The 2022 NBA draft is officially complete, and it was certainly an eventful night. The first big surprise came right off the bat, when the Magic made Duke big man Paolo Banchero the No. 1 overall pick.
Virtually all reporting leading up to draft night had Auburn forward Jabari Smith as the favorite to go first, with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony suggesting earlier this week that it would be a major surprise to most teams around the NBA if Smith wasn’t Orlando’s pick.
Since Smith unexpectedly fell to the Rockets with the No. 3 pick, and they were able to pick up a couple of highly regarded prospects in Tari Eason and TyTy Washington at Nos. 17 and 29 in addition to a couple of future second-rounders, they seem like one of the clear winners tonight. Smith and Eason, in particular, are long, versatile defenders who should immediately improve Houston’s 29th ranked defense, and a core of Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, Eason, Smith, and Alperen Sengun sounds pretty intriguing on paper.
The Thunder used a small portion of their war chest of future draft picks to acquire a third lottery pick, used on French forward Ousmane Dieng with the No. 11 pick (via the Knicks). In addition to Dieng, the Oklahoma City snagged Chet Holmgren at No. 2, Jalen Williams at No. 12, and Jaylin Williams at No. 34 (that definitely won’t be confusing).
The Pistons were able to take Jaden Ivey at No. 5, widely regarded as the top guard prospect in the draft, and added a second lottery pick (No. 13 via the Hornets) in Jalen Duren. The Grizzlies and Timberwolves were both very active during the draft as well, maneuvering up and down to select their preferred targets.
Despite rumors that they were interested in moving into the draft, both the Suns and the Jazz left the draft the same way they entered it, with no draft picks. The Sixers traded out of the draft, but landed 24-year-old De’Anthony Melton from Memphis for the No. 23 pick and Danny Green.
There will be a flurry of undrafted free agent signings in the coming hours and days, but we’d like to take a break from transactions for a moment to solicit your opinions on the draft’s winners and losers. Which teams do you think did the best? Which did the worst? Head to the comments section and share your thoughts!