The 2022 NBA Draft took place at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York this past Thursday evening, and it was a night of wins all-around for basketball fans north of the border. Four Canadians were selected including two lottery picks in the top 10, the 3rd time that has happened in NBA history.  

In this article we will detail the first few selections before examining the Canadians selected and the Toronto Raptors lone pick of the evening in the second round.  

1st Overall (Orlando Magic): Paolo Banchero – F – Duke 

Banchero entered the draft last night as a lock for the Top 3, but there were many who didn’t expect the Magic to begin proceedings by selecting him.  

The Duke product had a remarkable freshman season including a dominant NCAA Tournament where he averaged 18.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG and 3.4 APG. His natural offensive talent is undeniable, and at 6’10 he was able to score at ease at the collegiate level.  

All things point to his effectiveness carrying over to the professional game, but his defence and conditioning have raised some eyebrows. He’s been cited as lacking consistent defensive energy in the past, and he’s going to have to show more on that end of the floor if he hopes to reach his pro ceiling.  

Banchero isn’t the safest #1 selection of all time, but in a bit of weak draft class overall, he’s very deserving of a top pick and should have a great career ahead of him.  

2nd Overall (Oklahoma City Thunder): Chet Holmgren – F/C – Gonzaga  

Chet Holmgren may very well be the most interesting player in the draft: a 7-foot, extremely lanky big who can handle the basketball and hit shots from all over the floor.  

His biggest weakness is his size and there is no doubt that he will have to put on muscle, but if he can do so he has the potential to be a generational player. He has great rebounding instincts and a natural offensive skillset, and will be joining an exciting Thunder team on the rise that includes Canadians Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort. 

Gonzaga’s sudden and unexpected loss in the NCAA Tournament killed a little bit of the momentum for Holmgren, but he could have easily been taken #1 overall, and may be the best player from the class when it’s looked back upon in a decade or two. 

3rd Overall (Houston Rockets): Jabari Smith Jr – F – Auburn  

Jabari Smith Jr was expected by many to be the #1 pick in this year’s draft, but he fell right in the Houston Rockets lap at #3.  

Even though Smith and Auburn had an ugly loss in the NCAA Tournament that could contain potential warning signs, it’s just one game. The forward was dominant over the course of the season, and has many skills that appear to be transferrable to the NBA game.  

Smith Jr. is a tough shot maker, but there is a bit of concern over how he can create open looks for himself and others; it’s something that he will have to develop in the league if he hopes to find success.  

Still, Smith is a beast on the glass, and has shot blocking ability that will pose a threat anytime he’s on the floor. There is a bit of risk involved, but Smith Jr. is a great selection at #3 due to his extremely high ceiling and pro potential. 

6th Overall (Indiana Pacers): Bennedict Mathurin – G/F – Arizona   

The first Canadian off the board was Montreal’s Bennedict Mathurin, who comes off an incredible season at Arizona.  

Mathurin struggled in Arizona’s final game of the NCAA Tournament, but was on an absolute tear before then, showcasing his talents on the biggest stage in collegiate hoops.  

The Canadian is an explosive scorer who can beat you in multiple ways. He wasn’t always the most efficient, but Mathurin is a highlight reel waiting to happen, and he’s a threat to take a game over every time he steps on the floor.  

He’s a plus-scorer with an excellent jump shot that he developed over the course of the season, and he has improved immensely as a playmaker as well.  

The issue with Mathurin mostly comes down to defensive intensity and decision making, but these are things that can easily be corrected at the NBA level. 

The future is bright for the Quebec native and Indiana will be a great place for him to get playing time and develop with little expectation or pressure. Needless to say, Pacer games will be noteworthy television for Canadian hoops fans next season.  

7th Overall (Portland Trail Blazers): Shaedon Sharpe – G – Kentucky (Dream City Christian)

The second Canadian was selected just one pick after the first, as London, ON native Shaedon Sharpe was selected by the Trail Blazers.  

Sharpe is a big body that looks like an NBA-ready player when you see his frame, which is always a bonus for teams drafting in the lottery. He has a long wingspan and is able to move up and down the court with agility; gifts that you aren’t necessarily able to teach.  

Outside of just physical talent though, Sharpe is a gifted shooter, which is something that will almost certainly translate to the NBA level. He improved as a passer as well during his time at Kentucky, and has evolved into an all-around offensive threat.   

He isn’t the most day-1-ready player in the draft and will need quite a bit of development before taking a leap at the next level, but many scouts think Sharpe is the best guard in the draft, and he will be a treat for Canadians to watch for many years to come.  

31st Overall (Indiana Pacers): Andrew Nembhard – G – Gonzaga 

A second Canadian headed to Indiana as the Pacers selected Andrew Nembhard to begin the second round. The Gonzaga product had an outstanding four-year collegiate career that saw him improve drastically from each season to the next. By the end of his senior year, Nembhard seemed like a lock for the NBA draft, and he ended up being just one pick shy of a first-round selection, following a great performance at the NBA Combine, which undoubtedly led to his rise in the draft rankings. 

Nembhard is NBA-ready when it comes to his size at 6’5, and has improved his offensive game tremendously. The Aurora, ON native is an efficient playmaker, and quietly became an above-average shooter towards the end of his Bulldogs tenure as well.  

He isn’t the most naturally gifted or explosive player, but Nembhard is versatile and will always give maximum effort. He’s the type of guy that coaches love to coach, and will likely be the kind of second-round pick that lasts in this league for a long time.  

32nd Overall (Orlando Magic): Caleb Houstan – F – Michigan  

The trend of back-to-back Canadians being selected continued in the second round as the Orlando Magic selected Mississauga’s Caleb Houstan with the 32nd pick.   

Houstan has had great success in high school and at the international level with Canadian youth teams, but unfortunately didn’t have the best season at Michigan.   

Still though, it’s obvious that Houstan has talent, and he will get the chance to develop in a low-pressure situation in Orlando. When he’s at his best, the Canadian is a dynamic offensive threat that can create for himself as well as for others, and the hope is that he will be able to regain his form with development from a professional organization.   

33rd Overall (Toronto Raptors): Christian Koloko – F/C – Arizona  

The Toronto Raptors had only one selection in this year’s NBA Draft after trading their first-round pick to acquire Thaddeus Young last season, and they used it on a very Raptor-esque player.  

Christian Koloko out of Arizona is a defensive juggernaut, and projects to be a bit of a steal at 33. His offensive game is raw, but he instantly becomes the biggest player on Toronto’s roster at 7’0 tall, and will be adjusting to the pro game with one of the best organizations in the NBA in terms of development.  

He’ll need to get a bit stronger and certainly won’t turn heads overnight, but Koloko is a project for the future on a team that has a proven track record of success. To make things even more appropriate, Koloko is from Cameroon, and grew up in the exact same hometown as Pascal Siakam.  

Notes: St. Catherines, ON native Abu Kijab, who had a tremendous senior season with the Boise State Broncos, has been named as a Raptors Summer League roster participant. 


Kigab was a pivotal piece in the Broncos’ historic 2021-22 season in which they claimed the MW regular-season championship outright. Kigab was named the 2022 MW Championship Most Valuable Player after averaging 14.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game over a three-day run to lead Boise State to its first conference tournament title since joining the MW. In the Broncos’ first NCAA tournament appearance since 2014, Kigab led Boise State with a 20-point effort, one of five 20-point performances in his final eight games of the campaign.

2022 NBA Las Vegas Summer League schedule click HERE

Toronto Raptors Summer League schedule:

July 9, 1:30 p.m. MT | Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers | NBA TV
July 12, 3 p.m. MT | Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls | NBA TV
July 13, 6 p.m. MT | Toronto Raptors vs. Utah Jazz | ESPNU
July 15, 8 p.m. MT | Toronto Raptors vs. Miami Heat | NBA TV

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