For several months, any discussion of the top prospects in the 2022 NBA draft has primarily focused on three names -- Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren, Auburn's Jabari Smith and Duke's Paolo Banchero. The three one-and-done standouts have been the first three players on draft lists since the early stages of the 2021-22 college basketball season, and remain at the center of the conversation now that the complete 2022 draft order has been set.
But for NBA evaluators, the next four weeks ahead of the draft on June 23rd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be an eternity, and the long-term viability of every lottery candidate will be among the major questions. When the results of the 2022 draft are assessed many years from now, will the top three picks prove to be the top three players selected? History would suggest that's unlikely.
With that in mind, ESPN's NBA draft experts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz evaluated four players who are plausible candidates to break up the presumed Big Three hegemony long-term, listing the reasons each could break through and the potential teams that could have each of the four on their radar: