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NBA Draft 2022: Johnny Davis solidly in the top-ten

The Badgers star sophomore has been rocketing up draft boards all season. Here are the most recent projections.

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Illinois State v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

The Wisconsin Badgers rarely even have a player drafted into the NBA, let alone have a player leave with multiple years of eligibility remaining. However, sophomore sensation Johnny Davis is looking to buck multiple trends this year and most draft prognosticators peg Davis for the lottery (!!!) in June.

Today we’ll be looking at Sam Vecenie’s updated mock draft ($) at The Athletic and Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz’s new mock at ESPN ($). For a mock that isn’t behind a paywall, Yahoo! Sports’ Krysten Peek had a new one on Monday and she discusses Davis in depth.

There is a fairly strong consensus among most NBA Draftniks that the top-three will be some order of Auburn freshman big Jabari Smith, Duke freshman big Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga freshman big Chet Holmgren. Vecenie has Smith No. 1 while Givony and Schmitz are rocking with Holmgren. The other thing that seems to be fairly common is that no one thinks there are any franchise-altering talents in this year’s class. No Zion Williamson or even Cade Cunningham in this group.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t good players to be had, though! All three of those big guys are talented and should have successful NBA careers. But what about Johnny Davis? What sort of NBA career can we expect him to have? First let’s take a look at where he’s slated to be selected by these two mock drafts.

Note: The projected 2022 draft order is based on ESPN BPI draft projections as of Monday.

It is worth noting that Kentucky guard Shaedon Sharpe is slotted in at No. 7 in ESPN’s mock. He was just allowed to enter the 2022 Draft, but it is unclear if he will actually do so. The Athletic’s mock, for instance, doesn’t include Sharpe at all for this reason. So, you could potentially see Davis move up one spot in ESPN’s mock depending on what Sharpe ends up deciding.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Purdue
Davis going head to head with another potential lottery pick, Jaden Ivey.
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Here is Vecenie’s scouting report on Davis:

Johnny Davis skies up the board to No. 5 in large part due to that aforementioned consistency that the rest of the class has been lacking. He’s the clear riser in this class ($) and the favorite for the National Player of the Year award. Wisconsin counts on him to be its central figure every single night, and he delivers. Davis is a monster shot creator from all three levels, making 36.5 percent of his 3s. He’s scored 55 points on pull-up jumpers from the midrange and made 55.4 percent at the basket. There’s just so much skill here. On top of that, he defends well on the perimeter against guards and constantly is willing to fight through screens.

I know there are always mixed feelings when a player is so good that it looks like they’ll leave college early. You want Wisconsin to keep winning but you also want what is best for the player. Honestly, while it will hurt Wisconsin’s ceiling next season, having Davis selected in the lottery will do so much more for the Badgers recruiting capabilities that I think it’s worth it for UW.