoWire's NBA Editor and host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Nick was awarded the FSWA Best Podcast -- All Sports award in 2017 and 2018. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.
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