NBA mock draft: Top prospects, breakout candidates for 2022

Although the 2022 NBA draft is at least 18 months away, teams are monitoring next year's class closely. It's important for NBA executives to get a baseline for the strength of the class and how valuable draft picks might be moving forward -- especially as we approach the NBA trade deadline on March 25.

NBA teams currently have no idea when the 2021 NBA draft will be conducted, though it is expected to be held after the NBA Finals, currently scheduled for August 2021. The hope is that a somewhat normal summer of scouting can occur this offseason, which would help make up for the many lost talent-evaluation opportunities of the past nine months.

Meanwhile, it seems clear that a bottleneck is emerging in the college ranks that could impact both the 2021 and 2022 drafts. Because of the uncertain impact of the pandemic on the 2020 draft and the 2020-21 season, many college players elected not to enter the draft last spring, and even more ultimately pulled their name out of the draft.