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NBA - The Draft: Five Things We Learned

24 June 2022 10:08:46 EST
The NBA Draft took place overnight on Thursday

It has been a crazy few weeks in the NBA, with the 2022 NBA Finals and Draft now complete.

As is always the case in American sports, teams are already planning for next season, even though the 2022 campaign has just finished.

There's always the feeling that there is no rest for the wicked, and that was certainly the case on Thursday night as the 2022 NBA Draft took place at the Barclays Center in New York.

19-year-old forward Paolo Banchero was selected as the No.1 pick, and there was plenty to take away from Thursday's Draft.

Orlando hoping Banchero can bring the Magic

The Orlando Magic sprung a surprise when they picked first on Thursday, as they selected Banchero despite never meeting the young star.

Most experts claimed Auburn's Jabari Smith Jr. would be on his way to Orlando, but by picking Banchero, the Magic are clearly planning for a long and prosperous future.

They already have a young group of forwards, and Banchero should gel well with Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter.

Banchero is one of two freshmen with 600 points, 300 rebounds and 100 assists in a season over the previous 30 Division I campaigns, so Orlando should get plenty for their investment.

The former Blue Devils ace averaged 17.2 points across last season, and he could make an immediate impact for the Magic, who finished last season with a record of 22-60.

Experts on the money in 2022

The build-up to the NBA Draft is intense, and a fair few "experts" will often lay their cards on the table.

While most expected Banchero to go later in the Draft, the top three selections were mentioned on most analysts' board, and while the order in which they were selected surprised many, the best three players found their new home early on.

Oklahoma City Thunder selected Chet Holmgren as expected, and even though he needs to work on his frame and strength, he looks ready to tackle the big time.

Smith Jr. will play for the Houston Rockets next season, and if all predictions are correct, the trio will make an immediate impact at the highest level.

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British star under the spotlight

Baylor's Jeremy Sochan was one of the main talking points ahead of the Draft, with the forward having been born in the UK.

Polish-American Sochan grew up in Southampton and Milton Keynes, and he joined an elite club after being drafted by the San Antonio Spurs.

In the 75-year history of the NBA, only seven players developed in the UK have played in the league, and Sochan joins the likes of Luol Deng, John Amaechi and Robert Archibald.

The last British player to enter an NBA Draft was Ryan Richards in 2010, but he never played a game for the Spurs.

Sochan will now hope to break that mould and prove British players can be a success, and if his Draft selection is anything to go by, the Spurs believe in him.

Detroit and Oklahoma make their moves

Both the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder made some power moves to ensure they would be in a better position for 2023.

The Pistons were shocked to see guard Jaden Ivey still on the board when they picked at No.5, but he was the best player available when they made their choice.

Ivey is one of the most athletic players in this year's Draft, while they then added Jalen Duren in the second round to add some more steel to their team.

The Pistons sent the Charlotte Hornets their 2025 first-round pick to land Duren, while Oklahoma sent three future first-round picks to New York in order to sign Ousmane Dieng. They then added Jalen Williams to their roster to ensure they will be in a better position for next season.

Knicks' plan a little hard to follow

New York Knicks fans probably struggled to watch the Draft as they ended up giving away their No.11 pick, but they traded that away for four second-round selections. They then sent Kemba Walker to Detroit, another move which further reinforced the Pistons.

The Knicks' plan seems to suggest they will go big in free agency, but that does not soften the blow for a few weeks unless they can sign the likes of Jalen Brunson or Kyrie Irving.

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