Pelicans Rumors

Magic Win 2022 NBA Draft Lottery; Thunder, Rockets, Kings In Top Four

With Tuesday night’s lottery results now official, the top 14 slots for the 2022 NBA draft have been set. The lottery order is as follows:

  1. Orlando Magic
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder
  3. Houston Rockets
  4. Sacramento Kings
  5. Detroit Pistons
  6. Indiana Pacers
  7. Portland Trail Blazers
  8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Lakers)
  9. San Antonio Spurs
  10. Washington Wizards
  11. New York Knicks
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Clippers)
  13. Charlotte Hornets
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers

It’s great news for the rebuilding Magic, who finished dead last in the Eastern Conference this season and had the NBA’s second-worst record (22-60). They entered the night tied for the best odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick at 14.0%, and will be picking first in the draft for the first time since 2004, when they selected Dwight Howard.

This time around, the Magic appear likely to draft a big man once again. Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith, and Duke’s Paolo Banchero, all power forwards or centers, are widely considered to be the top prospects in the 2022 class. Orlando could add one of them to a core that includes 2021 lottery picks Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs.

The Thunder are one of the night’s other big winners, moving up from fourth in the pre-lottery order to No. 2 overall. The rebuilding squad is loaded with first-round picks over the next five years, and will have the opportunity to draft a potential franchise player next month to complement guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Oklahoma City is the only team with two picks in this year’s lottery, having acquired the No. 12 overall selection from the Clippers.

The Rockets will have a top-three pick for a second straight year after nabbing Jalen Green second overall in 2021. They’ll be followed by the Kings, who moved up from seventh in the pre-lottery order to No. 4 in the draft, making good on their 31.9% chance to jump into the top four.

It’s the fourth consecutive time that the seventh team in the lottery standings has moved into the top four. The Pelicans (Zion Williamson), Hornets (LaMelo Ball), and Raptors (Scottie Barnes) did it in 2019, 2020, and 2021 after the NBA revamped its lottery format ahead of the 2019 event.

The Pistons, Pacers, and Trail Blazers were among the biggest losers on lottery night. Detroit moved down two spots, from No. 3 to No. 5, while Indiana and Portland both dropped one spot from their place in the pre-lottery order, landing at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.

Since the Lakers’ first-round pick stayed at No. 8, it will head to the Pelicans rather than the Grizzlies — Memphis would have received it if it had fallen out of the top 10.

The rest of the lottery played out as expected, with the Spurs, Wizards, Knicks, Thunder, Hornets, and Cavaliers rounding out the top 14.

2022 NBA Draft Lottery Primer

The 2022 NBA draft lottery will take place on Tuesday night prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Heat and Celtics. The half-hour event will be broadcast on ESPN beginning at 7:00 pm central time.

This year’s draft pool features a group of four prospects generally considered by experts to be a level above the rest of the class: Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr., Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey. Teams that move into the top four on Tuesday night will have the opportunity to snag one of those potential future stars.

Here’s what you need to know heading into tonight’s lottery:


Pre-Lottery Draft Order:

The top 14 picks in the 2022 NBA draft would look like this if tonight’s lottery results don’t change the order:

  1. Houston Rockets
  2. Orlando Magic
  3. Detroit Pistons
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. Indiana Pacers
  6. Portland Trail Blazers
  7. Sacramento Kings
  8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Lakers)
    • Note: The Grizzlies will receive this pick if it falls to No. 11 or No. 12.
  9. San Antonio Spurs
  10. Washington Wizards
  11. New York Knicks
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Clippers)
  13. Charlotte Hornets
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers

For the full pre-lottery draft order, click here.


Draft Lottery Odds:

The Rockets, Magic, Pistons, and Thunder have the best odds to land the No. 1 pick. Each of those four teams has a 14.0% chance to pick first overall.

Typically, only the top three teams in the lottery standings would have a 14.0% shot at the No. 1 overall pick, but the Thunder join that group by virtue of holding two lottery picks — there’s a 12.5% chance that their own pick will move up to No. 1 and a 1.5% chance the Clippers’ pick, which they also control, will be No. 1.

From there, the Pacers (10.5%), Trail Blazers (9.0%), Kings (7.5%), and Pelicans (6.0%) have the best odds to receive the first overall pick.

For the full draft lottery odds for all 14 spots, click here.


Trades Affecting The Draft Lottery:

The Clippers and Lakers are the only non-playoff teams that have traded away their lottery picks this year, and neither team put protections on its traded first-rounder.

The Thunder will receive the Clippers’ pick, as detailed above.

The Lakers’ pick technically still remains up for grabs, depending on the lottery results, due to a trade between New Orleans and Memphis. Here are the details on that deal:

Pelicans/Grizzlies

The Pelicans will acquire the Lakers’ pick if it lands in the top 10, while the Grizzlies will receive it if it ends up at No. 11 or 12.

Since the Lakers finished eighth in the lottery standings, there’s approximately a 99.5% chance that New Orleans will hang onto the pick. At least three teams in the 9-14 range would have to jump into the top four in order for Memphis to receive it.


Draft Lottery Representatives:

The representatives for each of this year’s lottery teams are as follows, according to a pair of announcements from the NBA:

  1. Houston Rockets
    • On stage: Rafael Stone (general manager)
    • Lottery room: Clay Allen (general counsel)
  2. Orlando Magic

    • On stage: Jeff Weltman (president of basketball operations)
    • Lottery room: Joel Glass (chief communications officer)
  3. Detroit Pistons

    • On stage: Richard Hamilton (former Pistons player)
    • Lottery room: George David (assistant GM)
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder

    • On stage: Nick Collison (former Thunder player / special assistant to GM)
    • Lottery room: Sam Presti (executive VP / general manager)
  5. Indiana Pacers

    • On stage: Kelly Krauskopf (assistant GM)
    • Lottery room: Chad Buchanan (general manager)
  6. Portland Trail Blazers

    • On stage: Damian Lillard
    • Lottery room: Dewayne Hankins (president of business operations)
  7. Sacramento Kings

  8. New Orleans Pelicans

    • On stage: Swin Cash-Canal (VP of basketball operations)
    • Lottery room: David Griffin (executive VP of basketball operations)
  9. San Antonio Spurs

    • On stage: David Robinson (former Spurs player / strategic partner)
    • Lottery room: Niraj Mulji (director of basketball strategy)
  10. Washington Wizards

    • On stage: Wes Unseld Jr. (head coach)
    • Lottery room: Tommy Sheppard (president of basketball operations / general manager)
  11. New York Knicks
    • On stage: William Wesley (executive VP / senior basketball advisor)
    • Lottery room: Brock Aller (VP of basketball and strategic planning)
  12. Charlotte Hornets
  13. Cleveland Cavaliers

    • On stage: Anderson Varejao (former Cavaliers player / team ambassador)
    • Lottery room: Jon Nichols (VP of basketball strategy and personnel)

Lottery Format:

This will be the fourth year that the NBA uses its revamped lottery system, which reduces the odds that the league’s very worst teams will land a top pick and makes the top four selections available via the lottery, instead of the top three.

Before the NBA changed its lottery format, there was a 60.5% chance that one of the league’s bottom three teams would secure the No. 1 pick, and only a 27.6% chance that a team in the 5-14 range of the lottery standings would do so. Now, those odds are 42.0% and 45.5%, respectively.

The results since the new format was implemented have shown that the smoothed-out odds have the potential to create a little more mayhem on lottery night.

In 2019, the Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Lakers claimed three of the top four picks despite ranking seventh, eighth, and 11th, respectively, in the lottery standings. In 2020, the Hornets and Bulls each moved up four spots, from Nos. 7 and 8 to Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.

A year ago, the results were more by-the-numbers. However, the seventh spot in the lottery standings was lucky again, this time for the Raptors, who moved up to No. 4 and grabbed eventual Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes.

For full details on the revamped lottery format, click here.

Western Notes: Griffin, Williamson, Morant, Grizzlies, Wolves

Pelicans star Zion Williamson is eligible to sign a contract extension with the team this summer, but executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin admitted that negotiations could be challenging, as relayed by Christian Clark of NOLA.com.

“Obviously, that conversation is going to be one that will be a challenge,” Griffin said. “When it’s time to have that, we’ll have it. And right now what we’re focused on is him being healthy, and (being in) kind of elite condition to play basketball, and we’ll start there.”

Clark explores what Griffin could’ve meant by using the word “challenge,” noting that Williamson has dealt with multiple injuries since being drafted. The former No. 1 overall pick expressed optimism last month about staying in New Orleans long-term, but he’s only appeared in 85 games across three seasons with the team.

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Speaking of contract extensions, Grizzlies star Ja Morant is eager to sign one with the team this offseason, as shared by Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal (video link). Morant is coming off a career-best season, averaging 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. “I’m definitely happy to be here. Memphis is my home,” Morant said, later offering a “hell yeah” to whether he wants to stay long-term.
  • Morant is also hoping to avoid offseason surgery on his knee, as relayed by the Memphis Commerical Appeal. The 22-year-old suffered a bone bruise in Game 3 of the Grizzlies‘ second-round series against Golden State. He didn’t play for the rest of the series.
  • The Timberwolves have declined to pick up their option on assistant general manager Gianluca Pascucci‘s contract for next season, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who explores what the team’s recent front office changes say about Sachin Gupta‘s future with the organization. Minnesota agreed this week to hire Steve Senior as an assistant GM.

Fischer’s Latest: Jazz, Conley, Snyder, Popovich, Graham

Speculation about the potential breakup of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert appears to be fueled more by people outside of the Jazz organization than those within it, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says sources from the team and around the NBA believe that CAA has been responsible for many of the whispers involving Mitchell’s future.

According to Fischer, team owner Ryan Smith is willing to spend big on a contender, and Utah has no plans to rebuild. Smith also likes the idea of having multiple players in the 2023 All-Star Game, which the Jazz will host.

Although some rival executives believe a Gobert trade is a possibility and view the Mavericks, Hawks, and Raptors as potential destinations, Fischer says the Jazz are focused on upgrading their defense, so moving a three-time Defensive Player of the Year seems counterintuitive. On the other hand, complementary players like Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale, and perhaps even Mike Conley are considered more realistic trade candidates.

Fischer wonders if the Clippers or the Knicks might have interest in Conley, another CAA client. With the Jazz seeking help on the wing, Evan Fournier could theoretically headline a Knicks offer for Conley if they miss out on Jalen Brunson, says Fischer, though he notes that some staffers in New York would prefer to stay in-house and give Immanuel Quickley an expanded role.

As for the Clippers, Fischer is skeptical that a Conley trade offer centered around sharpshooter Luke Kennard would appeal to a Utah team looking to improve its defense and suggests that a more realistic point guard target for L.A. would be John Wall, assuming he and the Rockets work out a buyout. Wall has also been linked to the Heat, but Fischer’s sources believe Miami’s interest predated last year’s acquisition of Kyle Lowry.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • There’s “little expectation” among people close to the situation that Quin Snyder will leave the Jazz before his contract expires in 2023, says Fischer. Snyder also holds an option for the 2023/24 season.
  • Jazz CEO Danny Ainge doesn’t appear inclined to shake up the team’s basketball operations department. According to Fischer, major changes would likely only occur if former head of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey gets a top front office job elsewhere and wants to bring some Utah executives with him.
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who is traveling and considering his coaching future, plans to visit Belgrade for the EuroLeague Final Four later this month, a source tells Fischer. The general sense is that Popovich seems interested in coaching San Antonio for at least one more season, Fischer adds.
  • The Pelicans are among the teams believed to be considering a possible point guard upgrade this offseason, reports Fischer. Devonte’ Graham saw his role reduced significantly in the playoffs and some people around the league think he could end up on the trade block this offseason, but sources tell Fischer the Pels aren’t motivated to move on from Graham like they were with Eric Bledsoe a year ago.

Clark: Pelicans Should Draft Jabari Smith If They Get No. 1 Pick

  • If the Pelicans win this year’s draft lottery, they should use the No. 1 pick to select Jabari Smith Jr., according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com, who makes a case for why the Auburn star would be the best fit for New Orleans.

Southwest Notes: Morant-Poole, Adams, Pelicans, Doncic

When Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks committed a hard foul on Warriors guard Gary Payton II, in an eventual 106-101 Game 2 Memphis win, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had harsh words for the play. “There’s a code that players follow,” Kerr said at the time. “Dillion Brooks broke the code.” Payton fractured his elbow and is set to miss three-to-five weeks of postseason play with the injury. Brooks was subsequently suspended for one game.

Now that the shoe is potentially on the other foot, Alex Kennedy of Basketball News wonders if the code was broken once again in Game 3, a 142-112 Warriors win. Warriors guard Jordan Poole grabbed Grizzlies All-Star point guard Ja Morant‘s right knee on a play, and Morant subsequently left the contest with an apparent injury. Morant initially tweeted a video of the Poole foul, while quoting Kerr’s “broke the code” comment. Morant has since wiped that post.

“I don’t have a take,” Kerr said of the interaction, per Mark Medina of NBA.com (via Twitter). “There’s nothing to comment on.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Grizzlies center Steven Adams deserves to return to the Memphis starting lineup, opines Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Though the more athletic and switchable Xavier Tillman has supplanted Adams at center for the Grizzlies’ last six contests, Cole believes the rebounding of Adams will be key for Memphis against the smaller Warriors. The burly big man is also excellent at the kinds of little plays that may not show up in box scores, such as devastating screen-setting.
  • The Pelicans have a variety of intriguing roster-building decisions to make during their offseason. Will Guillory of The Athletic discusses a handful of issues for New Orleans this summer, including potential extensions for new additions CJ McCollum and Larry Nance Jr., the team’s future at point guard, the fate of Jaxson Hayes, and more. The first part of Guillory’s series on the Pelicans’ offseason was previously linked here.
  • Mavericks All-Star guard Luka Doncic has flexed plenty of playoff muscle this postseason, leading Dallas to its first second-round appearance in 11 years. Cydney Henderson of USA Today writes that Doncic proved his mettle in his winning both a EuroLeague title and EuroLeague MVP in 2018, prior to arriving stateside in the NBA draft. He has been training his whole life for this moment. Henderson notes that Doncic has been playing basketball since he was seven months old. His father Sasa Doncic was a pro in various European leagues. “I played basketball because (my dad) played basketball,” Doncic said. “I was always with him on the court. Always at the games just shooting basketballs.”

Jose Alvarado Is Focused On Defensive Player Of The Year Honors

  • Coming off an impressive playoff performance, Pelicans rookie Jose Alvarado announced this week that he wants to eventually win Defensive Player of the Year honors. “One day I’m going win DPOY,” he tweeted Thursday. “Mark my word!”

Green Sees Parallels Between 2022 Pelicans, 2020 Suns

  • Pelicans head coach Willie Green – whose team had a strong second half, earned a playoff spot in the play-in tournament, and played Phoenix tough in the first round – sees parallels between this year’s Pelicans and the 2020 Suns, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “(Suns head coach) Monty (Williams) and I talked about it in the hallway after the game,” said Green, who was an assistant on Williams’ staff when the Suns went 8-0 in the 2020 Orlando bubble. “… Those moments, that experience will help us in the future. That’s very similar to what we went through in Phoenix together.”
  • William Guillory of The Athletic takes a look at some of the biggest offseason questions facing the Pelicans, discussing Zion Williamson‘s contract situation, the need to add more outside shooting, and what to do with the Lakers’ lottery pick.

Southwest Notes: Hardaway, Brunson, Zion, Grizzlies

Mavericks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to recover from the surgically repaired fractured left foot that caused him to miss nearly half of the 2021/22 regular season and all of Dallas’ first-round 4-2 defeat of the Jazz. It certainly doesn’t sound like Hardaway will return in time for these playoffs — he has yet to be cleared to run, per Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

“He’s shooting the ball, but from my eye, he hasn’t done any running or anything yet,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said in discussing Hardaway’s progress. “So that’s more of a medical question, but right now he’s out.” 

Dallas has officially announced (Twitter link) that Hardaway will miss the first game of the Mavericks’ second-round matchup against the Suns. Across 42 healthy contests for the Dallas, the 6’5″ shooting guard out of Michigan averaged 14.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 2.2 APG this season, on .394/.336/.757 shooting splits.

There’s more out of the Southwest:

  • A left calf strain to Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic allowed his starting backcourt mate Jalen Brunson to step up his own offensive game, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. Brunson has earned rave reviews from his former Villanova teammate Mikal Bridges, whose Suns will face off against Brunson’s Mavericks in their upcoming second-round matchup starting Monday. “He’s been hooping all year,” Bridges enthused. “When Luka went out and he had to step up, he was ready for it. “I’m watching games and I could . . . just tell. I know what shots he’s going to make. I just know. I know how talented he is and how hard he works and how much of a dog he is.” While with Villanova, Bridges and Brunson won two NCAA titles.
  • Pelicans team president David Griffin acknowledged that forthcoming contract extension discussions with 2021 All-Star forward Zion Williamson may not be easy, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. The Pelicans will have the ability to offer Williamson a maximum extension worth up to 25% of the salary cap, with 8% yearly raises. “Obviously, that conversation is going to be one that will be a challenge,” Griffin said. “When it’s time to have that, we’ll have it. And right now what we’re focused on is him being healthy, and (being in) kind of elite condition to play basketball and we’ll start there.” Williamson recently indicated he hoped to remain with the Pelicans and get a deal done. Injuries have limited Williamson to just 85 healthy games across his three seasons of NBA action. The No. 1 overall pick out of Duke in 2019 has been quite productive when available, with career averages of 25.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.2 APG and 0.9 APG.
  • The Grizzlies, currently in the midst of their first playoff game against the Warriors in a 2-3 second-round matchup, might have a “death lineup” of their own, writes Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian. All-Star point guard Ja Morant, breakout second-year shooting guard Desmond Bane, swingman Dillon Brooks, forward Brandon Clarke, and big man Jaren Jackson Jr. could give the Warriors’ ultra-small, shooting-heavy lineups plenty of trouble in their first-round matchup.