10 intriguing prospects to watch

After many months of mock drafts and big boards, the NBA Draft is at last imminent. Speculation will meet its match Thursday night inside the Barclays Center, when 60 prospects will hear their name called and usher their NBA dream one step closer to reality.

Here are ten prospects to keep an eye on as the draft unfolds:

Chet Holmgren

There may not be a more fascinating player in this year’s draft than Holmgren. The spindly 7-footer boasts a polarizing skill set. Holmgren is a menacing shot-blocker — he averaged 3.7 blocks per game at Gonzaga last season — and shoots 39% from distance. At the same time, his 190-pound frame has raised concerns about his ability to handle the NBA’s grueling demands, causing some to question his NBA future.

Holmgren, 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, should hear his name called early Thursday evening.
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Jaden Ivey

Ivey returned to Purdue for his sophomore season and became one of the best players in the country, improving in nearly every statistical category. The 6-foot-4 guard possesses an uncanny ability to get to the basket and explosive ball-handling capabilities, a combination that should make him a hot commodity come Thursday night. 

Shaedon Sharpe

Sharpe is arguably this draft’s biggest mystery. The consensus top high school prospect in the Class of 2022, Sharpe enrolled early at Kentucky in January only to never actually play a game for the Wildcats. But he impressed at his Pro Day and the NBA Combine, reaffirming his potential as a silky 6-foot-6 shooting guard. 

After not appearing in a game at Kentucky, Shaedon Sharpe's draft stock is considered a mystery.
After not appearing in a game at Kentucky, Shaedon Sharpe’s draft stock is considered a mystery.
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Bennedict Mathurin

Mathurin established himself as the centerpiece for top-seeded Arizona last season. The reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year relies on freakish athleticism and a solid jump shot. At 6-foot-6, Mathurin seems to be one of the most NBA-ready 3-and-D prospects in the draft. 

Dyson Daniels

Daniels may not be the household name that some of his peers are, but the 6-foot-8 wing is an intriguing prospect in his own right. Daniels, an Australian native, spent last season playing for the G-League Ignite; there, he made his mark as an elite defender and deft passer. While his outside shooting leaves much to be desired, Daniels’ overall skill set merits an early selection. 

Jalen Duren

A prototypical old-school center, Duren won’t be the top-five pick he may have been in the NBA of yesteryear. But the 6-foot-10, 250-pound big man can still be a high-impact player thanks to his athleticism and elite rim-protecting abilities, traits he displayed during his freshman season at Memphis. 

Johnny Davis

Following a pedestrian freshman campaign, Davis transformed into one of the nation’s top scorers this past season, averaging 19.7 points per game for the Big Ten-best Badgers. Skilled and sound, the 20-year-old wing should be an immediate contributor wherever he lands. 

Davis averaged 19.7 points per game at Wisconsin during his sophomore season.
Davis averaged 19.7 points per game at Wisconsin during his sophomore season.
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Jalen Williams

No player boosted his stock at the Combine quite like Williams, whose fantastic measurements included a 7-foot-2.25 wingspan. The Santa Clara product averaged 18 points per game last season while rediscovering his 3-point stroke, ascending from lightly recruited high school prospect to potential NBA lottery pick. 

A.J. Griffin

The White Plains native touts a tantalizing skill set, but a checkered injury history and an up-and-down freshman season at Duke have combined to dampen his draft stock. Still, the 6-foot-6 Griffin, just 18 years old, is a silky shooter with a lanky frame, two requisites for a wing player in today’s NBA. 

Despite an up-and-down freshman season at Duke, Griffin is projected to be an early lottery pick.
Despite an up-and-down freshman season at Duke, Griffin is projected to be an early lottery pick.
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Jeremy Sochan

Sochan’s statistics may not catch the eye — he averaged just 9.2 points per game last season as a freshman, coming off the bench at Baylor. But teams will covet the 6-foot-9 forward because of his defense: Sochan is gifted and versatile, capable of switching one-through-five. And in today’s NBA, that skill is nearing necessity.