Brooklyn, New York – What if they held the NBA Draft and it was basically – an actual draft instead of a messy trade carnival? Well, Thursday’s 2022 version fits the description when, with a few exceptions later in the first round, the players who put the team hat on their heads before shaking hands with Commissioner Adam Silver still belonged to that team after walking off the stage.
So, the majority of the NBA teams have spoken: We like the guy we took better than the shows we’ve heard.
And so: The draft came and went without any major surprises, and the only drama among the lottery selections was light and settled quickly once the Orlando Magic team picked first place.
The Magic chose Duke’s Paulo Banchero, one of three players widely considered to be some of the best. Unlike in previous seasons, there was no No. 1 consensus among the league’s talent scouts, and Magic never got its hands on the draft; Banchero said he learned he was tied up to Orlando a minute before his name was called.
With a group of young guards – Galen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Markel Fultz – in rotation, Orlando put a premium on securing the front line. Wendell Carter was signed to long-term center and Magic earned positive results in front one from Franz Wagner, one of their first-round picks last year and a first-team All-Rookie pick. So the Magic’s decision was basically between Banchero and Jabbari Smith, who went to Houston in third.
“Adding myself, I think this is going to give a lot of problems to the teams,” Banchero said. “There are three 6-9, 6-10, 6-11 players who can dribble, shoot, and have a high IQ. I think that would be a huge advantage for us.”
Magic rebuilds with assets through clouds; The four oldest defenders last year were aged 23 or younger. This does not include striker Jonathan Isaac, who has not played the past two seasons while recovering from a knee injury. He’s 24 and signed up for a beginner’s extension shortly after starting rehab on his leg.
This plan to rely primarily on the draft for assistance has historically come with mixed results. It worked with the Memphis Grizzlies, who scored the franchise 56 wins and has a bright future. Not so much for the Sacramento Kings, a regular lottery entrant still chasing his first playoff appearance since 2006. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City’s fate is still being determined by a surplus of picks and projects.
Banchero comes with great skills and a mature game, which shows sharp attacking instincts. He helped Duke reach the Final Four last season and confirmed the promise he held from high school, being considered one of the few best players in the country.
“He was the best player in college basketball,” said Jeff Weltman, president of basketball operations for Orlando.
In the end, the first three expected choices filled in those slots in this draft; After Banchero and before Smith, Chet Holmgren, the gangster hub from Gonzaga, went second to Oklahoma City. Then the Commentator project began. While there were eight deals in the first round, only two were in the top 18 picks, and none of them were in the top ten.
The Pistons were expected to be one of the busiest teams of the off season – they mocked it by trading Jerami Grant to Portland earlier in the week, mainly to create roof space. OK: The free agency doesn’t start until July 1, in the meantime, the Pistons have taken the opportunity to cash in on the draft by adding a second second manager in a three-team deal.
The Pistons took guard Jaden Ivey of Purdue for fifth by their own pick, then centered Galen Doreen of Memphis with the Hornets (via the Knicks, more on them later) pick at 13. Which means, next season, the Pistons will feature these two, plus Kid Cunningham. And a friend of Bay, all of whom are 23 or younger, along with anyone else they might add in a free agency.
Charlotte also had 15th, and since that pick was only two spots below, GM Mitch Kupchak thought his man would still be around with the latter. And so the Hornets had targeted Duke’s defensive center Mark Williams, who had arrived and filled a team’s desperate need of muscle power and edge.
“We didn’t feel that using both options was wise,” said Kopchak, given that the Hornets are well represented by the youngsters in their rotation.
The Knicks handed pick number 11 – Osman Deng, who played in New Zealand – to OKC. The Thunder returned three conditional picks from the first round of the treasure chest in future picks.
But that wasn’t the major move of the night for the Knicks, who packed one OKC (23rd place) first-round four with a second-round 13th (Duren) four from Charlotte, which they then packed with Kemba Walker’s paycheck offload to the Pistons. . Once hailed as the Knicks’ primary savior, Walker lost his primary job and was later put on the bench permanently.
There’s a way to the madness: New York wants to free up the same amount of money to do a free agent run, most likely for Mavericks’ Galen Bronson. To sum up: the Knicks traded an 11 (and 13 technical) walker and multiple seconds for cover space (targeted Bronson) and three from the first round into the future.
The Kings used striker Keegan Murray’s fourth pick of Iowa and hope he’s a guard in more ways than one. Two of the last five Kings picks – all in the lottery – are no longer with the club (Marvin Bagley III, Therese Halliburton).
There was a common thread between the Blazers’ selection of 7th place Shydon Sharp and Portland’s Anfernee Simons, who finished 24th in 2018. Neither guards played college ball. Sharp is the secret to this draft. The nation’s No. 1 high school player of 2022 graduated a semester early and joined Kentucky in January to prepare for the 2022-23 college season. But Sharpe, a coaching player during one semester on campus, announced the draft instead. His last official basketball game took place during the spring of 2021 – when he was in high school.
The Timberwolves landed in three late rounds of the first round, aided by trade with the Grizzlies and Mavericks. They ended up with Walker Kessler, center shot obstruction from Auburn, Kentucky guard Ty Washington (later traded to Houston), and wingman Wendell Moore Jr. of Duke. Memphis added a late pair through deals, with Wake Forest’s Jake LaRavia (Timberwolves) and Colorado State’s David Rudy (Sixers) going to the Grizzlies.
The traditionally eventful second round – teams without first-round players are active here – saw a lot of action after the first five selections. The Pistons, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Hornets, and Warriors all added players in the middle of the second round etc through trades.
The second-round picks that made sense in the first round—some were expected to be late in the first round—were Andrew Nymbard of Gonzaga to the Pacers at age 31, Christian Colocco from Arizona to the Raptors at age 33, and Jaden Hardy of the G League Ignite Mavericks Cross Kings at 37.
When the night was over and all the names were called, the draft served its purpose. The teams are getting younger, maybe better. But deep suspense? That would have to wait until a free agency in a week.
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Sean Powell has covered the NBA for over 25 years. You can email him Here, find his archive here and follow him Twitter.
The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of the National Basketball Association, its clubs, or Turner Broadcasting.