NBA Draft 2022 lottery winners and losers: Auburn’s Jabari Smith could benefit after Magic wins No. 1 pick

NBA Draft 2022 lottery winners and losers: Auburn’s Jabari Smith could benefit after Magic wins No. 1 pick

Ping pong balls? They fell. And the draft order? well it is officially defined after a wild Tuesday night at the 38th Annual Draft Lottery that determined the Orlando Magic — for the first time since 2004 — will be first overall in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Orlando had a 14% chance of winning the lottery, tied for the highest odds with the Pistons and Rockets, before their big offseason win was announced by NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum in Chicago. It’s the fourth time since the lottery that the franchise has held the top pick. And get this: two of the three previous No. 1 picks have become Hall of Famers — while Dwight Howard could potentially join them later. (No pressure, Chet Holmgren or Jaden Ivey or Jabari Smith or Paolo Banchero. But also: a little pressure!)

As such, the Magic are the biggest and most obvious winners of the lottery night, though they’re certainly not the only ones who had a good night. The same was true for the Thunder and Kings. Conversely…it was a tough night for the Pistons, whose 14% chance of winning the lottery only landed them the fifth pick. The Trail Blazers, Pacers, Rockets and – as usual – the New York Knickerbockers are also likely licking post-lottery wounds.

Here’s a look at the winners and losers as the dust settles.

Winner: Jabari Smith Could Be Magic’s Man

For months this draft has been seen as strong at the top with no clear No. 1s but four potential Tier 1 talents, meaning squad composition and current roster construction could ultimately dictate who comes out of the board. to start the draft. Now we’re about to find out which perspective the Magic favors among the group. It’s a front office that covets length – they were part of the regime that drafted Giannis – so Chet Holmgren would have apparently be a good fit. But Jabari Smith seems to be the early favorite a month out of Orlando’s preference, and personally I’m not ruling out Paolo Banchero here either. It’s a great stroke of luck to have the first stab at the top every year, but this year in particular feels great – especially for a franchise that has some really fun plays with 2021 lottery picks Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner.

Winner: Kings Rise

When it was announced that the Portland Trail Blazers owned the No. 7 draft pick, it signaled that the Sacramento Kings had moved into the top four in this year’s draft. They were in seventh place based on lottery odds, but moved up three spots — more than any other team this year — to earn the No. 4 pick. Newly acquired big man Damontas Sabonis, the team’s draft at Chicago, could do nothing but put on a sly smile after the astonishing turn of events. He’ll have a chance to play alongside a potential day one difference-maker depending on which direction Sacramento goes — assuming they keep the pick.

Loser: Jaden Ivey’s No. 1 pick odds

Gary Parrish and I came to the conclusion this week that the No. 1 pick would, more than last year, be decided based on which team won the lottery. And one thing seems to be clear as the lottery haze sets in: It’s probably not great for Jaden Ivey’s No. 1 pick prospects. Orlando drafted a 15-year-old guard two years ago in Cole Anthony, then did it again with a top-10 pick last year in Jalen Suggs. It’s hard to imagine them doing it again, especially with the promise these two picks have shown. I wouldn’t rule Ivey out of the running altogether, but the drop in the lottery order was better news for the big guys atop the draft than a potential guard in Ivey just based on roster building for Orlando.

Winner: Thunder can speed up rebooting

This time last year in the lottery, OKC was lucky to walk away with two top-five picks and walked away with just one pick: No. 6. But that pick turned into a foundational play Josh Giddey and boy, oh boy, did this team’s rebuild hit a throttle on Tuesday as it progressed to grab the No. 2 pick.

It’s a bespoke draft for OKC – a team that needs depth in the frontcourt – to nab either a Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero or Chet Holmgren, depending on who Orlando takes at No. 1. No bad choice here. Whoever is the pick should find instant success as a likely starter in a young team brimming with potential. I’m all the way here for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey and any of Holmgren, Banchero or Smith growing together the next half decade.

Losers: Portland, the Pacers lose a place

Portland led the NBA in consecutive game losses to end the 2021-22 NBA season, but its cheeky attempt at a season-ending tank went unrewarded as it dropped from No. 6 in the NBA. lottery order at No. 7, which signaled Sacramento’s move. in the top four. Indiana also had its own sting in the night by bumping the pre-lottery order from No. 5 to post-lottery at No. 6. With a 10.5% and 9.0% chance of winning the first pick, both teams have good (but not great) picks in a draft where there is a significant drop in talent after No. 4.

Winner: Pelicans experience the best of both worlds

New Orleans is the only NBA team that can claim a lottery pick in this year’s draft and secure a spot in this year’s playoffs, with that pick going to the Lakers after the trade that sent Anthony Davis to LA

The Pelicans’ scouting staff have made money in recent years signing Herbert Jones in the second round, grabbing Jose Alvarado as an undrafted free agent. and take a generational talent in Zion – even though he was riddled with injuries to start his career. This pick for them (at No. 8) could help them stay in the hunt for the playoffs and potentially step up a notch in the West, especially if Zion returns to full health next season.

Losers: piston misfires, slip order

The Pistons were the anti-kings on Tuesday, as they fell more than any other lottery team. Based on pre-lottery odds, their 14% chance of winning the first pick was tied for best, but they walk away with the fifth pick overall.

Wum wum.

There are fabulous options at No. 5 for Detroit, so I don’t want Motor City to worry too much on this. But the difference between picking #1 and #5 — heck, even #4 and #5 — is pretty big in this draft. Here’s hoping that front office can identify a stallion from that position to partner alongside 2021’s No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham.

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