On Tuesday night, the NBA Draft Lottery 2022 determined the order of the top 14 picks in the 2022 NBA Draft. Many fans and analysts have mixed emotions about the lottery process. While the event itself is clearly made for television, one cannot understate the importance of how the ping pong balls ultimately bounce. The results of the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery were sure to thrill some teams and their fanbases. At the same time, other franchises likely left Chicago with great disappointment.
The following takes a look at some of the biggest winners and losers of the NBA Draft Lottery 2022.
NBA Draft Lottery 2022 Winners
It’s hard to be considered anything but an NBA Draft Lottery winner when you nail down the No. 1 overall pick. By virtue of finishing with the second-worst win-loss record in the league, the Magic were one of three teams who had optimal 14% odds to win the lottery. The balls ultimately bounced in Orlando’s favor. As a result, the Magic will pick first in the 2022 NBA Draft. This marks the fourth time in the history of the lottery that the Magic earned the top overall selection.
From a basketball standpoint, winning the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery is huge for coach Jamahl Mosley and the Magic as they continue to stockpile young talent. Last year, Orlando had a pair of lottery picks in the draft. Despite failing to land even a top-4 pick, the Magic were still able to draft Jalen Suggs at No. 5 overall and Franz Wagner with the eighth overall pick.
The early favorite to go to the Magic at No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft is Jabari Smith Jr. At 6’10”, Smith has plenty of size to go along with his prowess from beyond the three-point arc. He would be a tremendous addition to the current Magic roster thanks to his versatility and athleticism.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Going into Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, the Oklahoma City Thunder knew that they would be walking out with two of the top-14 picks in this year’s draft. In addition to their own pick, the Thunder also had full rights to the First Round selection of the Los Angeles Clippers. That pick swap traces its roots back to the Paul George trade from a few years ago.
After finishing with the fourth-worst record in the league last season, the Thunder had a 12.5% chance to win the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery. Although they came up a little short of landing the top overall pick, Oklahoma City cut their average pick of 4.4 by more than half by securing the second selection in this year’s draft.
Currently, many NBA Draft analysts view Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren to be the clear-cut top two prospects in this year’s class. Thus, the Thunder are guaranteed to be able to take one of these two standouts at No. 2. Given the current state of the team’s frontcourt, Holmgren would make a whole lot of sense if he is available.
Seemingly every year, one team with longshot NBA Draft Lottery odds manages to sneak its way into a top-4 pick. In this year’s lottery, the Kings took on the Cinderella role. Coming into the lottery, Sacramento had just a 7.5% chance to land the top overall pick. Based on the fact that the Kings won 30 games and finished with only the seventh-worst record this past season, their average pick in the 2022 NBA Draft was expected to be around 6.2.
As fate would have it, the Kings managed to improve their draft position by over two picks from their odds-based average. Although the run ended by landing the fourth overall selection, the lottery results do give Sacramento the opportunity to draft a game-changing player.
For many Kings fans, this is hardly a consolation prize to the team’s inexplicable decision to trade away a rising talent in Tyrese Haliburton just a few months ago. However, with prospects like Shaeden Sharpe, Keegan Murray and Jaden Ivey all likely to be available when Sacramento goes on the clock, the team is virtually guaranteed to land an impactful young player.
NBA Draft Lottery 2022 Losers
It was just one year ago that the Pistons won the NBA Draft Lottery for the first time in franchise history. Unfortunately, Detroit’s lottery luck failed to carry over into 2022. After winning just 23 games in the 2021-22 season, the Pistons were once again among the three teams with optimal odds to land the top overall pick. Not only did that dream fail to transpire, but the Pistons actually slipped outside of the top-4 selections altogether.
With the Kings jumping up into the top-4, one team consequently had to drop out. It just so happened to be the Pistons. Detroit had a 14% chance to draft No. 1 overall for the second straight year. Based on their finish in the standings, anything less than a top-4 pick would be considered a shortcoming. While the Pistons will certainly be able to draft a fine player with the fifth pick, it was hardly the result that their NBA Draft Lottery seeding was capable of achieving.
Whoever the Pistons do select at No. 5 overall will slot into a lineup that already includes last year’s top draft pick, Cade Cunningham. It was a promising rookie season for Cunningham. Unfortunately, Detroit’s path to contention remains a long and winding one after their unfortunate luck in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery.
Portland Trail Blazers
The moves made by the Portland front office at this year’s trade deadline were a clear indication that the franchise is looking toward the future. Unfortunately, the Trail Blazers failed to land the top-4 pick that they coveted in the 2022 NBA Draft. The team tanked harder than any other down the stretch of the season. A 27-win campaign wound up as the sixth-worst record in the Association. It gave the Blazers a 9% chance to win the NBA Draft Lottery and a promising average pick of 5.5.
While there is no doubt plenty of talent beyond the top five picks in this year’s NBA Draft, Portland fans are likely to be a bit downtrodden after slotting in at No. 7 in this year’s draft order. Based on the Blazers’ pre-lottery odds, landing the seventh pick is a drop of 1.5 from their average selection as the 6-seed.
On the bright side, all hope is not lost in the Pacific Northwest. The prospect that Portland ultimately does select will have the privilege of playing alongside Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons to begin his NBA career.
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