Dallas Mavericks draft target to watch in 2022 March Madness: 4. Malaki Branham
First-round game: Ohio State vs. Loyola Chicago: March 18 at 11:15 a.m. CT on CBS
Ohio State will be looking to avoid the upset on Friday afternoon as Branham gets his first taste of the NCAA Tournament. The 6’5 wing averaged 13.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 3-pointers made in 29.4 minutes per game, while shooting 49.2 percent from the field, 42.5 percent on his threes, and 82.6 percent from the foul line. Branham only improved during his freshman season and his versatile game has scouts intrigued.
The 18-year-old is draft-eligible, but he could choose to return to Ohio State for another year. A deep run in the NCAA Tournament could sway the Buckeyes guard to declare for the 2022 NBA Draft. Branham will get plenty of first-round looks for his 3-and-D potential. He is 6’5 with a reported 6’11 wingspan that has made 34 of his 80 3-point attempts this season.
Branham has upside for more too. His playmaking and defensive stats could trend up as he continues to improve. Fans saw flashes on both ends during his freshman season at Ohio State. Developing in both areas could make him a lottery pick in 2023, and Branham will have to weigh that option when making his decision.
The Dallas Mavericks will be interested in Malaki Branham if he declares for the 2022 NBA Draft, but will he last until they pick in the 20s? Keep an eye on the 6’5 wing during March Madness to see why he might not.