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2022 NBA Draft: Biggest Winners from Draft Night

2022 NBA Draft
(Andrzej Milosz/WXYZ Detroit)

2022 NBA Draft: Biggest Winners from Draft Night

The 2022 NBA Draft produced its fair share of winners and losers. Here’s a look at the biggest winners from draft night.

Detroit Pistons

It was impossible to come away from the 2022 NBA Draft and not see an extremely successful night for the Detroit Pistons. They were able to get their primary target, top guard prospect Jaden Ivey, at No. 5 overall without needing to trade up. The backcourt of Ivey and Cade Cunningham might be one of the most fun young duos in the league next season. Detroit then fleeced the Knicks and Hornets to land Jalen Duren at No. 11 overall after a three-team trade. The Memphis product was considered by most to be the top center prospect available. The Pistons rounded out their class by taking Gabriele Procida out of Italy in the second round. 19-year-old Procida is a very good athlete who can shoot the ball efficiently, someone who I think was underrated entering the draft. Overall, excellent job by Detroit.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets were guaranteed to get one of the top three guys, and it ended up being Jabari Smith. I can’t give them too much credit for taking whichever guy fell to them, but Houston certainly did well with the rest of their draft picks. Tari Eason was their selection at No. 17 overall. I am very high on the LSU product and think he could wind up returning top-10 value. Snagging TyTy Washington with No. 29 overall was a phenomenal decision, especially given that the Rockets didn’t have a reliable option at point guard.

San Antonio Spurs

A year after taking Josh Primo in the lottery, the Spurs had a good draft! I’m not totally sold on Jeremy Sochan’s offensive upside, but the defense is undeniable. He is extremely switchable and basically never misses a rotation. Malaki Branham is a very efficient shooter who can score at all three levels. I could see him becoming a dependable offensive role player. Blake Wesley at No. 25 was my favorite Spurs pick of the draft. The Notre Dame guard has a high motor and should be a plus on both ends of the floor. I’m curious to see what his role looks like if San Antonio successfully offloads Dejounte Murray.

Patrick Baldwin Jr.

PBJ was once considered a no-doubt lottery pick. His freshman season at UW-Milwaukee did not go according to plan. It was a situation designed for him to cement his draft position, but a year marred by injuries and sub-par performance sent his stock tumbling. Many suggested that he would be wise to return to school to prove his first-round viability. Golden State is a dream destination for any player who needs some development, but I think Baldwin stands to benefit greatly given his potential as a 6’10” knockdown shooter. This is as good a scenario as he could have hoped for after the season he had.

New Orleans Pelicans

Solid draft for the Pelicans. Dyson Daniels was a great choice based on talent and fit. His playmaking and defense give him a relatively high floor. We’ll see if the shooting ever arrives consistently. The Pels also snagged Ohio State’s EJ Liddell with the No. 41 pick after many projected him to be a mid-first round pick.

Indiana Pacers

I really like the Indiana Pacers’ 2022 class. Bennedict Mathurin was the best player available at No. 6 overall. He’s a freak athlete who is excellent off-ball. I expect him to be a quick contributor. Andrew Nembhard is maybe the best pure point guard from this draft class, and the Pacers managed to get him with the first pick of the second round. Baylor’s Kendall Brown was a big slider in this draft; taking a flyer on him at No. 48 is solid value. They made a good decision with every pick based on who was available.

G League Ignite

Another draft, another win for the G League Ignite. They had three players selected this year (Dyson Daniels, MarJon Beauchamp, Jaden Hardy) after having three others taken last year. With Overtime Elite producing zero draft picks, Ignite is separating themselves as the go-to pathway for top prospects who don’t want to take the college route. With six draft picks in two years, including three in the top 10, G League Ignite takes a W.

Orlando Magic Front Office

The Magic ran circles around Woj and other insiders during the pre-draft process. Everyone was led to believe that Jabari Smith to Orlando was a done deal, until it was discovered three minutes before the draft that Paolo Banchero was the real target. Honestly quite a refreshing change of pace after a series of drafts where the identity of the No. 1 overall pick was basically free information.


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