4 No.22 draft picks who had successful NBA careers

The Phoenix Suns have the 22nd pick in this year's NBA Draft, and looking back through previous classes there is reason to believe they could get a good player.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns
Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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The Phoenix Suns have the 22nd pick in this year's NBA Draft, and already there has been plenty of speculation about who the organization may draft with the pick. The speculation has gone from Zach Edey (before moving up most draft boards) or some other young center, to a teammate of Bronny James Jr. at USC who plays the point.

In fact the younger James himself has also been rumored to be a draft night target for the Suns, and Phoenix is one of only a couple of teams that Bronny has so far worked out for. That would open up the possibility of LeBron James perhaps coming to The Valley on the minimum, with UConn head coach Dan Hurley reportedly turning down the Los Angeles Lakers perhaps another reason to leave.

There has also been talk of the Suns trading the pick altogether, and that may yet be the outcome here.

The Suns need players who can help them win now - not a project who is going to take several years to be able to contribute properly - so attaching the pick to a player to get something back could be the play here. The franchise being in the second apron does make that more difficult though. Should the team keep the pick, here are four (and a half) former 22nd picks who have had nice NBA careers.

4. Walker Kessler

It might feel like a cop out to put Utah Jazz big man Walker Kessler on this list, but we can all agree that he is going to be in the league for a long time to come yet. Kessler finished third in Rookie of the Year voting back in 2022 - and although he didn't kick on as many had hoped in his sophomore outing - he is one of the key pieces for the future for the Jazz.

In fact there was a minute there after the Rudy Gobert trade went down (Kessler was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves by way of Memphis, then Utah but never played with either) that many tried to make the case that Kessler was playing the better basketball of the two. A lot has changed since then, with Kessler still learning and Gobert having proved everybody wrong with the Timberwolves.

Kessler would also be the exact kind of player the Suns would love to get with the 22nd pick this summer, because he was probably a bit more NBA ready than was expected and helped an upstart Jazz group be far more competitive than they should have been in his rookie season.

If rookie Dereck Lively II is the best case scenario for young centers - he has had a starring role all the way to the NBA Finals with the Dallas Mavericks - then Kessler would be a nice little consolation prize. Talk of him being an All-Star one day might have cooled, but he represented super value with that 22nd selection and will be around for a while.