Draft

Houston Rockets’ NBA Draft Meta Big Board Top-5 Prospects: Part 2 #4

By N.B. Lindberg
Saint Peter's v Purdue
Saint Peter's v Purdue / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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The Houston Rockets, armed with the third overall pick, may take a long hard look at the fourth ranked prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft. While Jaden Ivey may appear redundant next to Jalen Green, the possibility to construct the most athletic backcourt in history has appeal.

If you missed part 1, which covers the fifth ranked prospect, Keegan Murray, give the link below a spin.

Related. NBA Draft Meta Big Board Top-5 Prospects: Part 1 #5. dark

The Meta Big Board

This is the second year I’ve done a meta big board. The general premise behind the exercise is two-fold. First, I am not an amateur basketball aficionado, and second, it is the belief in the wisdom of the crowd. By taking the work of many experts and aggregating it you can come to a better answer than relying on your own or another’s individual judgment. In essence, this big board aims to stand on the shoulders of giants and call itself tall. 

Last season, I aggregated eight different big boards and then averaged each prospect’s ranking. Using the same method as before, but this time with 11 different publications, I once again created a meta big board for the 2022 NBA Draft. In this piece, I’ll take the scouting consensus and provide the statistical profile of each prospect. Unfortunately, no player in the top five of the meta big board did physical measurements at the draft combine. 

#4 Jaden Ivey

In terms of raw athleticism, Jaden Ivey is the cream of the 2022 draft crop. A common NBA-comp for Ivey is Russell Westbrook. Much like Westbrook, Ivey possesses the speed and burst to blow by NBA defenders without dipping into his bag. That type of raw horsepower is rare and gives Ivey an incredibly high ceiling. 

However, the deficiencies in his game could cap his on-court impact. His physical defensive traits are excellent, but his focus and effort on that end were spotty in college. While it’s easy to say he’ll improve in the NBA, there’s a long list of tooled-out guards who never live up to their defensive potential. 

On offense, Ivey possesses a rudimentary, yet effective, plan of attack. He bombs open threes, hitting 35.8% this past season, and attacks the rim. The analytically effective shot chart boosted his college efficiency, but what makes a superstar in the NBA is excellence in the dreaded mid-range. Ivey hardly took any mid-range jumpers, and when he did, they rarely went in. 

Ivey’s passing instincts and vision have also been questioned by scouts. His ability to collapse a defense off the dribble will allow him to generate assists, but there are questions over his ability to be a high usage playmaking hub. 

Any team that drafts Ivey will have to be patient with his development and push him to fail early on. He’s legitimately excellent at one of the most crucial offensive traits, rim pressure, but to be a star the rest of his game will have to catch up. 

Statistically, Ivey had an impressive season. He averaged 17.3 points and 3.1 assists per game on 53.1% shooting on 2-pointers and 35.8% on 3-pointers. The 3-point shooting jump between his freshman (25.8%) and sophomore (35.8%) season is what made him a top-five pick. However, it’s hard to know how much of the improvement was real. His free throw shooting, a good predictor of NBA 3-point shooting, barely budged, going from 72.6% to 74.4%. Ivey won’t have to be a knock-down 3-point shooter in the NBA, but he will need to be close enough to average to keep defenses honest. 

In my meta big board, Ivey has an average ranking of 3.09 with a range between first and fourth. In fact, he’s listed as the best overall prospect on as many big boards as Chet Holmgren. Ivey is locked down as the fourth man in this draft, but there is certainly a chance that he could go higher. Ivey could make a GM look like a genius or an absolute doofus. The tools are there to be an elite player, but the lack of polish could see him falter. 

Next. NBA Draft Meta Big Board Top-5 Prospects: Part 3 #3. dark

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