NBA Draft 2022: Ranking the most intriguing teams, Knicks trying to move on to crucial Blazers decision

NBA Draft 2022: Ranking the most intriguing teams, Knicks trying to move on to crucial Blazers decision

The NBA Draft isn’t just about selected players. Of course, we’re all excited to see what consensus franchises among the top three prospects Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero can call home, but there’s a lot more happening behind the scenes leading up to and during the draft. of Thursday. .

This year has no shortage of potential trades as several teams look to buy their picks at the right price. We’ve seen in the past how draft day deals can change the landscape of the NBA, and with parity at an all-time high, there are plenty of opportunities to take a big step forward and shake things up.

However, some franchises have more pressing needs than others, so we thought we’d rank the most intriguing teams ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft.

The Blazers need to quickly rebuild a contending roster around Damian Lillard if they want him to stay long enough to eat Thanksgiving dinner in Portland, and the No. 7 pick in this draft is unlikely to add any immediate help. Players in this lineup could certainly become quality starters or better, but Lillard said he wants to win now, knowing the twilight of his prime is fast approaching.

That leaves Portland as a prime trade candidate as it looks to dangle the pick for a winning assist now, according to NBA Insider Marc Stein. Expect the talk around the Blazers to reach frantic levels as the draft nears, and if they’re unable to move the pick before Thursday, it could affect which player they pick. While a prospect like Keegan Murray, if available, may be more ready for the NBA, Portland might consider taking a flier on someone like Shaedon Sharpe, simply because he might be more intriguing as a chip. business on the road. The Blazers have a lot of work to do to create a contender before the season, and it starts with how they handle the No. 7 pick.

Barring a shocking surprise, the top three players in the draft will be Smith, Holmgren and Banchero in some order. Most analysts have Purdue’s Jaden Ivey just a notch below that first tier, if not on par with the big men at the top. That poses an interesting conundrum at No. 4 for the Kings, who have gone all-in on the De’Aaron Fox-Domantas Sabonis duo. Do they really want to bring in Ivey, another guard who needs the ball in his hands to capitalize on his potential, or would they consider filling their gaping holes on the wing with a player like Keegan Murray or Ben Mathurin?

It doesn’t take much creativity to identify the obvious alternative: Sacramento could trade with a team that covets Ivey (perhaps the Indiana Pacers at No. 6) to collect a second trump with the player they land. . The danger, of course, is that Ivey will turn into a generational superstar – and some reviewers think he might. Can you imagine a franchise that passed on potentially one of the greatest players of all time for a prospect they thought was a better fit and then had to watch said player single-handedly lead his team to the Western Conference Finals at the age of 23 while missing the playoffs for the 16th consecutive season? No chance of that happening, right?

The Dallas Mavericks superstar who must not be named could be the exact reason the Kings take Ivey at No. act of picking a different prospect or negotiating, making them one of the most intriguing teams in the draft.

Most reports indicate that the Magic are leaning towards taking Smith with the first draft pick on Thursday, but that’s certainly no guarantee. When the prospects at the top are so close in talent and upside, you never know what’s going to happen when a team is on time. Even if the magic wants Smith, it would behoove them to at least pretend to care about Holmgren and/or Banchero. Let’s say the Thunder are in love with Holmgren at No. 2 and get the hint that the Magic might catch him with the first pick, OKC might be willing to give up a trump to earn a spot and guarantee they get their man, leaving Orlando to take Smith at No. 2.

There’s a lot of smokescreens before the draft, so we’ll probably hear Orlando looking at the top three players before Thursday, maybe even Ivey. We won’t know for sure who they’re taking, though, until they make up their mind (or one of the reporters tweets it).

One such team in the mix to trade for Ivey is the New York Knicks, who were named by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski as a team that has expressed interest in reaching a deal with the Kings for the No. 4 pick. The Knicks have long coveted a point guard, especially after the failed acquisition of Kemba Walker, and Ivey is seen as a potential franchise changer with his skills and athleticism.

Obviously, the Knicks should include their No. 11 pick in the deal, but they should also likely drop some of their young talent like Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes or Cam Reddish. The Kings could also be interested in a game-winning assist now as they desperately try to make the playoffs. Julius Randle doesn’t seem to make sense either financially or positionally given Sabonis’ presence, but Alec Burks or Evan Fournier could be of interest to a team lacking wing depth.

The Knicks realized last season that their current roster probably wasn’t enough to compete in the East, and trading for a player like Ivey would potentially allow them to improve now while looking to the future. However, with stiff competition from teams looking to advance, the price is going to be high.

In terms of potential NBA-ready superstars, it should be a four-man draft. Prospects below them are seen more as future players or projects that need a ton of development. Therefore, the real draft intrigue begins at No. 5 with the Pistons, who already have a franchise cornerstone in last year’s No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham. They really could go any direction – I have them pick Mathurin in my fictional draft, while our draft experts Gary Parrish and Kyle Boone have them pick Murray and Dyson Daniels, respectively. Detroit is in the midst of a rebuild, so it certainly won’t be considered fit, instead taking the best available prospect on its board.

Because there’s no consensus at No. 5, that’s another team that might consider dropping. Let’s say the Pistons like AJ Griffin but know they can get him down further in the draft. They could potentially find a team infatuated with a prospect like Shaedon Sharpe, one of the most enticing players in the draft, and fear they won’t be able to put them on. This would be a good time for GM Troy Weaver to step in, collect an asset in order to go down and still get the guy he wants. Project magic 101.

Stein reports that the Grizzlies are “striving for progress in the draft,” which is an intriguing development for a team that finished with the NBA’s second-best record last season. They have their own pick at No. 29, as well as Utah’s No. 22 pick, which could be a nice combination for a low lottery team or teenagers who just aren’t in love with the prospects in this range. .

Last year, the Grizzlies went from No. 17 to No. 10 and made a relatively surprising move in Ziaire Williams, who went on to start 31 games as a rookie and play crucial playoff minutes. With the young core they already have, adding another lottery-level talent would make the Grizzlies even scarier — not just next season, but in the future.

Charlotte has the 13th and 15th picks, but they’re not expected to keep them both. This team wants to fight now, as evidenced by its impending coaching change, and faces a massive financial commitment to Miles Bridges this summer and possibly LaMelo Ball. That means they probably don’t want to pay two first-round picks that might not immediately help, so one of them is likely going up for sale to the highest bidder. Pacers center Myles Turner could be a target with the No. 15, according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, but whether it’s Indiana or another team getting involved, the Hornets will be a team to watch on the approach. of the draft.

If Wizards keep their pick, it will be fascinating to see who they pick up on. If they opt for a more NBA-ready player like Ochai Agbaji or Mark Williams, it could be a hint that they are committed to the Bradley Beal-Kristaps Porzingis Foundation. If they opt for a younger player or a project like Ousmane Dieng, it could be an indication that they have an eye on the future.

The Wizards are also intriguing because, like so many other teams, they would have made their pick. They’re looking for a point guard to place alongside Beal and Porzingis, according to Stein, and they’re not afraid to part ways with No. 10 to do so. Any team with a spare point guard who is interested in moving up would be wise to contact the Washington front office.

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