2022 WBA draft preview
By Turk Moran
2022 might be the most bizarre and unpredictable draft in WBA history. Logic dictates that you usually draft the best player available, despite what a team’s need might dictate. But following in Isidore Masquely’s footsteps, some IBF veterans have decided to declare themselves eligible for this draft. Then 28, Masquely was the 2nd pick in the 2021 draft and immediately became a contributor on powerhouse Gabon. So we might see this trend continue this season, as we have five of the nine projected lottery selections aged 24 or older. Here are the predictions for the lottery part of the draft, the rest being too much of a crapshoot to try and guess and its friday, its been a long week.
#1: Atlanta Bloods select SF Emmett McKoy, Columbus Poly
Number 1 recruit coming out of high school, freshman of the year, All American, GCBA champion. McKoy has the highest ceiling of all the players in this draft as he might be the only player with all-league talent. Atlanta has a young core in need of a center but I think McKoy’s potential is too good to pass up on. Only 19, he will need a couple of seasons before being an important contributor but he will be a great asset for Atlanta wether as a trade chip or future contributor.
#2: Cancun selects SG Alexander Saavedra, Spain
What a sorry franchise this has become, They blew up a solid playoff team and this pick is the reward after an horrendous seven win season marred by controversies, Saavedra’s ceiling is a bit low for a #2 pick but the lanky 6’9 guard can play defense and Cancun loves defense. He has little room to grow as a player even at 19 but he will be able to contribute right now. Cancun has also been interested in bringing Spanish speaking players to heal the team’s image with its fans. So this kid makes sense here.
#3: London selects PF Justus Poulsen, Finland
London has to win now, with new GM David Morfeld taking over the franchise. They have a two year window to prove to superstar Benet Da Gama that this is the place he will win. I have a feeling that if this pick is not traded for immediate help, they will draft the best available player right now in 28 year old Justus Poulsen. Poulsen is an athletic freak who was an efficient scorer in the IBF and one of the best rebounders. He should bring those qualities right away to the team that drafts him. This would mean Da Gama slides over to SF, which could be easier for him as he was plagued by injuries in his two first seasons.
#4: Toronto selects PG Samuel Western, Philadelphia
Hard to predict what direction Toronto is going in. They have a solid veteran backcourt in Damien Bohm and Friedrich Egg. A couple of young promising players too. Western, in our opinion, has the second highest ceiling of all players and has the most pure point guard skills. The third youngest player in the draft will need time and patience to blossom but it will be worth it when he does.
#5: Frankfurt selects SF Gabriel Leclerc, France
Led by a promising young backcourt and a duo of savvy big men (and the probable return of young center Guilhem Lamerand), the Fury might be the first team to go for need, although Leclerc is arguably the best player available here. The 6’8 forward will be one of the best defenders in the draft and is athletic and talented enough to start right now at 23 years old.
#6: Salt Lake City selects: C Les Mask, Germany
Every young talented prospect’s nightmare is getting drafted by the Fanatics and rotting on the bench. The 25 year old Mask is pretty much a finished product and will be able to step in and contribute immediately. One ot the IBF’s leading scorers and rebounders, he should be solid if unspectacular and avoid the prospect’s curse in SLC.
#7: Cape Town selects: C Bonifacio Montoya, Spain
Another IBF veteran, the spectacular Montoya, 27, brings his exciting game to the WBA. Over in the IBF, Montoya had impressive stats per minute but he had some trouble staying on the floor due to foul trouble. This should not get better in the WBA but when he is on the court, he is the best center in this class.
#8: Albacete selects: PG Étienne Malfait, France
The 5’10, 25 year old Malfait will be an immediate contributor to a contending Albacete squad. The French young veteran can lead an offense but is also the best three point shooter in the draft, which should be a perfect fit in Albacete. Another solid, low ceiling player coming over a bit later than usual, which should make a top team like the Burning Hell very happy.
#9: Brooklyn selects: PF Arnaud Dechamps, France
The last of the IBF veterans taken in the lottery, Deschamps is a solid inside scorer and rebounder. Averaged an impressive 21 points and 9 rebounds in the IBF. At 25, he is prepared to make an immediate impact and should be a great big option off the bench for Brooklyn.