After the playmakers, a fairly modest position this year, a quick overview of the five best backs in this Draft 2022. A position that looks great for this vintage, even if the podium seems reserved for three interiors.
The reserve of talented backs is large for this Draft, and if none of them seems promised the status of “franchise player” capable of changing the course of a franchise, some seem to be able to establish themselves as indisputable starters, or at least as luxury “role players”.
1 – Jaden Ivey (20 years old, 1m93, 88kg)
2021/22 stats: 17.3 points (46% on shots, 35.8% on 3 points), 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists.
He is the back, even the most explosive player of the entire 2022 vintage, and more generally the best player available behind the trio of interiors who were to make up the Draft podium this Thursday.
Incredible athlete with a very sharp first step, Jaden Ivey won many franchises, a few hours before the high mass of June 23. If it is difficult to imagine him in the long term as the clear leader of an NBA attack, he has all the offensive qualities to one day be the second or third indisputable option of a club at the top of the table, a bit like a Jaylen Brown in Boston for example.
His full profile: Draft 2022 | The profile of Jaden Ivey (Purdue)
2 – Shaedon Sharpe (19 years old, 1m96, 90kg)
2021/22 stats: did not play
He is the mystery man of this 2022 Draft, given that he has not played with Kentucky during the past season. Still, Shaedon Sharpe very clearly looks like the second-best fullback in the crop, and his ceiling is even thought to be higher than Jaden Ivey’s. For some observers across the Atlantic, he is quite simply the biggest talent integrated into this rather homogeneous 2022 Draft.
But the questions and questions that surround him, especially on his psychological profile, still represent a risk. Or at least a bet. Unlike the former Purdue, who in two seasons in the NCAA has given a lot of positive indications, both in his mind and his game.
Like the vagueness that surrounds him, the projection of the Canadian is quite wide: we can just as well imagine him from 4th position, like falling after 10th place. His case will be very interesting to observe.
His full profile: Draft 2022 | Profile of Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky)
3 – Benoît Mathurin (20 years old, 1m98, 95kg)
2021/22 stats: 17.7 points (45% shooting, 36.9% 3-point), 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Behind the two “superstars” of the position, Jaden Ivey and Shaedon Sharpe, we find Bennedict Mathurin, another Canadian. A little less publicized than his colleagues, but just as talented, the elegant scorer of the Arizona Wildcats stands out as a safe bet in the Top 10.
Physical and athletic back, endowed with an easily transposable outside shot in the NBA, the native of Montreal will be a productive attacker among the pros, in a league with a fast offensive tempo. Defensively, on the other hand, he will have to adjust a few small concentration jumps to establish himself as a permanent holder.
At the stage of Jaden Ivey, it seems a bit ambitious to imagine him one day as the first offensive option in the NBA. His ideal role will certainly be that of the first or second lieutenant in an ambitious team.
His full profile: Draft 2022 | The profile of Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)
4 – Johnny Davis (20 years old, 1m96, 88kg)
2021/22 stats: 19.7 points (42.7%, 30.6% from 3 points), 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals
From “role player” during his “freshman” season to true university star during his “sophomore” season, the rise of Johnny Davis in two years at Wisconsin is quite remarkable.
Averaging nearly 20 points per game in the 2021/22 season, the guard has demonstrated a full offensive palette at the NCAA level. Particularly effective at mid-range, solid finisher in the circle, the former Badger must nevertheless progress in the activity of outside shooting to become an attacker who counts in the NBA.
Defensively, he is ready for the next level, at least against the opposing benches at first. If he is not the most impressive athlete of this vintage, which could handicap him against bigger wingers or faster backs, he compensates with solid defensive instincts, especially in a collective defense.
His full profile: Draft 2022 | Profile of Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)
5 – Malaki Branham (19 years old, 1m99, 82kg)
2021/22 stats: 13.7 points (49.8%, 41.6% from 3 points), 3.6 rebounds, 2 assists
His rise to the status of probable “lottery pick” was meteoric, while his “freshman” season got off to a bad start. It’s Malaki Branham, Ohio State’s young fullback.
We’re ranking him 5th on this list because we’re assuming Shaedon Sharpe’s ceiling is higher, and because he’s less experienced than Jaden Ivey, Johnny Davis, and Bennedict Mathurin, who all have the three experienced major progress between their first and second NCAA seasons, and which therefore seem, at the moment T, a little more “NBA Ready”.
But make no mistake about it: Malaki Branham has his place in this Top 5. Offensively, he may have the biggest integrated talent of all the players in this position, because his offensive palette is complete and his room for improvement is significant, at only 19 years old.
Able to score at all three levels and create his shot, especially at mid-range, he has the profile of the perfect attacker for the modern NBA. On the other hand, there is still work in defense, even if his physical potential suggests great things in this area, in the long term.
His full profile: Draft 2022 | The profile of Malaki Branham (Ohio State)