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NBA - The Draft: Winners and Losers

25 June 2022 09:09:19 EST
We look at the winners and losers of the NBA Draft

Thursday's NBA Draft threw up some big shocks and it is fair to say that it didn't pan out as most of the experts expected.

Given the players available, it was no real surprise that the analysts did manage to get the top three selections right, but the order in which those players were selected came as a shock to most. Orlando Magic's decision to go for Paolo Banchero with the number 1 pick, having been widely expected to move for Jabari Smith, set the tone for the whole night.

Banchero is rated at +300 to win the 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year award, Smith is +350 and Chet Holmgren, who was selected with the second overall pick by Oklahoma City Thunder, is priced at +450.

As ever, some teams had what looks to have been a fantastic draft and others had less successful nights. We've had a look through the big winners and losers of the 2022 NBA Draft.

2022 NBA Draft Winners

Houston Rockets

Houston were expected to get Banchero with the third pick but Orlando's decision to snap up the Duke product meant Smith ended up joining the Rockets.

Auburn's Smith is almost certainly a better fit for the franchise due to his defensive qualities and three-point shooting ability.  This doesn't mean Orlando lost out by going for Banchero incidentally, indeed he is probably a better fit for them, but the way things unfolded worked out well for the Rockets.

Houston also landed Tari Eason from LSU with their 17th pick and incredibly Kentucky guard Tyty Washington, a consensus five-star recruit, was still available for them at 29 as well, and the Rockets now have a strong core of young players to develop and build a team around in the years ahead.

Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons managed to get Jaden Ivey with their number 5 pick after Sacramento Kings opted against the Purdue guard. That alone would have been enough to make them winners but things got better for the team.

When it became clear that the Pistons had traded Jerami Grant for a protected 2025 first-round draft pick, it was hard to see exactly what the logic was behind that move but ultimately the franchise have done incredibly well.

That meant they went back in the lottery and secured Jalen Duren and it freed up some salary-cap space to bring in veteran Kemba Walker.

It could still get even better for Detroit as they have some room to manoeuvre in free agency and, after finishing in 14th place in the Eastern Conference last season, they may now be able to mount a serious challenge for the postseason spots next year.

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2022 NBA Draft Losers

New York Knicks

New York Knicks went into the draft holding the 11th overall pick but traded that to Oklahoma City Thunder for three future first-round picks.

They did manage to move Walker out for a bit more space on their salary cap, but perhaps not enough to do anything meaningful.  

It could have been a huge night for the Knicks and many were expecting them to attempt to move up the order to go for Ivey. Instead, it looks as if New York are going to go all in for Dallas Mavericks' guard Jalen Brunson or possibly Kyrie Irving in free agency and both look risky moves.

For the Knicks to have the season they have just had, finishing 11th in the East and missing the playoffs, and to then come through the draft - particularly one with so many good prospects available - without signing a youngster, has to be viewed as an error.

Sacramento Kings

The fact Sacramento Kings ended up with Keegan Murray with the fourth pick doesn't make them a loser. They clearly feel the 21-year-old, who won the Big Ten Tournament MVP award with Iowa Hawkeyes last season, is a great fit for the team and he may well prove to be a success in Sacramento.

What makes them a 'loser' in this scenario, is the value they passed up on by simply using their pick to go for Murray.

With Ivey still available, the Kings could definitely have squeezed a bit more out of having that fourth pick - even if it would have just meant switching places with Detroit Pistons and getting a little bit more out of the deal.

The Pistons weren't the only team keen on Ivey, and Sacramento may still have ended up with Murray even if they had slipped a few spots down the order on the basis of any trade. 

The Kings aren't big losers here, but they definitely could have come away with more.

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