2022 NBA Mock Draft: Top three picks look certain

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Auburn forward Jabari Smith reacts after hitting a three-pointer against rival Alabama in an SEC game in February. Smith is expected to be the first player to enter the NBA Draft on Thursday. (Butch Dill/UK Time News)

The prevailing idea among NBA scouts is that there is a top-three consensus for the draft, which kicks off at 5 p.m. PDT Thursday at the Barclays Center in New York.

But starting with the fourth pick, the draft could go any direction.

That’s because the Sacramento Kings have the fourth pick and are looking to move him to a “veteran NBA-ready” player, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The New York Knicks, Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks are interested in Sacramento’s fourth selection.

Here’s a look at how things could play out in the first round. The Lakers and Clippers don’t have a first-round pick.

1. Orlando: Jabari Smith, 19, PF, 6-10, Auburn

Although young, his height, length and athletic abilities are intriguing.

2. Oklahoma City: Chet Holmgren, 20, F/C, 7-0, Gonzaga

Agile for his size, he knows how to shoot and has good ball handling. His weight (195 pounds) is worrying.

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3. Houston: Paolo Banchero, 19, PF, 6-10, Duke

Considered ready for the NBA. Can pass and score. But how much better can it be?

4. Sacramento: Jaden Ivey, 20, SG, 6-4, Purdue

He is aggressive and explosive. It’s likely the Kings will trade the pick to a team that needs backcourt help.

Purdue's Jaden Ivey brings the ball back downfield at Yale in a game last season.

Purdue guard Jaden Ivey will likely be selected fourth in the NBA Draft on Thursday, but will the Sacramento Kings make the pick or trade him? (Morry Gash/UK Time News)

5. Detroit: Shaedon Sharpe, 18, G, 6-6, Kentucky

Great fit next to point guard Cade Cunningham to give the Pistons a backcourt of the future.

6. Indiana: Keegan Murray, 21, F, 6-8, Iowa

Nice mid range game and can put the ball on the ground to mark the drive.

7. Portland: Dyson Daniels, 19, G, 6-8, G League Ignite

Has very good playmaking skills and is a very good defender, on and off the ball.

8. New Orleans: Bennedict Mathurin, 19, G, 6-6, Arizona

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Has a good size for a shooting guard and is a good defender.

9. San Antonio: Ousmane Dieng, 19, F, 6-9, France

Was impressive in practices during the draft process, pushing him forward.

10. Washington: Johnny Davis, 20, G, 6-5, Wisconsin

A slasher who is tough and can defend, but needs to improve his three-point shot.

Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis drives against Rutgers.

Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis drives against Rutgers in a game last season. (Adam Hunger/UK Time News)

11. New York: AJ Griffin, 18, F, 6-6, Duke

Possibly the best pure shooter in the draft, he’s a natural scorer.

12. Oklahoma City: Blake Wesley, 19, G, 6-5, Notre Dame

He is super explosive with great athleticism and scoring ability.

13. Charlotte: Jeremy Sochan, 19, F, 6-9, Baylor

His seven-foot wingspan makes him a good defender.

14. Cleveland: Malaki Branham, 19, F, 6-5, Ohio State

Has a strong work ethic and ability to score in a variety of ways.

15. Charlotte: Mark Williams, 20, C, 7-0, Duke

Was one of the best rim protectors in the NCAA last season.

16. Atlanta: Jalen Duren, 18, C, 6-11, Memphis

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Not a bad rim protector, but Hawks is probably ready to move that pick.

Memphis center Jalen Duren blocks a shot from Tennessee Tech's John Pettway.

Memphis center Jalen Duren blocks a shot from Tennessee Tech’s John Pettway during a game last season. (Karen Pulfer Focht/UK Time News)

17. Houston: Ochai Agbaji, 22, G/F, 6-5, Kansas

He is more of a small striker who needs to improve his ball handling skills.

18. Chicago: Tari Eason, 21, F, 6-8, Louisiana State

A defensive-minded player who is raw offensively.

19. Minnesota: TyTy Washington, 20, G, 6-3, Kentucky

Could add depth to the Timberwolves’ talented backcourt.

20. San Antonio: Kennedy Chandler, 19, PG, 6-0, Tennessee

He is super fast and can score.

21. Denver: Jalen Williams, 21, G/F, 6-6, Santa Clara

His size and strength make him a good defender.

22. Memphis: MarJon Beauchamp, 21, W, 6-6, G League Ignite

Long and athletic, driver and slasher.

23. Philadelphia: Jaden Hardy, 19, G, 6-4, G League Ignite

Is a talented scorer with grips who can shoot the three-pointer.

24. Milwaukee: Nikola Jovic, 18, F, 6-10, Serbia

Has very good ball skills and is athletic.

25. San Antonio: EJ Liddell, 21, F, 6-7, Ohio State

An undersized power forward, but strong and resilient.

Ohio State forward EJ Liddell works in the position against Michigan State's Malik Hall.

Ohio State forward EJ Liddell works in the post against Michigan State’s Malik Hall in a game last season. (Jay LaPrete/UK Time News)

26. Houston: Wendell Moore, 20, F, 6-5, Duke

Likes to drive to the basket.

27. Miami: Dalen Terry, 19, G, 6-7, Arizona

Good size for a point guard looking to go first.

28. Golden State: Walker Kessler, 20, C, 7-1, Auburn

At the waist, but what does the NBA champions care?

29. Memphis: Patrick Baldwin, 19, F, 6-9, Milwaukee

Has the skills to be a stretch-four.

30. Denver: John Butler, 19, F/C, 7-1, Florida State

Has a good shooting range for its size and length.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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