USA About: Knicks Publish: Last Friday at 6:21 AM Edit: Last Friday at 6:21 AM Author: Gardener
As Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish once said in Game of Thrones, chaos is a ladder. The 2022 NBA Draft caused a lot of chaos. After weeks of reports that Jabari Smith would be picked No. 1 overall, the Orlando Magic threw a curveball with Paolo Banchero in the lead. That threw the whole design off track, and surprises kept coming left and right from there. Keegan Murray on Jaden Ivey. The Knicks didn't pick at all in the first round. Nothing went as expected on Thursday, resulting in one of the busier drafts in recent memory. Now that the 2022 NBA Draft is in the books, let's take a look at which teams have climbed the ladder of chaos and which teams have fallen into the pit below. Here are your 2022 NBA Draft winners and losers. From a pure value standpoint, there was very little separation between the top three prospects in this draft. Smith undoubtedly makes more sense in Houston than Banchero. The Rockets already have a great young offensive big man in Alperen Sengun. Banchero would have been good at that end of the floor next to him, but defensively the two raised real red flags. He has all-defense potential and his 3-point shooting should only improve Sengun's inner game. Smith is a winner in this exchange as well. In Orlando he would have joined a team with pretty questionable guard play. After Smith landed, the Rockets snapped up another of the draft's top defenders in LSU's Tari Eason. Adding all of this together, the Rockets did a great job balancing their roster on a night where they were expected to emphasize attack. They landed one of the draft steals in 29th-ranked TyTy Washington. The Kentucky Guard should be a candidate for 17th-ranked Houston. Instead, they landed him 12 spots later, potentially giving Green a long-term backcourt partner. No, the kings didn't need another guard. You're not a loser here just because you passed Jaden Ivey. Keegan Murray probably ended up being a better fit anyway. They probably could have gotten a pick for the No. 4 pick considering how many teams were interested in Ivey, and even if they had wanted Murray all along, they probably would have squeezed Detroit with No. 5 for an added advantage can, given how public her interest in the Purdue Point Guard was. And then, of course, we should also mention that the consensus put Ivey over Murray. In fact, several teams did it due to their trading interest. If the kings are thinking one thing and five or six teams are thinking another, history suggests that the kings are probably wrong here. It's not quite the same, but it should be noted that Ivey was less than thrilled with the idea of going to Sacramento. Now we're all less than thrilled with her design. Did the Pistons need Ivey? With Cade Cunningham they already have their point guard of the future. But both Cunningham and Ivey should be well off the ball when they share the floor. Cunningham's height and Ivey's athleticism should both give them more than enough defensive versatility to work together, and the offensive advantage of having two high-end ball handlers who can shoot is overwhelming. If the night had ended there, the Pistons would have been winners, but things just got better. By sacrificing the 2025 first-round pick they got in the Jerami Grant trade along with some meager canopy space to take on Kemba Walker, the Pistons jumped back into the lottery and landed Jalen Duren, an extremely athletic center from the Should benefit quite a bit from two high-end point guards throwing lobs at him. Taking on Walker wasn't ideal, but they saved so much by swapping Grant without accepting an extra salary that they should still comfortably have enough room to give DeAndre Ayton or Miles Bridges a limited free hand pursue. GM Troy Weaver took some criticism for the limited return he got for Grant, but he more than made up for it with an excellent draft night. Perhaps by the time the No. 11 election rolled around, any prospects who wanted the Knicks were already gone, and on the surface it's hard to get too angry when you're making a first-round election three. The problem is that none of these picks are particularly valuable. Barring an injury to Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks' choice for 2025 will be in their 20s. The other picks acquired from Oklahoma City have been protected in a way that also limits their value. The Knicks don't have enough high-end talent to turn down potential lotteries. They hope they can find this high-end talent in free agency, and that motivated the decision to cut Kemba Walker's $9.2 million salary. Aside from the bad value of giving away less than $10 million with a first-round pick (the common rate tends to be closer to $20 million), the idea of going to such lengths to make room for a non-All-Star To create in Jalen Brunson or the NBA's ultimate wild card in Kyrie Irving is pretty questionable logic for roster building. For the Knicks to go through such a disappointing season as last year and not come out of the first round with rookies is bizarre news. A team with Joel Embiid and James Harden really doesn't have time to develop rookies. Philadelphia needs to win now, and after offering Danny Green and the No. 23 to almost every team in the league in exchange for veteran help, they finally ended up with De'Anthony Melton. Only 24 years old, Melton has shot almost 39 percent from behind the bow in the last two seasons. He was already a very strong point-of-attack defender, collecting steals and blocks like few guards in the game. Now he's going to a Philadelphia team that needs him after playing just 22.7 minutes a game next season. Criticizing the Grizzlies for the actual players they picked is a stupid thing to do. Her draft record is virtually impeccable during the Zach Kleiman era. Where the Grizzlies faltered was in their desire to move Melton, although it was predictable. Melton, Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane and Ziaire Williams are all fighting for the same minutes, and the Grizzlies finally decided to break the deadlock before it became a problem by dealing Melton. First, Melton has a value contract for two more seasons. Why give away one rotation player before knowing if two more will return? Melton can't play point guard on offense, but he can defend them from the other end of the ground, and if Jones leaves and they need to get more creative with how they run their offense without Morant, having Melton around would have been valuable . That kind of trade feels a year premature, and while the Grizzlies have an excellent draft record, it makes it even harder for them to find minutes for their new rookies when they haven't had minutes for Melton. The Grizzlies just won 56 games. They are the deepest team in the NBA. The Pelicans and Spurs picked back-to-back at No. 8 and No. 9. They took a number of prospects with fairly similar strengths and weaknesses. Dyson Daniels (the No. 8 for New Orleans) and Jeremy Sochan (the No. 9 for San Antonio) should both make excellent defenders. Daniels is a better ball carrier and playmaker, but Sochan has untapped potential in this arena as well. Both share the same weakness that would have been far more significant in almost any other team: poor shooting. That's where the Spurs and Pelicans come in. They have the top two shooting coaches in the NBA. At San Antonio, Chip Engelland has spent almost two decades honing the shooting moves of recent Spurs. Kawhi Leonard was his masterpiece, but dozens of players have come through San Antonio and left as better shooters. If he didn't lock in the title of the NBA's top shot doctor, it's because Fred Vinson took it on. Over the past three seasons he has worked wonders with Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Herb Jones and others. These picks both represent an awareness of what these teams have on their batons. The Pelicans and Spurs can afford to take risks for players that other teams cannot. Sochan and Daniels would be very problematic fits for many teams. To the Spurs and Pelicans? He projects himself as a solid NBA role player. Lots of teams from all areas of design could use this. But the Wizards have spent the last decade playing singles. But the team is obviously not doing well. They've missed the playoffs in three of the last four years, and if they're looking to escape mid-draft purgatory, it would probably be appropriate to take a bigger swing. Perhaps Washington would have tried its luck with someone like Daniels or Shaedon Sharpe if it could, but there were certainly more ambitious proposals on the table. Griffin has serious injury concerns, but the best version of him has all-star potential. One day it would be nice to see the magicians try to get a little bolder with one of their lottery picks. The Hawks made a conscious decision during the 2020 offseason when they spent their entire cap yard on veterans. Instead of slowly rebuilding through the design, they wanted to compete immediately and sacrifice the long-term value. Another year in the lottery might have been good for the Hawks. Last season, when Trae Young was the only player on the roster to make his mark as a star, they were among the league's major disappointments after falling into the play-in tournament from the Eastern Conference Finals. Escape from the middle of the standings will require the kind of home run swings Washington doesn't like taking. The wizards landing Griffin at 10 would have been a wise choice. Griffin's health is a red rag after multiple leg injuries, but the Hawks can afford to slowly bring him into the lineup as he develops defensively and rounds out his offensive play. You'll have secured one of the best shooters in the draft with the benefit of being successful in other areas without having to use a lottery pick to win it. To say that Jabari Smith was a favorite to be the No. 1 pick throughout the draft process would be an understatement. One book even had its chances of being voted number 1 in the overall ranking on Thursday with minus 10,000. Banchero's ultimate pick has cost punters everywhere big bucks, and now that the draft is over we still don't know exactly what happened to trigger that Smith buzz. As a reminder, a week before the NBA draft, most books had Banchero at odds of about plus 1600. And then, after midnight Thursday morning, Banchero became the favorite. In about an hour, Banchero jumped to odds that sat at minus 200 for the rest of the night. We don't yet have nearly enough information to understand what actually happened, but the impact of the swing should be of some concern to bettors. Las Vegas somehow knew about one of the most important NBA transactions of the year before the league's standout insiders knew. No one definitively reported Orlando's plans before the draft began. Normally we'd say the Magic did a great job of hiding their intentions, but there wasn't much reason for them to pick #1, and even if they did, the sports books definitely picked it up.
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