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The 2022 NBA Draft turned out to be pretty calm for the most part, as many of the big names that had been mentioned in trade rumors leading up to the draft were not moved.

However, plenty of current draft picks and future picks were swapped between teams, some trades beginning before the start of the draft!

The Orlando Magic shocked everyone by selecting Paolo Banchero first overall after it had been widely reported that Jabari Smith Jr. was going to be the first overall selection and this pick at the top of the board changed every other team’s draft the rest of the night.

Everyone cannot always end up with the best player in the draft and this year, there were quite a few big winners, as well as big losers on draft night.

Oklahoma City Thunder


Sam Presti is one of the best general managers in the league and his ability to not only gather future assets and draft picks, but move them for value is amazing. The Oklahoma City Thunder entered the 2022 NBA Draft with two first-round picks, after trading one of them to the Denver Nuggets (Pick No. 30) in the JaMychal Green trade that took place ahead of the draft, and one second-round pick.

After taking Chet Holmgren with the second overall pick, the Thunder looked to be aggressive near the end of the lottery, as they had their eyes on a handful of prospects. Shaedon Sharpe was one of these prospects they had wanted to trade up for, but after he went seventh overall to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Thunder turned their attention to Ousmane Dieng, one of the best international players in this draft class.

Standing 6-foot-10 with a 7-0 wingspan, Dieng possesses a ton of two-way upside on the wing and he still has plenty of time to grow since he just turned 19-years-old. With the New York Knicks on the clock with the 11th overall pick, Presti made the call to New York in order to secure Dieng.

Oklahoma City traded three first-round picks in 2023 for the draft rights to Ousmane Dieng, a player that they believe can be a force to be reckoned with next to other lengthy players in Aleksej Pokusevski and now Chet Holmgren in the frontcourt. Three first-round picks is a lot of value to give up, but the Thunder still own the rights to two first-round picks in 2023 and all three of the picks they traded away have protections on them.

Immediately following Dieng going 11th overall, the Thunder were back on the clock and they selected Jalen Williams from Santa Clara, a very athletic ball-handler and playmaker that can move around the floor due to his versatility on both ends of the floor. Williams is yet another young core option for this team that will make an impact in their second-unit.

For about the next hour or so after selecting three players in the first 12 picks of the draft, the Thunder were quiet until it was time for the second-round. Oklahoma City did field calls for the 34th overall pick, but they decided to go with a high-upside forward in Jaylin Williams from Arkansas instead of trading this pick.

Ultimately, Oklahoma City walked away on draft night with Chet Holmgren, Ousmane Dieng, Jalen Williams and Jaylen Williams, giving them four high-potential prospects that not only possess length, but athleticism as well to pair with their current young core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Tre Mann and others.

This was a fantastic draft for the Thunder and now, they truly have the best young core in the league that could very well begin contending for titles in the near future.


Portland Trail Blazers

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Damian Lillard’s future with the Portland Trail Blazers will continue to be brought up every single month simply because the Trail Blazers have yet to build a championship contender around him.

Trading away CJ McCollum, Norman Powell and Robert Covington at this past season's trade deadline, it looked like the Blazers were heading towards a full-scale rebuild this offseason. Well, newly appointed GM Joe Cronin has other ideas, as Portland believes they can get right back to being contenders in the Western Conference with Lillard as their leader.

Maybe with another All-Star, high-level talent this can be true, but so far, all the Blazers have done is trade for a key, high-level secondary talent in Jerami Grant and they had a very mediocre draft.

Shaedon Sharpe is definitely a prospect that can develop into a star in the NBA given his length, athleticism and “score-first” mentality, but he was the biggest unknown in this draft class and he goes to a team with a ton of unknowns right now.

Should they bring back Anfernee Simons in free agency, which all indications point towards them doing, then the Trail Blazers will likely look to ease Sharpe into their rotations early on in his career, not really making him a focal point.

With plenty of options that could help them win games right now, the Blazers opted to go with a major question mark with their seventh overall pick, which is why they continue to have a ton of question marks entering the season.

Maybe this will end up being a terrific move by the Portland Trail Blazers 4-5 years from now, but given all of the talk of Lillard possibly “jumping ship” following the 2022-23 season, I just do not see how drafting Shaedon Sharpe makes Portland any better than they were last season.


Houston Rockets

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The Houston Rockets’ intentions entering the 2022 NBA Draft was to come away with Paolo Banchero at third overall. This quickly changed though when Banchero went first overall to the Orlando Magic.

While this was not ideal for the Rockets, it was also not the end of the world, as they ended up selecting Jabari Smith Jr. with the third overall pick, a player that many had ranked at the top of their draft boards entering the night.

Smith’s length and pure scoring abilities is exactly what Houston needs either on the wing or at the power-forward position, giving them an excellent first or second option offensively alongside last year’s second overall pick, Jalen Green.

No matter what statistic you look at on either end of the floor, Houston was one of the league’s worst teams this past season and given his ability to impact the game on either end of the floor, Jabari Smith Jr. will be a heavy favorite to win the 2022-23 NBA Rookie of the Year award.

As for how the rest of the night went for the Rockets, they got the two guys they had been targeting near the back-end of the first-round in Tari Eason and TyTy Washington.

Eason going to the Rockets with the 17th overall pick, if he was available, was a given entering the night and both his athleticism and defensive instincts are two things the Rockets really like about his upside. Being able to play out on the wing or in the low-post as a smaller power-forward, Tari Eason will find himself on the floor immediately in Houston.

TyTy Washington was expected to go in the early-20s of this year’s draft, but when he began to fall, the Rockets could only smile given that they had been targeting Washington as a young backup option behind point guard Kevin Porter Jr. Still needing time to develop into a threat offensively, Washington is a perfect fit on a roster that has a ton of potential to push the pace on offense.

The Houston Rockets targeted the needs of their franchise in this draft and they ended up with three very athletic and versatile players that they can build with for many years to come.


Detroit Pistons


Picking fifth overall in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons had Jaden Ivey at the top of their draft board. Ivey had been ranked by many as the best guard in this draft class and a guy with All-Star potential, but there was a lot of talk about the Sacramento Kings possibly using their fourth overall pick to take him and pair with De’Aaron Fox in the backcourt.

Ultimately, the Kings went with Iowa’s Keegan Murray, allowing the Pistons to select Jaden Ivey with the fifth overall pick, a selection that could wind up being legendary for the city of Detroit. Ivey is an elite-level athlete and next to last year’s first overall pick in Cade Cunningham, the Pistons suddenly have a very special “one-two punch” in their backcourt.

As if getting Jaden Ivey was not enough, GM Troy Weaver had his sights set on Memphis’ Jalen Duren, who is arguably the best center prospect in this draft class. With the Charlotte Hornets on the clock with the 13th overall pick, the Pistons were able to strike a three-team deal involving the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks to acquire Duren.

In this deal, the Pistons sent Milwaukee’s 2025 first-round pick they had received as compensation for Jerami Grant from Portland to the New York Knicks and they received Kemba Walker as well, who will very likely be waived by Detroit in the coming days.

To get the best guard and the best center in this draft class was a major “win” for the Pistons and now, they have a very nice young core themselves. Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren are the main names on this roster and with plenty of cap space moving forward, Detroit could once again turn themselves into something special in due time.


Minnesota Timberwolves

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Tim Connelly is one of the best executives in the entire NBA. However, his first draft night with the Minnesota Timberwolves as their new President of Basketball Operations was not a “home run” by any means.

Owning the 19th pick and three second-round picks entering the draft, the Timberwolves ended up with two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a 2023 second-round pick via New York from Charlotte, a 2026 second-round pick from the Indiana Pacers and cash considerations.

Minnesota ended up being very active on draft night, but the new faces on their roster really do not bring a “wow” factor with them. Walker Kessler was the Timberwolves first selection with the No. 22 overall pick and while he is a terrific defender and shot-blocker in the paint, he is nothing more than a backup behind All-NBA big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

Their second first-round pick came at No. 26 overall when the Timberwolves selected Wendell Moore Jr. from Duke, a skilled and versatile wing that will fill an immediate offensive void on this team’s bench.

In the second-round, the Timberwolves continued to add versatile depth with Josh Minott at No. 45 overall and then Matteo Spagnolo, a draft-and-stash guy from Italy, at No. 50 overall.

While this is not a terrible draft for the Minnesota Timberwolves, as they got the guys they wanted in both the first and second-rounds, it is definitely not a successful draft either.

This franchise still has massive needs next to Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards offensively, plus it is hard to imagine that any of their rookies will have an immediate, All-Rookie type of impact.

In time, this draft could pay off big time for the Timberwolves, but right now, they really did not make any moves to better themselves as a Play-In Tournament team in the Western Conference.