Biggest winners and losers from 2022 NBA Draft
The NBA Draft provided plenty of excitement and left room open for debate. Some teams completely turned their franchises around, while others shot themselves in the foot. Today, we are discussing the biggest winners and losers from the 2022 NBA Draft.
2022 NBA Draft biggest winners and losers
2022 NBA Draft winners
The Houston Rockets emerged as clear winners for one major reason in the NBA Draft… Jabari Smith.
Smith was projected to be the number one overall pick by most experts. And many didn’t expect him to fall below the second selection. However, the Orlando Magic shocked the NBA world by taking Paolo Banchero with the first overall selection. The Thunder then drafted Chet Holmgren which left the door open for the Rockets to snag Smith.
Smith averaged just under 17 points per game at Auburn last season. He shot 45 percent from the field and an impressive 42 percent from beyond the arc. Additionally, he is a solid defender and rebounder given his 6’10, 220 pound frame.
And that frame is what makes him so lethal as a player. It isn’t all that often that a player of that size features one of the best jump shots in a draft. There are certainly Kevin Durant comparisons to be made here.
The Rockets have to be thanking their lucky stars Jabari Smith fell to them at pick number 3.
Jaden Ivey was the general consensus number 4 pick amongst many mock drafts. So when Ivey fell to Detroit at pick 5 on draft night, it was rather surprising.
The Pistons now feature a lethal backcourt with last year’s number one overall pick Cade Cunningham paired up alongside Jaden Ivey.
However, the Pistons weren’t done after selecting Ivey.
Detroit later acquired the draft rights to Memphis big man Jalen Duren in a trade with the Knicks. Additionally, they received Kemba Walker as well. But they are expected to agree on a buyout with Walker.
Nonetheless, ending up with Ivey and Duren is impressive to say the least.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans finished the 2021-2022 NBA season on a high note. This is a team with potential moving forward. And they saw that potential skyrocket following their strong 2022 NBA Draft.
The Pelicans kicked off their draft night by selecting Dyson Daniels with the 8th overall pick. Daniels, originally with the G-League Ignite, is known as a strong perimeter defender with a fairly high offensive ceiling. Jimmy Butler is a decent comparison for the Australian born star.
But Daniels was not the Pelicans’ steal of the draft. That distinction belongs to Ohio State product E.J. Liddell. Liddell was projected as a mid-late first round pick before falling to the Pelicans at pick number 41. Although playing time could be sparse for Liddell if Zion Williamson comes back healthy, he has one of the highest ceilings for anybody drafted as late as he was.
New Orleans is building a quality foundation of young talent.
2022 NBA Draft losers
New York Knicks
It’s difficult to summarize the Knicks gameplan. One may call it rebuilding or retooling, while others may refer to it as strategy.
But the Knicks’ flurry of trades on draft night did not leave their fans pleased.
ESPN writer Tim Bontemps recapped New York’s draft results.
What the Knicks did tonight:
NYK trades 11th pick to OKC
OKC trades 3 firsts (23 DEN, DET, WASH) to NYK
NYK then trades 23 DEN, 4 seconds to CHA for 13th pick
NYK then trade 13th pick & Kemba Walker to DET for MKE's 25 first
NYK trades 11, Kemba, 4 2nds & gets 3 future 1sts
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 24, 2022
The Knicks traded the 11th overall pick which ended up being Ousmane Dieng. New York then acquired the 13th overall pick before dealing it to the Pistons along with Kemba Walker. Jalen Duren would end up being selected at pick 13.
Sure, the Knicks received a significant number of picks. But this is a team that seems far away from becoming a contender. They had a chance to add young talent in this draft but opted for picks instead.
To make matters worse, the team declined to discuss their strategy publicly following the draft.
The Kings have a long history of underwhelming draft results. All though it is too early to tell how the 2022 draft will turn out for the team, they undeniably made a questionable decision on Thursday.
Sacramento has young star De’Aaron Fox locked in at point guard. So they didn’t need to draft Jaden Ivey with the fourth overall pick.
Nonetheless, many experts predicted that Sacramento would either trade the fourth overall pick or select Ivey anyways. After all, Ivey was the clear draft option following the big three of Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jabari Smith.
But the Kings opted to go in a different direction. They instead drafted forward Keegan Murray.
Murray enjoyed a successful 2021-2022 season at Iowa. On the surface this isn’t an awful pick. But the Kings could have received an absolute haul had they decided to deal their fourth overall pick away. Murray’s upside doesn’t justify Sacramento drafting him instead of trading the pick or selecting Ivey.
The Kings and Knicks stood out as losers on draft night. But the Wizards selection of Johnny Davis at number 10 is questionable.
However, I do believe Johnny Davis has a high ceiling in the NBA. He is a volume scorer who is lethal off the dribble.
But Washington already has Bradley Beal on the roster. It should be noted that Beal is an unrestricted free agent. So perhaps this draft selection signals a potential departure for Beal from Washington. But if the Wizards resign Beal, they will have two volume scorers with similar skill sets on the roster.
This would lead to a number of isolations and an overall stagnant offense. And even if Beal leaves, Washington’s number of uncertainties are concerning for Davis.
Again, Johnny Davis could end up becoming an NBA star… but this is simply an odd fit.