The Orlando Magic selected Duke forward Paolo Banchero with the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. The move came as a surprise given that Banchero had never faced the Magic and the consensus in the league was that Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. would go to Orlando.

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Instead, it was Banchero who first heard his name. Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren was the second pick with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Houston Rockets took Smith with the third overall pick. The Sacramento Kings selected Iowa forward Keegan Murray No. 4, and the Detroit Pistons rounded out the top five with Purdue defenseman Jaden Ivey.

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Our NBA insiders reveal the highlights of draft night, including which of the top three players will have the best rookie season. What about the big deals made on Thursday?

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The Rockets and Pistons went into action days before Smith and Ivey were drafted, respectively. The Rockets traded center Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks for the 26th pick and four players with expiring contracts. The Pistons traded forward Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers for the 36th pick as well as future draft picks.

Deals continued to come through during draft night, with the Pistons and Rockets making additional deals. In one of the biggest events of the evening, Detroit acquired Charlotte Hornets No. 13 Jalen Duren in a three-way deal that also included the New York Knicks, who sent point guard Kemba Walker to Motor City. .

The Philadelphia 76ers took part in the trade, sending swinger Danny Green and the 23rd pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for defenseman De’Anthony Melton.

Which pre-draft trade or overnight draft will have the biggest impact? Which of the top three options is best for immediate success next season? Which teams performed worse in the draft? Our experts answer the most important questions and make bold predictions after a night of 58 players hearing their names.

MORE: NBA designs trade grades | NBA trading tracker


1. Which of the top three options is best for immediate beginner success?

Kevin Pelton: I love the combination of readiness and Smith’s form. Bancheros will likely be asked to create a lot of offense for Orlando’s limited team, which Houston doesn’t need as much with Jalen Green as they do in a guy. Also, I expect the Rockets to push Smith’s long deuces from dribbling out of the 3-point line, increasing his effectiveness.

Andrew Lopez: Banchero plays beautifully in Orlando, surrounded by Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. in the frontcourt. The 6-foot-10 Bunchero can play as a power forward and use his offensive skills to make him a surprise No. 1 pick. As Sportzshala Stats & Information points out, Banchero is one of only two freshmen to score 600 points, 300 rebounds and 100 assists in a season in the last 30 Division I seasons, along with Ben Simmons (LSU). Banchero should fit into Orlando’s young core.

Tim Bontemps: While all three picks have a chance of being really good, Banchero is set to be the clear favorite for NBA Rookie of the Year. He was already arguably the most NBA-ready player in the class and is moving to an Orlando team desperate for offense. He has to keep the ball in his hands at all times and he is almost ready to put in big numbers if he stays healthy.

Jeff Borzello: Banchero would be my answer if he came in third as originally intended, and he is still my answer now that he goes to Orlando as first choice. The Magic have a few backcourt playmakers who are more effective with the ball in their hands, but Banchero is good enough to be the center of attention in half the court from the start. He can score at all three levels, he’s a great passer for a player his size, and he’s a capable outside shooter – he hit 52.6% of 3 in the NCAA Tournament. He was the most college-ready freshman last fall, and now he’s the most draft-ready in the NBA.

Israel Gutierrez: Bunchero, and it has nothing to do with where he was called. This is because at the moment he is best placed to defend his position, which should keep him on the court long enough to lock in strong numbers. Smith can defend multiple positions and has the potential to be a solid defender who can be trusted when switching. However, like Holmgren, Smith’s lean physique will be something that big NBA players will take full advantage of next season.


2. Which team impressed you the most in this year’s draft?

Lopez: Oklahoma City identified the right players and set to work on them. After Orlando shook up the No. 1 draft, the Thunder stayed true to what they wanted with No. 2 Holmgren. in the first round. to New York for Dieng and then selected Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams with their 12th pick. With number 34, the Thunder did no favors to their coaches, publicists, and fans, choosing Arkansas’ Jaylene Williams, which certainly won’t faze anyone.

Gutierrez: Detroit. By moving Jerami Grant before the draft, the Pistons signaled they would be building around a young core — and possibly DeAndre Ayton as a free agent. If so, the combination of defenders Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, and No. 5 Jayden Ivey is a good place to start. Ivy brings a flair that the more reserved Cunningham doesn’t have. If they find a way to complement each other, Ivy and Cunningham could be a lethal combination in a few seasons. Jalen Düren has also been an essential player for a team that needs offensive toughness.

good time: For Detroit, walking away with Jayden Ivey and Jalen Duren is a pretty good result, especially since the Pistons only needed to take on Kemba Walker and give up Milwaukee’s future first-round pick on the Jerami Grant deal. Ivey has huge growth potential and would be great for Cade Cunningham, while Duren adds athleticism and blocking ability. The Pistons now have money to spend on leeway to continue adding to their young core.

Borcello: It seems like it might be the answer almost every year, but it’s hard not to love what the Spurs did with their first three rounds. Jeremy Sochan’s stock has risen sharply over the past year and he ended up in 9th place. The Polish native played his entire freshman year at 18 and showed just how high his ceiling can be. He can defend multiple positions, shoot confidently from the perimeter despite a low hit rate, and has shown an ability to fit into the team culture. The Spurs then acquired two more young guards with potential in Malachi Branham and Blake Wesley. Branham earned lottery hype early in the draft process after a terrific second half at Ohio State, and his offensive ability should show up immediately. Wesley has been a fickle rookie at Notre Dame, but he’s explosive and will have time to hone his game.

Pelton: The Rockets tend to see things a lot the way I do (both options were likely influenced by statistical draft predictions), and for the second year in a row they picked one of the players I thought was the most underrated, adding LSU’s Tari Eason at No. 17 after the selection of Alperen Sengun. at No. 16 last year. Prior to this, Houston could have taken advantage of Smith’s surprise drop to 3rd. The Rockets later added Kentucky guard T.T. Washington Jr. with the 29th pick and received a pair of future second-rounders in a down trade. Overall, I liked what Houston did.


3. Which team had the most disappointing draft night?

good time: What the Knicks did was just confusing—so far. It really took me an hour to methodically calculate all of their moves, which essentially turned into an exchange of 11th spade, four spades in the second round, and Walker, and also in exchange for three future notional picks in the first round – none of them will likely be as good as the No. 11 pick. However, the Knicks now have the option of a significant pay cut going forward, which could allow the Knicks to pursue players like Jalen Brunson or Kyrie Irving as free agents. Until we see the full picture, it’s been a confusing night for the Knicks and their fans.

Lopez: Right now it’s the Knicks. New York started the night with the No. 11 pick and ended up sending that pick, four second-round picks, and Kembu Walker for three future first-round picks (the 2023 protected picks from Detroit and Washington, and the top four protected Milwaukee). -rounder in 2025). Of the two 2023 picks, Washington’s pick is protected by the lottery, and next year’s Pistons pick will be protected by the top 18. Perhaps none of them could move. That clears the cap for the Knicks this season, so if they make a deal with Jalen Brunson — or another defenseman — it’ll work out.

Pelton: I don’t particularly care about matching Wisconsin defenseman Johnny Davis to the Washington Wizards. Davis is most dangerous as a dribble high scorer, so pairing him with a player who can do the same more effectively (assuming the Wizards re-sign Bradley Beal, who could become an unrestricted free agent) doesn’t seem like much. good use of choice #10.

Borcello: I don’t think there were any bad drafts, but the Thunder and the Grizzlies surprised some with their first round moves. It wasn’t hard for the Holmgrens, but trading three first-round picks—all well-defended—by the Knicks for No. 11 Ousmane Dieng was unexpected. Picking up Jalen Williams for 12th was a little premature, although Williams stock continued to rise. As for the Grizzlies, both David Roddy and Jake LaRavia will be able to contribute with their shooting and versatility, but both players felt a little early. Roddy didn’t have a good combination and it’s unclear how effective he will be defensively. LaRavia had a fantastic season at Wake Forest, but trading 22nd and 29th to move up three spots came as a surprise to him. Kennedy Chandler made a big difference in the second round…