In a typical NBA draft, each team receives two picks — one in the first round and one in the second. However, as our pre-lottery draft order shows, only five NBA teams (the Knicks, Pistons, Hawks, Wizards, and Rockets) control exactly two picks in the 2022 draft. The other 25 clubs currently hold either more or less than that.
Two of the picks in the 2022 draft have been forfeited — Milwaukee and Miami lost second-rounders as penalties for jumping the gun in free agency.
Of the draft’s 58 remaining selections, 10 are controlled by the five teams noted above. Twelve more are owned by the Spurs, Timberwolves, and Thunder, who have four apiece. And 27 others are held by the Cavaliers, Pacers, Hornets, Magic, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Warriors, and Kings, who each have three.
That leaves nine picks for the league’s remaining 13 teams. The Celtics, Raptors, Bulls, Bucks, Heat, Mavericks, Nuggets, and Clippers each own one, while the final pick – No. 23 overall – will be controlled by either the Nets or Sixers. Philadelphia traded it to Brooklyn in the James Harden blockbuster, but the Nets have the option of letting the 76ers keep it and acquiring Philadelphia’s unprotected 2023 first-round pick instead.
Whichever team ends up not getting No. 23 will be one of four clubs that doesn’t currently have a draft pick in 2022. The other three? The Suns, Jazz, and Lakers.
Phoenix traded away its 2022 first-round pick two years ago for Chris Paul and its second-rounder earlier this year for Torrey Craig. Given that the Suns won 64 games and ensured those picks will land at No. 30 and No. 60, it’s safe to assume they have no regrets.
Like Phoenix, the Jazz used their 2022 first-rounder to acquire their current starting point guard (Mike Conley). The team gave up its second-rounder two years ago to land Elijah Hughes. Those trades may not have been quite as successful as the Suns’ deals, but the picks Utah surrendered landed in the bottom third of the draft order, at No. 22 and No. 52 — that’s not a huge loss.
The Lakers, who missed the playoffs, will have to surrender a lottery pick this year. We don’t know yet where exactly it will land, but the odds say it’ll probably be at least No. 8 or No. 9 — and it could end up as high as No. 1.
The Lakers can at least take solace in the fact that they gave up both of their 2022 draft picks in the Anthony Davis blockbuster, which helped them win a title in 2020. Still, of the teams without any ’22 draft selections, L.A. is the club that could most use one to inject its roster with some young, inexpensive talent. It will be interesting to see whether the Lakers find a way to get involved in this year’s draft, flexing their financial muscle by buying their way into the second round.