If there’s one thing to know about this upcoming draft, it’s that each positional group is incredibly deep with very little separation between pretty much every player outside the lottery or even just the top-five for that matter. It might not have the same talent level and depth as last season, but this class is no joke and should not be treated as such.

The shooting guard group exemplifies this fact as it is loaded with high-potential project picks and experienced, talented players who will be immediate contributors. The trick is finding out who falls into each category and which type of prospect your team should be looking for. Here, we will explain why each of these ten guards is slated to go in the first-round explain why it will turn out that way on draft night.

Stay tuned for the rest of the positional rankings as we get closer to the best day of the NBA scouting calendar!

1. Bennedict Mathurin 6-6 205 Arizona Wildcats

Mathurin was the heart and soul of Arizona basketball this season as they went from postseason ineligibility to the best power-five school in the nation thanks to their star SG. The 6-6 wing emerged as one of the prolific scorers in the sport with his knockdown shooting and relentless energy off the ball to create open looks for himself. With the mentorship of Tommy Lloyd and a plethora of great passers around him, Mathurin made a huge leap in development as a sophomore, and showcased a great deal of determination in the process.

What makes him a lottery pick? It’s hard to find wings with this kind of length and this polished of scoring skills at the age of 20. The Quebec native can challenge for a starting role on opening night and has the potential to go from solid rotational player to “that” guy in a few years with his elite shooting, athleticism, bounce and natural leadership abilities.

2. Shaedon Sharpe, 6-5 200 Kentucky Wildcats

There hasn’t been a prospect quite as fascinating as Shaedon Sharpe in recent years in the NBA Draft. It isn’t because of his mesmerizing leaping, ability to create off the dribble or insane highlight reel. It isn’t because he’s being labeled the next great superstar. It’s because scouts simply don’t have any idea of how good he really is, but the old high school videos show what is possible and that could be good enough to land him a spot in the top-10 of this draft. Without being able to completely put their finger on his ability to perform against a high level of organized competition, just how high will NBA teams be willing to take a leap of faith on Sharpe?

What makes him a lottery pick? An amazing highlight reel apparently. Granted not many prospects have a highlight reel this impressive, but looks can be deceiving. In a class loaded with successful and experienced scoring guards/wings, Sharpe brings something completely different to the table: hope. Whichever team drafts him will feel they won the draft with the value they got for a player with the potential of Sharpe. Is he Gerald Green or Tracy Mcgrady? Time will tell.

3. Malaki Branham, 6-5 195 Ohio State Buckeyes

All eyes were on EJ Liddell coming into the season in Columbus, and while he had an excellent season, it was Branham who really turned some heads across the country with his skilled play in his freshman season. He is a true three-level scorer with plenty of upside and time to develop as he just turned 19 in May. He also seems poised to start or at least contribute solid minutes from the opening tip of the season as a well-rounded wing with a nose for scoring.

What makes him a lottery pick? Branham is a St. Vincent-St Mary’s alum, and it only makes sense that the Cavaliers are projected to take a chance on another Irish star considering the last one they selected worked out pretty well. Branham offers solid readiness for a freshman and excellent upside to continue to improve.

4. Johnny Davis 6-5 195 Wisconsin Badgers

The ascension from zero to hero for Johnny Davis was one that no one quite knows how to explain. He wasn’t a bad player by any stretch of the imagination in his freshman year, but since that season ended, he won a gold medal for the USA U19 team and a Big Ten Regular Season Championship while earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors for the Badgers as a sophomore.

What makes him a lottery pick? Davis was able to dominate the fierce competition with a ton of shooting volume, but also an unpredictable and wide arsenal of scoring moves and techniques. His three-point shot was inconsistent, but if he can improve as much as he did in one offseason, I’m sure three-level scoring and a perimeter jumper will be a major part of his game soon enough.

5. Ochai Agbaji 6-6 215 Kansas Jayhawks

If you’re looking for the most NBA ready guard on this list and a player with a ton of winning pedigree, look no further than the All-American and National Champion in Ochai Agbaji. After entering the draft and receiving feedback to improve as a ball-handler and inside scorer, Agbaji returned to the Jayhawks for one final season and refined slashing skills to turn him into one of the best players in the nation.

What makes him a lottery pick? `1The 6’6 wing is a versatile and tough defender who can immediately start and contribute as a 3-and-D wing for just about any team. If I had to bet on any player on this list to make First Team All-Rookie next season, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose this guy.

6. Jaden Hardy 6-4 200 G-League Ignite

As a former top-five recruit and projected lottery pick, some might say his decision to go to the G-League backfired with him slotted outside the top-14 picks. I tend to disagree with that sentiment. Hardy gained valuable experience playing a ton of minutes in a professional setting with high level coaching including Rod Strickland and Jason Hart. And it was evident much he matured and grew as a player from the beginning of the season until the end. He is now much better equipped to become an impact player and reach his high ceiling.

What makes him a 1st round pick? Hardy is one of the most natural scorers in this year’s class and he is an elite slasher already who will only improve as he develops his handles and perimeter shooting stroke. He proved to be streaky from beyond the arc and will only see his efficiency increase with more space and  less pressure to score.

7. Max Christie 6-5 190 Michigan State Spartans.

Many considered Christie the best shooting freshman coming into the season, but he didn’t quite live up to that billing. But keep in mind very few freshman get minutes or stand out in Tom Izzo’s system. He is an immensely talented wing with a smooth shooting stroke and length plus a track record of success to indicate that he can become a reliable threat to score from beyond the arc. Defense and toughness are the key areas that are in need of improvement.

What makes him a 1st round pick? To go along with his ideal NBA frame, which he still needs to grow into and fill out, Christie is a young, intelligent and talented scorer who has picturesque shooting mechanics and great touch indicating he can become a valuable floor spacer to fill a necessary role and elevate an offense to that next level. High level shooting wings are gaining more value and notoriety every day and Christie shows the potential to be just that.

8. Jalen Williams 6-6 210 Santa Clara Broncos

No one had a better week at the NBA Combine that Jalen Williams. Whether it was great measurements (7-2 wingspan) or showing out in the two scrimmages, Williams showed NBA scouts he can play with the best of the best at the Combine. Williams was a late bloomer having grown a number of inches late which forced him to be a point guard for much of his youth, and he also learned to develop his ball skills better than your average off guard because of that.

What makes him a 1st round pick? With solid potential and his name fully buzzing after the Combine, Williams is projected to even compete for a lottery selection due to his solid frame and playmaking skills on the wing. He can flourish as a secondary ball-handler or a spot-up wing with the skill and smarts to get to the basket and finish around the rim.

9. Blake Wesley 6-4 185 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

If there was one freshman who made the biggest jump on draft boards this season, look no further than Blake Wesley. He didn’t appear anywhere before the season, but it didn’t take us long to recognize his talent for the Irish. Once Coach Brey turned the keys over to Wesley and installed him as his starting point guard, Notre Dame’s season took flight.

What makes him a 1st round pick? He won’t be a star right away, but Wesley absolutely has the versatility, talent and potential to become one in a few years. He is still a young and raw prospect, but his long strides and explosion promise to produce results with some refining of his skills and development of a more consistent perimeter jumper.

10. Christian Braun 6-7 210 Kansas Jayhawks

Braun took his time to decide whether he would stay in the 2022 NBA Draft, but since confirming his place in the field, he’s risen into the late first round of our current projection. The national champion wing has made a solid reputation as a shooter and possesses impressive size one of the highest vertical leaps out of any guard. It’s hard to go wrong when drafting a player with this kind of impressive attributes.

What makes him a 1st round pick? Winning a championship is often a factor that puts players over the top from a scouting perspective. All these traits are worth pulling the trigger to guarantee a two-year option on a team-friendly contract to try to keep this guy around for at least four years during a championship window like teams in the late first round have.


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