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The Draft - NBA: Five stars to follow

Just a handful of days after the Championship Finals, the NBA Draft takes place and teams will start preparing in earnest for next season.

(This article was originally published on 08.05.2022) 

Good or bad selections can make or break a team's year and for those who have struggled in recent seasons, it is crucial they can find a young star who will adapt quickly to the big league.

We've drawn up a list of the top five names to look out for in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Chet Holmgren

A Freshman at Gonzaga University, Holmgren has shone in the last year and looks sure to be among the first five picks.

The 20-year-old is seven-foot tall and known for his strong defensive ability – being named WCC Defensive Player of the Year - with Holmgren capable of playing as either a Center or a Power Forward.

The man from Minnesota averaged 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for Gonzaga, but despite all his talent, there are still some concerns going into the draft.

Holmgren has a thin stature, weighing just 195lbs, and some feel he might struggle in and around the glass. He has also had foul trouble in the past.

Paolo Banchero

Banchero is another Freshman and this Power forward knows how to shoot, with the 19-year-old named Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year.

The teenager has been playing for Duke Blue Devils – who made the final four of the NCAA Tournament - and the six-foot 10-inch star averaged 17.2 points in 39 appearances.

Banchero, who received Italian citizenship earlier this year, has the typical Power Forward build but also offers creativity and useful three-point stats.

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Jabari Smith

Smith is known as one of the most dynamic shooters in college basketball, starring in what has been his Freshman year at Auburn.

Another Power Forward, Smith turns 19 on 13th May and it would be a surprise if the six-foot 10-inch ace was not amongst the top three picks in the draft.

Basketball runs in the family with Jabari's dad, Jabari Senior, playing in the NBA for four seasons, while former Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons Center Kwame Brown is his distant cousin.

Jaden Ivey

Even though Ivey's Purdue team didn't make it past the last-16 of the NCAA Tournament, the Sophomore has already shown he has the skills to be successful in the NBA.

The 20-year-old has real pace across the court and could prove to be an explosive offence weapon for any franchise that drafts him.

Ivey, who averaged 17.3 points per game in the 36-game college season, also comes from a sporting family, with both his dad and grandfather enjoying careers in the NFL.

Keegan Murray

Although not perhaps offering as much flair as the others in the list, Murray has plenty to offer those teams seeking a likely consistent performer at the top level.

The 21-year-old can play Small Forward or Power Forward and really kicked on in his Sophomore season for Iowa – averaging 23.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

Murray, who has a twin basketball-playing brother called Kris, has blistering pace and his calmness when shooting has been likened to those of NBA legend Tim Duncan.

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