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2022 NBA Draft Prospects: Top 10 Strikers from Paolo Banquero to A.J. Liddell

Last season proved to be significant for the beginning NBA forwards.

Scotty Barnes received the Rookie of the Year award after surprisingly taking 4th overall in the draft, Evan Mobley announced his arrival as a revolutionary defensive force, Franz Wagner showcased his versatile gameplay as a founding element in Orlando, Herb Jones blossomed as an All-Defensive caliber wing stopper, while Jonathan Cuminga showed the Warriors’ star potential.

The bar may be high, but the rookie class is showing some serious forward muscle this year, starting with a potential first pick overall.

Does your favorite team need a striker or a winger? If so, you have come to the right place. We’ve ranked the top 10 hitters in the 2022 NBA Draft class to provide you with a wishlist of players that might be on the board when your team makes their selection.

MORE: Post-Finals NBA Draft Trial: Two Round Edition

Top 10 forwards in the 2022 NBA draft

Paolo Banchero

1. Paolo Banquero, Duke

Height and weight: 6-10, 235 pounds

Age: 19 years old, freshman

Despite the fact that Jabari Smith Jr. has become the overwhelming favorite for the first pick, Banchero is still my favorite in this draft class.

At the age of 6-10, he is an advanced shot maker with elite passing skills for a player of his physique. He has a soft shot and a whole arsenal of scoring moves from the perimeter and the post. His physique and mobility make him as NBA-ready as any other player in his class.

As he closes in on both ends of the floor, it becomes clear why he could be a future league star.

MORE: Banchero NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Strengths and Weaknesses

2. Jabari Smith Jr., Auburn

Height and weight: 6-10, 210 pounds

Age: 19 years old, freshman

The 6-10 hitter is considered the best clean shooter in this class, being able to take down shots from all over the floor with his high release and smooth hit. His quick feet, height, and athleticism make him the versatile guard every NBA team is looking for.

He is an influential player in all aspects of the game. His development as a frame maker will determine how high his ceiling rises.

MORE: Smith NBA Prospective Draft Profile: Strengths and Weaknesses

Keegan-Murray-FTR

3. Keegan Murray, Iowa

Height and weight: 6-8, 210 pounds

Age: 21 years old, sophomore

Murray became one of the best and most prolific scorers in the entire country last season.

Averaged 23.6 points per game on 55.5% shooting from the field and 40.5% shooting from three-point range, the sophomore hits the spot, knocks shots, and rarely forces an attack. He is a long and versatile defender who is smart on the help side.

His game will easily turn into a simple player in the NBA.

4. AJ Griffin, Duke

Height and weight: 6-6, 220 pounds

Age: 18 years old, freshman

Griffin is the best shooter in this draft class. He can take shots from mid-range and from behind the arc, and he has a solid shot on his shot.

Griffin is also capable of throwing the ball to the floor and using his strong running back to attack the basket. He is a pure offensive threat.

5. Jeremy Sochan, Baylor

Height and weight: 6-9, 230 pounds

Age: 19 years old, freshman

Sochan became a draft pick due to his measurable qualities and ability to switch as a defenseman. At 6-9 with a claimed 7-foot wingspan, he can stay in the paint, but he’s also fast enough to guard the perimeter.

His performance as a cutter and rebounder makes up the bulk of his offensive scoring, and his development as a 3-point shooter will define his ceiling at the next level.

6 Malachi Branham, Ohio

Height and weight: 6-5, 180 pounds

Age: 19 years old, freshman

Branham has made a late comeback with Ohio State this season, but the freshman forward can score. The Big Ten Rookie of the Year is a smooth shot maker and knockdown shooter.

He has good size and build as a defenseman and is poised to be one of the top sleepers in this year’s draft.

7. Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

Height and weight: 6-5, 215 pounds

Age: 22, senior

Agbaji is a variable wing with good length and elite athleticism. He is an active defender and uses his speed to his advantage in transitions to create easy baskets for his team.

He always moves like a cutter off the ball, and after hitting nearly 40 percent of his 3-pointers this year, he’s positioning himself as the perfect 3-pointer that any NBA roster can use.

8. Usman Dieng, New Zealand Breakers

Height and weight: 6-9, 185 pounds

Age: 19

Dieng is the definition of a potential diamond in the rough, as he showed off several flashes of brilliance during his first season in the NBL this year.

At 6–9, Dieng is a creative perimeter scorer with excellent ball handling skills to hit the spot and is a good passer for his size. He continued to improve as his rookie season went on, but he will still be in the process of reaching the NBA level for the first time.

9. Tari Eason, LSU

Height and weight: 6-8, 216 pounds

Age: 21 years old, sophomore

Eason is one of the most versatile defenders in his class. His height, build and athleticism made him stand out as a promising player. His jump shot needs some work, but he still found a way to average 17 points per game last season.

If he can hit three-point shots, then he’ll have a successful future in the NBA.

10. E. J. Liddell, Ohio.

Height and weight: 6-7, 240 pounds

Age: 21, junior

Liddell is a next-level two-way player, and he is positionally mobile like a four or five with a small ball. He may be short at 6-7 years old, but he is extremely athletic, strong and agile to make up for his lack of height.

It reportedly has a wingspan of 7 feet and its strong build allows it to hold its own against the larger ones. He’s a savvy scorer and improved his three-point shooting in his three years at Ohio State.

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