Biggest Winners and Losers from 2022 NBA Draft Night
The 2022 NBA draft is in the books, and the night delivered plenty of surprises and big moments.
The first three names called were the ones we expected, but they came in a different order. Of course, trades were made. Some players slid. Others rose.
To see the biggest winners and losers throughout the festivities, scroll below.
Winner: Paolo Banchero
For weeks, Jabari Smith going first to the Orlando Magic felt like a foregone conclusion. Then, suddenly, sportsbooks all over the internet dramatically shifted to Paolo Banchero.
And in contradiction to a report he made earlier in the day, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted his final spoiler shortly before the broadcast began:
Banchero was at a loss for words in his post-selection interview, but his game will speak for itself in Orlando.
The Magic already had one of the league's most intriguing young cores, and inserting Banchero's scoring and playmaking only adds to that.
Assuming Mo Bamba leaves in free agency and Wendell Carter Jr. moves to the 5, Paolo will fit in well as part of a positionless forward trio that includes Franz Wagner and Jonathan Isaac.
And in lineups with Jalen Suggs and Markelle Fultz, Orlando will have a wealth of playmaking talent.
Being able to attack from any spot on the floor will make the Magic a matchup nightmare on nights when everything's clicking.
Sure, the youth and inexperience mean there will still be plenty of losses and growing pains, but Orlando figures to be a League Pass darling in 2022-23.
And with so much young talent on the roster, Banchero may have a slightly softer landing than No. 1 picks in earlier years.
Potential Loser: Knicks Fans
The New York Knicks entered the night with the No. 11 selection, and they left without a first-round rookie to add to the 2022-23 roster.
In one of the wildest moments of the draft, New York dealt that 11th pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for three future firsts. Then, they got back in by acquiring Jalen Duren (the 13th pick) before eventually re-routing him (along with Kemba Walker's salary) to the Detroit Pistons (who will reportedly waive Kemba, per Wojnarowski).
Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps
What the Knicks did tonight:<br><br>NYK trades 11th pick to OKC<br><br>OKC trades 3 firsts (23 DEN, DET, WASH) to NYK<br><br>NYK then trades 23 DEN, 4 seconds to CHA for 13th pick<br><br>NYK then trade 13th pick & Kemba Walker to DET for MKE's 25 first <br><br>NYK trades 11, Kemba, 4 2nds & gets 3 future 1sts
Got all that? Phew...
Now, figuring out what the Knicks are actually doing could take some time, but plenty of analysts are following the bread crumbs to Jalen Brunson.
Yes, if New York avoided the addition of a first-round pick's salary to make space for Brunson, and he eventually spurns him, this is going to look bad.
The Knicks have chased (and failed to catch) plenty of higher-profile free agents in the past. Forecasting a similar pursuit of Brunson and falling short will be, at the very least, embarrassing.
But it's not a given that that's what'll happen. And even if it does, there may be a silver lining.
The future picks New York picked up could represent shots in a draft class the Knicks' front office may value more than this one or give the team more leverage in future trades.
Winner: 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. And he trailed only Chet Holmgren among freshmen in offensive box plus/minus.
For a team that has plenty of slashing from Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., as well as the post play of Alperen Sengun, Smith's outside shooting is 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.
Loser: Jabari Smith
Houston's a winner for landing him, and sliding down the board a bit may serve as good motivation, but going third after hearing you'd be first for weeks has to be tough for Smith.
As recently as the morning of the draft, Wojnarowski had the order pegged as Smith, Holmgren and Banchero. And that's what it looked like it would be basically since the Magic won the lottery.
And while 10 minutes isn't a ton of time in the grand scheme of things, it probably felt like forever to Smith, who anxiously sat through the announcements of both Banchero and Holmgren.
As the ESPN broadcast repeatedly showed a dejected Smith in the green room, it was hard not to feel for him.
Winner: Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder had a monster first round, and it wasn't just because of the addition of Chet Holmgren at No. 2 (though he's certainly the headliner).
Following up that pick by cashing in some of their future assets to land Ousmane Dieng and somehow hanging onto No. 12 to draft Jalen Williams gives them an absurd amount of playmaking upside.
OKC already rosters Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey (6.4 assists as a 19-year-old) and Aleksej Pokusevski (5.9 assists over his last 10 games). They now have a 6'10" teenager who's flashed passing chops (Dieng), a wing with playmaking ability (Williams) and perhaps the draft's most unique all-around prospect (Holmgren).
The puzzle pieces may not fit perfectly (at least not yet), but the Thunder suddenly have what may be the league's most interesting combination of size and playmaking. And if the unselfishness everyone's shown at lower levels persists, OKC could turn a corner earlier than expected.
Potential Loser: Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings barely missing on stars has become something of a tradition for the NBA draft, as evidenced by the tragic graphic ESPN threw up.
The chances that Jaden Ivey has a career like Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard or Klay Thompson is low, but passing on him had to give some fans flashbacks.
It's long been assumed that he was the next guy after that top three of Paolo, Chet and Jabari, and not hearing his name at No. 4 was a bit of a shock.
This doesn't feel anything like Marvin Bagley III over Luka, though. Even the most casual draft observers outside Phoenix, Sacramento and Atlanta knew Luka was one of the surest things in the history of the event. Ivey is not that, and Murray doesn't have to be Bagley.
Murray played on an Iowa team with far less NBA talent than Bagley's version of the Duke Blue Devils, and he still had one of the best offensive seasons on record.
In fact, Zion Williamson is the only NCAA player with a higher single-season offensive box plus/minus than the 13.0 Murray put up in 2021-22.
He scored 23.5 points on just 15.8 shots, hit 39.8 percent of his threes and put up strong steal and block rates to boot.
With Domantas Sabonis and De'Aaron Fox in place, Murray might be the perfect playmaking 4 to play in between them.
Winner: Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons got started early this week by trading Jerami Grant for a slew of draft picks, including a 2025 first-rounder, to the Portland Trail Blazers. That signaled a desire to lean a little harder on a young core that suddenly feels like one of the deepest in the league.
Detroit is returning Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart, and now it adds Jaden Ivey (who slid a bit when the Sacramento Kings took Keegan Murray) and Duren (who took a circuitous draft night route to the Pistons).
Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA
Pistons core is crazy. They've nailed the draft tonight. Jalen Duren couldn't land in a better spot than he has with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. They all blend together, rare for a young team to have such a great fit. My goodness the pick-and-rolls they're gonna run together.
Because of Cunningham and Ivey's size (6'6" and 6'4", respectively), the Pistons should have no problem playing those two together. And having multiple playmakers on the floor should make life easier for both (and their teammates).
If the guards can develop into reliable shooters, Detroit will be a tough cover.
Loser: Fans Following on Twitter
You still have to make the choice to follow the news breakers and wait for the tweets, but hearing who'll be picked before the pick is announced does take at least some of the edge off the draft.
We're all used to it by now. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic's Shams Charania have been doing it for years, but it does seem to rob the evening of drama.
And racing to break moments like the Jalen Duren trade can make for an awfully confusing timeline.
Compared to the entire night, four or five minutes doesn't seem like much, but that's about how long it took for everyone to realize where Duren was actually going. In the moment, it felt like an eternity.
Who knows? Maybe this is actually fun for plenty of fans. The engagement big-name reporters get online certainly suggests it is.
But imagine the first pick in this draft without the reporting that immediately preceded it. It wouldn't have been quite on par with Anthony Bennett in 2013, but a more organic surprise with Banchero would've been more memorable.