The 2022 NBA Draft is a week away and two Michigan Wolverines could come off the board.
Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate both decided to stay in the draft and will both hope to hear their name called next Thursday night. While Houstan did not participate in the combine — with the rumor reported being that he’s got a first round promise — Diabate’s athleticism and defensive prowess impressed scouts at the showcase.
Most mock drafts project them to be drafted in the second round, with a few projecting Houstan to go at the end of the first round. A few prominent mock drafts, like the latest on SB Nation from Ricky O’Donnell or the one on The Ringer from Kevin O’Connor, don’t feature either of them.
Here’s where draft experts project Houstan and Diabate to be picked.
ESPN two-round mock draft (Jonathan Givony)
Houstan picked at No. 29 by the Memphis Grizzlies, Diabate not selected
Analysis from Givony: “One of the big mysteries of the 2022 NBA draft is where Houstan, once a projected top-10 pick, ends up. Houstan declined his invite to the NBA combine, indicating there might be something to the rumors of a first-round promise, or that Houstan has a landing spot with which he’s comfortable in the form of a “soft promise,” which would only prevent him from working out for teams outside a certain range. Houstan’s positional size, defensive awareness and perimeter shooting gives him a high floor as a prospect, despite his disappointing freshman season at Michigan.”
There’s a lot to like about Memphis since it has a great track record of developing young players. For Houstan to maximize his potential as a pro, going to a team like the Grizzlies would be ideal.
Bleacher Report two-round mock draft (Jonathan Wasserman)
Houstan picked at No. 46 by the Detroit Pistons, Diabate picked at No. 53 by the Boston Celtics
Bleacher Report’s mock has both going in the final 12 picks of the draft, but I like the fit for both guys in this one.
The Pistons badly need three-point shooting, and Houstan could provide that. Perhaps he could share time with fellow former Wolverine Isaiah Livers in the second unit. I’m sure many people reading this are also Pistons fans, so it would be cool to see Houstan develop in the state of Michigan and hopefully reach his full potential as a scorer.
Diabate, meanwhile would be going to a great organization that needs more size. He would add to a frontcourt featuring Robert Williams, Al Horford and Grant Williams. While he still needs to improve his outside shot, he could help Boston’s interior defense while catching a few lobs from Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum.
Fantasy Pros one-round mock draft (Mike Randle)
Houstan picked at No. 20 to the Spurs, Diabate not selected
Analysis: “There is a big disconnect between what fans (particularly of Michigan) think of Houston (editor’s note: yes, they did spell his name wrong) and NBA scouts. He declined an invite to the NBA combine, likely believing he is already a first-round pick. He only shot 38.4 percent from the floor but 35.4 percent from 3P range. Houston has a smooth jump shot. and scouts are rumored to still be enamored by his five-star talent. The Spurs need three-point shooting, and Houston pairs nicely with Agbaji as San Antonio’s first two draft picks.”
San Antonio has a nice group of young talent with Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson at the forefront. Houstan could at the very least be a 3-and-D guy in that group with upside to do even more.
NBA draft room two-round mock (Staff)
Houstan picked at No. 42 by the New York Knicks, Diabate picked at No. 46 by the Detroit Pistons
Analysis: “Houstan had an up and down year but his potential as an elite 3pt shooter at 6-8 will be very enticing on draft day... Diabate is an incredibly versatile defender who makes energy plays all over the court. He has an elite frame and an emerging game.”
The Knicks don’t seem like a great fit for Houstan; head coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t have a great track record with young players and Houstan has never prioritized defense, which is a big part of New York’s identity.
In Detroit, Diabate could develop alongside Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III. Perhaps practicing with those two guys can help improve his strength on defense and outside shot.
CBS Sports one-round mock draft (Gary Parrish)
Houstan picked at No. 28 to the Golden State Warriors, Diabate not selected
Analysis: “Houstan declined an invitation to the NBA Combine, at which point speculation grew that he might have a first-round promise. His lone season at Michigan was largely underwhelming — but he’s still a talented wing with size in possession of an encouraging jumper, which automatically makes him a legitimate prospect.”
Now this is a fit I could get behind. The Warrior’s offensive system is great for three-point shooters and they’ve shown they can develop young talent over the past few years (look what’s happened with Jordan Poole over the last few years). This is a destination Houstan could thrive offensively.
Sports Illustrated’s 2-round mock draft (Brett Siegel)
Houstan picked at No. 30 by the Denver Nuggets, Diabate picked at No. 57 by the Portland Trail Blazers
Analysis: “Should they hold onto this pick though, Denver will be looking to add forward depth and a prospect that they can spend time developing. Caleb Houstan is a high-potential combo forward that was a Top-10 recruit coming out of high school last year. Things did not necessarily work out for him at Michigan, but Houstan still has a ton of potential to develop into a key two-way weapon on the perimeter because of his length and pure scoring mentality.”
(No analysis given for Diabate)
In this mock, Houstan gets to join an organization that’s become a playoff staple. Perhaps a winning environment is the best thing for him.
Diabate would get a lot of time to play in Portland, given all the young pieces on that roster. That seems to be a franchise in flux, but maybe Diabate’s energy can be a small piece of them getting back on track.
BasketballNews.com 2-round mock draft (Staff)
Houstan picked at No. 41 by the New Orleans Pelicans, Diabate picked at No. 46 by Detroit Pistons
Analysis: “Caleb Houstan, a five-star recruit for head coach Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines, is a high-level outside shooter, potentially a marksman, that possesses positional size at 6-foot-8. Houstan’s size, mechanics, shot-making are special, but there are questions about his versatility and consistency. He is one to monitor as the season wraps up, and is a viable, floor-stretching option in June’s NBA Draft.”
“Standing 6-foot-10 and 216 pounds and possessing an impressive 7-foot-2 wingspan, while also being capable of moving fluidly, Moussa Diabaté’s physical tools jump off of the page. While he is still a work in progress on the offensive end, Diabaté’s talent and versatility on the defensive end should allow him to be effective for the Wolverines right off the bat. If Diabaté is able to properly showcase his talent and make necessary steps in his development throughout the season, he is a strong candidate to be a one-and-done prospect.”