The Smoking Cuban

2022 NBA Draft mock 1.0: First look at the first round

2022 NBA Draft Chet Holmgren Paolo Banchero
2022 NBA Draft Chet Holmgren Paolo Banchero / Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal via
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2022 NBA Draft, Jalen Duren
2022 NBA Draft, Jalen Duren / Michael Reaves/Getty Images

2022 NBA Draft mock #4: Oklahoma City Thunder: Jalen Duren

*Thunder owe pick to Hawks if it falls outside top 14

Duren reclassified and is set to play for the University of Memphis this season. He will be 18 years old on draft day and is one of the youngest and most talented players in this class. The 6’10 big man was the number one player in the 2022 high school graduating class before making the switch.

Duren is the running to go first overall, but he will need to have a monster season to solidify that position. The teenager has NBA-ready size and jump off the screen athletic ability that should make him a strong roll man who finishes lobs with ease. He has shown flashes of a jump shot but is still expanding his range.

NBA scouts are drooling over his defensive potential. His athletic ability allows him to defend on the perimeter, and Duren is a strong rim protector. He has all the makes of an elite NBA defender, but it will take time. Duren’s size and length make him a nightmare matchup, but continue to monitor his defensive production, especially when asked to guard on the perimeter.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the midst of a total rebuild, so this pick is staying. If they walk away with Jalen Duren, Sam Presti and the front office will be ecstatic.