NEW YORK — Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith were the big winners on Thursday night, moving up to numbers 1-3 in the 2022 NBA Draft. The Orlando Magic had the No. 1 pick for the first time since 2004 and selected Duke’s Banchero, making him Duke’s second No. 1 pick in the past four years (Zion Williamson became No. 1 in 2019). Oklahoma City remains patient with its rebuild, adding the draft’s most polarizing player, 7-foot-1, 195-pound center Chet Holmgren, and Jabari Smith heading to the Houston Rockets.
Many thought Smith would be taken No. 1, but the Magic preferred to build around Banchero. The Duke forward has an NBA-ready body at 250 pounds and the Magic felt comfortable with the size he could bring into the lane immediately alongside Wendell Carter Jr., instead of projecting how the bodies of Smith and Holmgren would fill.
Banchero is one of the best transition greats in the draft with excellent pitch vision and the ability to start the attack more fluidly on a missed shot. Yes, Smith is a better 3-point shooter and the Magic need help in that area, but Banchero is not a wrong perimeter shooter and has great shooting mechanics that he can develop.
There were a few surprise picks, including Patrick Baldwin Jr. moving up to 28th at the Golden State Warriors, and Jaden Ivey getting his wish and avoiding the Sacramento Kings. Here are the winners and losers of the NBA Draft.
NBA draft winners
Paolo Banchero and the Magic of Orlando
The Magic had the No. 1 draft pick for the first time since 2004 when they selected Dwight Howard. It worked well for the franchise at the time as Howard led Orlando to the Finals. Prior to that, the Magic selected Shaquille O’Neal in 1992, so it’s clear the Magic have been successful in signing power forwards and centers with the No. 1 pick.
Banchero entered the draft as the draft-ready big with his 6-foot-10, 250-pound frame. The Las Vegas odds took a massive turn earlier this week, rising from +1600 to +200 for Banchero to become No. 1 overall over favorite Smith.
The Magic were one of the worst 3-point shooting teams last season, connecting on just 33% of attempts from deep. Even though Banchero didn’t make as many 3-pointers as Smith last season, he’s more than comfortable going to three in transition and out of the pick-and-roll option.
Jaden Ivey gets a wish and Detroit Pistons add to elite youth roster
Jaden Ivey got his wish and went undrafted by the Sacramento Kings, occupying the fourth-best prospect in the roster. The Kings went with a roster need instead of the best player available and selected Iowa forward Keegan Murray. This gave the Pistons the green light to take Ivey and add him in the backcourt alongside Cade Cunningham, creating one of the most athletic young backcourts in the league. Cunningham is a great facilitator and draws the defense in with the way he reads pick-and-roll players. This will open up the space for Ivey to come down the wing and attack the baseline.
The Pistons also clinched gold in 6-foot-11 center Jalen Duren in a three-way trade with the 13th pick. Duren was the No. 1 player out of high school before upgrading and signing on a year early to play for Penny Hardaway. Duren has an NBA-ready body and is a fantastic passer, especially when the defense is crumbling. Duren and Ivey will join an already elite young roster of Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Killian Hayes.
San Antonio Spurs and first-round trio on the rise
Spurs entered the draft with three first-round picks and capitalized on the draft of Jeremy Sochan at No. 9, Malaki Branham at No. 20 and Blake Wesley at No. 25. All three players are young and athletic with a huge advantage. Sochan is one of the best defensemen in this draft class who can guard all positions on the field at 6-foot-9 and can sit down and guard the perimeter. Branham was the Big Ten’s most improved guard from first half through second half and continued to improve his 3-point shooting during the pre-draft process. Wesley was the first out of Notre Dame and is a highly skilled passer with untapped potential. All three players need time to develop, but they were the players in this draft class with the most potential. Spurs have a strong youth core with Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker and Devin Vassell and have a great record with developing players within the organization.
NBA draft losers
Sacramento Kings make another lottery mistake
The Kings have had a lottery pick every year since 2007 but one, and are still trying to build a playoff-caliber team. Ivey was clearly the best prospect available at No. 4, with slight comparisons to Ja Morant, but with a full backcourt and Ivey very publicly expressing he didn’t want to go, the Kings drafted Murray, the forward from 6 feet 8 inches. out of Iowa.
Memphis Grizzlies’ uninspiring picks
The Grizzlies already have an established playoff-caliber team led by Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane. On Thursday, they drafted Wake Forest winger Jake LaRavia with the No. 19 pick and Colorado State forward David Roddy at No. 23. Roddy struggled at times during the 5-on-5 draft play of the NBA, and LaRavia is a solid role player. The Grizzlies passed on potential young players like TyTy Washington and Wesley. LaRavia and Roddy plan to be decent supporting cast, but they’re very uninspiring choices.
New York Knicks Trades
The Knicks entered the draft with the No. 11 pick and instead of shooting a positionless player like 6-foot-8 winger AJ Griffin (who fell to the Atlanta Hawks at No. 16), the Knicks took traded the pick to OKC. Then the Thunder traded three first-round picks to the Knicks. New York then traded the No. 23 to Denver, four second-round picks to Charlotte for the 13th pick (Jalen Duren). The Knicks then traded the 13th pick and Kemba Walker to Detroit for Milwaukee’s 2025 first-round pick. So to recap, the Knicks traded the 11th pick Thursday with Walker and four second-round picks and they got three future first-round picks. It’s not necessarily a terrible night for the organization because there’s a lot of value in next year’s draft, but instead of trying to get some help this season after going 34-48 in 2021-22, they’re taking a page from Thunder General Manager Sam Presti’s book and collecting future picks instead.