The Winners & Losers of the 2022 NBA Draft


The 2022 NBA draft is in the books, and it was a night of plenty of surprises and big moves. The first three names called were expected, but they came in a surprising order. Other than that, most of the fireworks came from the picks themselves, as the trade market went cold.

We take a look at what happened and discuss who the biggest winners and losers were now that all the dust has settled…

The Winners

Detroit Pistons

Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren and Cade Cunningham are going to be playing basketball together on the same court, and what a frightening thought that is for the rest of the NBA.

Detroit didn’t expect Jaden Ivey to fall past No. 4 pick, but the Pistons rightly scooped him up at 5, solidifying their backcourt for the future. Ivey’s speed and athleticism is a perfect match next to Cade Cunningham’s more deliberate playmaking.

They then grabbed a high-flier, full of potential in Jalen Duren who ensures the team will have a lob target to set up Cunningham and Ivey for success.

Both players look to have been drafted well below their true level, which makes Detroit the biggest winners of this draft by a mile. Discover all the lastest MLB odds with FanDuel.

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans kept it simple on draft night but did everything right. Dyson Daniels is the type of NBA-ready, defensive playmaker New Orleans’ emerging roster needs to take another step toward being a perennial playoff team. A defense-first guard with size, Daniels is the perfect player to put next to all of the offensive firepower of the Pelicans once Zion Williamson returns.

Later in the draft, the Pelicans got a steal in junior forward E.J. Liddell, who many had predicted would be picked up as high as the top-20. Snagging Liddell in the second-round is a huge win, and he has bags of potential. Overall, this was a big success for NOLA. Enjoy a risk free first bet up to $1000 with BetMGM.


Houston Rockets

Orlando’s curveball at the top of the draft opened the door for the Houston Rockets to take Smith, who has a good chance to wind up as this class’ best shooter.

In his lone season with Auburn, Smith averaged 16.9 points and 2.3 threes while shooting 42.0 percent from deep, trailing only Chet Holmgren among freshmen in offensive stats.

For a team that has plenty of talent from the likes of Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr and Alperen Sengun, Smith’s outside shooting will be a seamless fit.

If he lives up to his potential, defenses will be forced to chase him around the three-point line, widening driving lanes and clearing the paint for his aforementioned teammates.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs nailed this draft, picking up three very different prospects, all of which have tremendous upside in their roles.

Jeremy Sochan is probably the best all-around defender in the draft, who will help build an athletic front court with Keldon Johnson. Malaki Branham looks to be a steal at No. 20. He is one of the best pure scorers in this draft class who could flourish in San Antonio. The final selection, Blake Wesley, is a lightning-quick combo guard with scoring, playmaking and defensive potential coming out of his ears.

When the Spurs are back to their winning ways a few years down the line, this draft class will have a huge part in that.

The Losers

New York Knicks

This was a really puzzling performance from the New York Knicks. They entered the draft with the No. 11 pick and instead of taking a shot at one of the several exciting prospects available, the Knicks traded the pick to the Thunder.

Following a complicated series of trades and drafts they came away with three first first round picks in the 2023 draft, but all of them are lottery protected or projected to be near the end of the draft order.

They are taking a big risk by gathering future picks at the expense of improving their team right now. Passing on adding a young player is quite a peculiar move for an organization that’s been in “wait until next year” mode for what seems like an eternity.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings have a history of passing on some of the best talent in the NBA Drafts. In recent years they could have had Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson but they seem to over complicate things.

You would have thought they couldn’t really botch the draft again with the fourth pick in a draft with four star players, but you would be wrong. Sacramento committed a cardinal draft sin by going for fit over the best player available. Ivey clearly had the most upside and star-power of any player left on the board, but Sacramento passed on him for Iowa forward Keegan Murray.

This is nothing against Murray, who should be a good pro for a long time with a 6’8 frame and a sweet shooting stroke, but he simply doesn’t have the ceiling of someone like Ivey. Make Bet Rivers your betting destination this coming NBA season!

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers didn’t have a first-round pick, as that went to New Orleans as part of the Anthony Davis trade in 2019. Up until the day before the drafts, LA didn’t have any involvement in draft day whatsoever.

They bought a second-round pick and landed Michigan State’s Max Christie with the No. 35 selection. The former five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American wing has the potential to become an excellent 3-point shooter and defender, but it’s unlikely he gives the Lakers the kind of help they need now.

It smacked of a last-minute panic job, an attempt to breathe young life into an aging Lakers roster, but it looks likely to be a very risky decision.

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies already have an established playoff team led by Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane. On Thursday, they drafted Wake Forest wing Jake LaRavia with the 19th pick and Colorado State forward David Roddy at No. 23. Both of these players look like solid enough players, but uninspiring when you consider what they could have had.

Memphis passed on young players like TyTy Washington and Blake Wesley who could have added further star power to their roster.

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The 2022 NBA draft is in the books, and it was a night of plenty of surprises and big moves. The first three names called were expected, but they came in a surprising order. Other than that, most of the fireworks came from the picks themselves, as the trade market went cold. We take a…