The 2022 NBA draft is full of shooters who can immediately help any NBA team space the floor and open up offense
Spacing the floor has become a must in the NBA. Many teams are now deploying “five-out” lineups, which feature five players who are all a threat to score from three. Spacing the floor allows offense to flow more freely and rid the paint of any congestion. Year after year, more specialists are getting picked in the first round. The 2022 NBA draft features loads of talented shooters for teams to select in hopes of curing their perimeter shooting woes. Here’s a list of prospects, ranging from lottery and on, that can help add some shooting to any offense.
Hyunjung Lee, G, Davidson
Currently not picked in most mock drafts, Davidson’s Hyunjung Lee is a low risk, high reward prospect. A 6’7″, 210 pound sharpshooter, Lee is the definition of a specialist. Many question the notion of drafting a one dimensional player, but if Duncan Robinson can sign a $90 million contract, then Hyunjung Lee can at least be drafted. The upside is that Lee brings a little bit more versatility than Robinson, as he has a better handle on the ball and can take it to the rim more effectively.
Lee is a certified flamethrower from three, shooting at almost a 40% clip for his career. In 2021, Lee shot over 44% from beyond the arc. His efficiency dipped in 2022 with his responsibility and usage going up. Second round picks are essentially blind dart throws anyway. Using one on someone who can be an elite shooter for an exponentially small financial commitment is a shrewd operation.
Hyungjung Lee is an amazing shooter, I really like the transition from full on running to little steps to get set to shoot.
Incredible footwork and poise. pic.twitter.com/bpzD8WHV6x
— Francesco Semprucci (@fra_sempru) January 15, 2022
Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas
Kansas swingman Ochai Agbaji has the potential to be a fan favorite in the NBA. With a consistent three point stroke and a 39 inch vertical to boot, Agbaji can be a three point marksman and a showman attacking the rim. He is going to be primarily an off-ball player in the league, as he can come off screens and does well in catch and shoot situations. Spot up shooters have value in the league and his athleticism gives him a higher potential than some of the other elite shooting prospects.
Agbaji is not an elite defender right now, but his size and length, paired with his elite athleticism, give him an interesting profile. His defensive potential would be more encouraging if he were a younger prospect, but he is already 22. He is older than some players who have already made All Star teams, such as Zion Williamson. His ceiling as a prospect is low, but if his defense can match his athletic profile, he can be one of the better Three-and-D role players in the NBA.
Agbaji is a prospect that is being talked about as an option for teams in the 20’s, which is mainly playoff teams. Those teams could use a player who can step in right away and, at the bare minimum, shoot the ball, for a fraction of the cost of a veteran. Those are the types of teams that should be looking at the Kansas swingman. A 22-year-old prospect with little room to grow does nothing for a losing franchise.
Jabari Smith Jr, F, Auburn
Profiling Jabari Smith, a sharpshooting two-way wing out of Auburn, seems futile. His name will be called before 8:45 PM Eastern time on Thursday. However, you cannot mention shooters without the 6’10” sniper that may be going number one overall. The three-point shooting numbers immediately jump off the page for Smith. He shot 42% from beyond the arc for the Tigers in 2022. Smith was able to shoot the ball off the dribble and in catch and shoot situations.
A prolific shooter for his size, Smith’s shooting prowess projects well to the next level. His NBA projected three point percentage is .382 (via Tankathon), which puts him in rarified air. That would make him the 55th best shooter in basketball in 2022. More importantly, he would be just the sixth player 6’10” or taller to shoot the three at a 38.2% clip. The others being Karl-Anthony Towns, Bobby Portis, Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, and Danilo Gallinari. Smith is one of the best players in the class, and his three point shooting is a massive reason.
Jabari Smith Highlights pic.twitter.com/zodKGWX57R
— Savant Hoops (@SavantHoops) June 17, 2022