The Circuit’s 2022 NBA Draft Recap
Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Now that the NBA Draft is behind us, it’s time to look at who were the winners, and who were the big losers of the 2022 NBA Draft!
Getty Images/Circuit Artwork
As far as my mock goes… I didn’t exactly crush it. But I do take pleasure in knowing that the overwhelming majority did not have Banchero going #1, so I don’t feel alone. My best mock was Jaden Ivey going to Detroit at #5, I feel great about that one! One of my bigger misses was AJ Griffin going to the Kings… He’ll be an All-Star one day, you watch!
But enough about me, let’s look at the three teams that won, and more importantly, the three teams that lost the 2022 draft!
Three Teams that Won the 2022 NBA Draft:
Jaden Ivey could end up being an all-star, and he seems to be a good fit next to Cade Cunningham. But not only did they get the consensus fourth best player in the draft, but they also managed to get Jalen Duren through an elaborate Rube Goldberg-like sequence of trades between Charlotte, New York and Detroit. The Pistons will likely still be bad in 2023, but they could be pretty scary in 2026, and everyone knows it’s always better to sell the future than the present in the NBA.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are winners because they got the best player in the draft. Banchero and Smith will be fine players, maybe even all-stars, but I think Holmgren will be a true franchise-changer. They did also get two other lottery picks, but in all honesty I don’t see either Dieng or Williams being on the Thunder when they eventually get good, but you can bet Holmgren will be. The whole point of the Thunder acquiring roughly 83 picks over the next 4 years is so they can either A) get multiple swings at generational talents, or B) use those picks to trade for multiple superstars and build an instant contender. Forgive me, but Dieng and Williams fall into neither of those categories. But if they can land Wembanyama next year, swing a trade for a superstar and keep Holmgren, the Thunder could be winning championships in the near future.
Golden State Warriors
The rich just keep getting richer, right? The Warriors took Patrick Baldwin Jr with the 28th pick… This dude was a projected top-5 pick before he committed draft sabotage and went to the University of Milwaukee (his dad was the coach, but still). He went to an obscure school, never got any exposure and had a bad season and plummeted in the draft to… The champs! If Baldwin can regain the form that people thought he was a potential top-5 pick, then Golden State may have just gotten a future all-star to keep their dynasty going another decade or so.
And Now Three Teams that Lost the 2022 NBA Draft
God my team is so frustrating! We had two lottery picks, a chance to get the franchise big we have needed for 10 years AND a sharpshooter like AJ Griffin… And we decided to trade the first one. DAMNIT! Not only is the pick we got back likely to never be a quality pick, but they traded away the better of the two bigs! I think Williams will be better as a rookie, but Duren will be the better NBA player. I’m convinced of it. So yeah, not thrilled with my Hornets now. Oh, and they hired a coach they just fired and our second best player just got arrested for domestic violence. LaMelo Ball is one bad Charlotte headline away from buzzing his way to a bigger market, and I can’t say that I blame him.
The Kings are losers, but it’s not why you think (other than they’re a loser franchise, that is); I did not mind the Kings taking Murray at #4. Most mocks had Murray going no later than 6th, so why is it so bad that he went two spots higher when they didn’t need Ivey? If you want to tell me that Ivey is better than Fox or Mitchell and they should have taken him anyway and traded someone else, then you got me. I agree with that (I do not believe in Fox at all). However, this idea that the Kings are idiots for not trading down to take Murray later is absurd to me. We have seen over and over again teams try to get cute and screw up their “schemes”. The Kings liked Murray, and they happened to be drafting at #4 instead of #6. I could kill them for a million reasons, but this pick isn’t one of them.
New York Knicks
Fuck what it must be like to be a Knicks fan. Granted the two teams I root for, the Hornets and the Lakers, have shown incredible levels of incompetency this past year, but the Knicks have been doing that since the 70’s. The 8,000 trades they made on draft night cleared up cap space, sure, but they cleared more than needed to sign Jalen Brunson. I repeat, JALEN BRUNSON. They paid JALEN BRUNSON over $100 million after he made 0 all-star games and has been the best player on his team a total of 0 days in the NBA. I like him, I think he’s good, but I need to see him be $100 million good. Now maybe all these mediocre picks they got and everything they have done the past week will lead to Donovan Mitchell or some other star, but it’s the Knicks… So I wouldn’t bet on it.
I think it’s important to have initial thoughts on guys when they come into the league, to take a stand that will either prove you an idiot or a genius. For example, I was all-in on Steph Curry, Jayson Tatum, Lonzo Ball and Devin Booker. Those four names turned out pretty well, right? (Lonzo WILL, I promise) But there are definitely names I whiffed on, like Joel Embiid, Brandon Ingram, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and DeAndre Ayton. Here are the 2022 lottery picks with the level I think they will get to in the NBA. The levels are: MVP caliber, All-NBA caliber, All-Star caliber, Starter caliber, Rotation caliber or Bust.
#1 Paolo Banchero (Magic)- All-NBA Caliber
#2 Chet Holmgren (Thunder)- MVP Caliber
#3 Jabari Smith (Rockets)- All-NBA Caliber
#4 Keegan Murray (Kings)- Rotation Caliber
#5 Jaden Ivey (Pistons)- All-Star Caliber
#6 Benedict Mathurin (Pacers)- Rotation Caliber
#7 Shaedon Sharpe (Blazers)- Bust
#8 Dyson Daniels (Pelicans)- Rotation Caliber
#9 Jeremy Sochan (Spurs)- Starter Caliber
#10 Johnny Davis (Wizards)- Starter Caliber
#11 Ousmane Dieng (Thunder)- Bust
#12 Jalen Williams (Thunder)- Rotation Caliber
#13 Jalen Duren (Pistons)- Starter Caliber
#14 Ochai Agbaji (Cavaliers)- Bust
There you have it! My winners, losers & predictions for the 2022 NBA Draft! Make sure to check back in next week to see my recap of free agency (or trade agency?) with thoughts on Kevin Durant, Rudy Gobert, PJ Tucker and more!