The 2022 NBA Draft is coming up on Thursday night. We’re in the endgame now, so it seems like a good time to check in on mock drafts from around the internet to see where Marquette sophomore forward Justin Lewis is standing in the eyes of the people who knows things about things.
I should note that I’m only collecting mock drafts that included Lewis in them here. The good news is that the only ones that I found that did not include him stopped at the end of the first round. Of course, that’s also bad news for Lewis. Once things move into the second round, where contracts are not guaranteed to the draftees, it can get a little slippery as to what teams want with their picks. On top of that, one draft day trade can completely alter the trajectory of things from Pick #31 onwards.
Still, Lewis seems to be in a pretty solid position to be drafted at all. Even in a draft with only 58 picks instead of the usual 60 (stop misbehaving in free agency, NBA teams), the lowest pick I found projected for the now former Marquette star was #52.
No particular order other than this is how I found them.
Krysten Peek’s analysis: “Lewis was one of the most productive guards in the Big East, averaging 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. His best game of the season was in a win over Seton Hall where he posted 33 points, nine rebounds and six assists.” Yes, she said “guards” in there. I have no further comment.
The Athletic ($) (6/20): Top 50 amongst college players
This is from Seth Davis’ collection of comments from seven NBA scouts on what he thinks are the top 50 players coming out of the college ranks for this draft. The combined analysis: “I would have loved to see him go back for one more year. Good athlete, but not a great athlete. He can be a four-man in the Jae Crowder mold. He’s got a big body and some really big legs. I don’t know if he has that basketball toughness about him. Complete long term, upside play. He doesn’t run that hard, he’s not a true professional in that sense, but the body and flashes of brilliance are there. I don’t think he can pass at all. I don’t think he handles it well. There were games this year where he kind of gave up and disappeared. Grabbed eight rebounds a game, which is pretty good. I got close to him in Chicago, and I was shocked how big he was. He’s a good value in the mid-second round.”
This is John Hollinger’s ranking of the top 75 prospects where he does not take the draft order into account. Here’s the big takeaway analysis: “The big thing that puts him at the tail end of my first-round grades, however, is that every team needs switchable forwards who can make an open shot. Lewis doesn’t even need to get that much better to fill in a back-end rotation spot, and he has upside to be quite a bit better.”
David Cobb’s analysis: It’s easy to envision Lewis as a floor-stretching power forward in an NBA system after he demonstrated some outside touch by hitting 34.9% of on 5.2 attempts per game as a sophomore at Marquette. With a built frame, he brings the physicality expected of the position along with the modern requirements of versatility.
Sporting News (6/20): #41 to the New Orlean Pelicans
Analysis: A low center of gravity combo-forward with a high skill level.
ESPN ($) (6/15): #45 to the Charlotte Hornets
Jeremy Woo had Lewis at #28 in his prospect rankings on June 15th, for what it’s worth. Takeaway analysis: “He’s not going to create a ton of shots for himself or teammates, but guys with his type of body and skill set tend to play up and find minutes, particularly if he buys into doing the small stuff more consistently on the defensive end. There’s some untapped upside here if a team develops him creatively.”
Bleacher Report (6/15): #42 to the New York Knicks
This one is Kyle Boone’s mock up. Analysis: He may be a smidge undersized for an NBA power forward, but Lewis brings physicality and versatility to the table to make him a real NBA prospect. He can score inside and out and is comfortable playing down low despite the height he gives up.
USA Today/For The Win (6/9): #45 to the Charlotte Hornets
BasketballNews.com (6/15): #49 to the Sacramento Kings
Analysis from a staff of five people listed at the top of the page: “Lewis projects as a strong, small ball four in the NBA, and is continuing to develop a skill set that may allow him to do so. “
The Athletic ($) (6/20): #47 to the Memphis Grizzlies
Here’s what Zach Harper has to say about him while grading him as “G League” amongst options of “Roster, stash, or G League”: “Justin Lewis could be much higher in this draft with his 7-foot-2 wingspan, but he needs to learn how to play with much more force and accuracy. He’s a potential defensive terror.”