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Winners and Losers of 2022 NBA Draft: Pistons meticulous, Knicks mediocre

Jaden Ivey was a great pick in the NBA Draft
Blake Wesley, right, hugs family and friends after being selected 25th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

In any NBA Draft, there are teams that set themselves up nicely for the future, while others make mistakes that cost years to correct. 

In the 2022 NBA Draft, the league saw 60 young adult’s lives change for the better, and the future of each franchise change with each passing moment. 

There were teams who nailed it, team’s who came away disappointed, and of course, the Knicks. 

Let’s get to the winners and losers of last night’s draft. 

Winners – Detroit Pistons

Duh. 

If you ask any NBA Analyst who came away with the best draft, almost everyone will say Detroit. Jaden Ivey was talked about as a potential top-3 player in this class and he fell to the fifth overall pick. The fact that Sacramento passed on him almost guarantees future stardom as well. 

Then the Pistons got five, yes FIVE picks from the New York Knicks in exchange for the draft rights to Jalen Duren. The fact they pair Cade Cunningham with Ivey and Duren is an excellent haul over the last few drafts. 

The Pistons came away like bandits in the NBA Draft this year. They are the big winners. 

Losers – New York Knicks

Five draft picks to save over $9 million in cap space. 

Unfathomable. 

The draft is a time for fans to be excited about their team and a young player and the Knicks just simply refused to allow fans to be excited. While they did pick up two extra first round picks, the fact that the team is expecting to throw the kitchen sink at Jalen Brunson is so bizarre when you realize Brunson averaged just 16 points per game last year. 

And there’s not even a guarantee that Brunson would come to New York either. Just a month ago, it was being reported that Brunson wanted to stay in Dallas. 

If the Knicks gave up five picks and Kemba Walker for more salary to pay Brunson and then not even land him? 

Oh boy. 

Winners – Philadelphia 76ers

I loved what Philadelphia did in this draft. They didn’t pick a single player, but made a trade that immediately helps the roster. 

With the 23rd pick, the 76ers traded the pick and shooting guard Danny Green to Memphis for De’Anthony Melton. Melton shot over 37% from three and is a quality defender. The 76ers added Melton and he instantly fits in with Tyrese Maxey, James Harden and even Matisse Thybulle should they choose to keep him. 

My hot take for the 2022-23 season is that Melton wins 6th-man of the year award because he just fits perfectly with what Philadelphia needed.

The 76ers were the quit winners in last night’s draft. 

Losers – Orlando Magic

24 hours ago, the thought process was that Orlando was going to take Auburn’s Jabari Smith as the clear favorite at first overall. 

Then a growing crescendo of support came in for Duke’s Paolo Banchero and he ended up being the selection. Banchero isn’t a bad pick. An All-American who averaged 17 points last year, it was clear the forward was going to go in the top three. 

But the fact the Magic passed on Smith was a big surprise to me. Orlando’s in the early stage of a rebuild which is the reason for this pick, but Smith was the safest option to be an All-Star. It felt like the Magic took a massive gamble with passing on Smith and we won’t know how it’ll look until a few years. 

Banchero isn’t a bad pick, but passing on Smith forces me to decline them the title of winners. 

Winners – Houston Rockets

One team’s miss is another team’s target. With Orlando taking Banchero, Smith landed in the lap of the Houston Rockets. Analysts had Smith as the #1 prospect this year coming out of Auburn and will be the first true block of the Rockets rebuild.

But the Rockets being classified as winners yesterday goes further than just the selection of Smith. 

With the trade of James Harden to Brooklyn, the Rockets own the next four draft picks of Brooklyn’s until 2027. Why is that significant? 

Well, the latest reports say that Kyrie is looking to get out of New York, and Durant could follow suit as well. The Rockets won the Harden trade convincingly, and they knocked the draft out of the park as well. 

Losers – Brooklyn Nets

The Nets didn’t draft a single player last night and still came away as massive losers of the draft. We already mentioned the fact that they don’t own a first round pick until 2027, but I think it’s also fair to bring up another point. 

In 2013, the Nets swung for the fences to get Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and traded four first round picks. Brooklyn couldn’t get out of the second round and that trade was seen as one of the worst in league history. 

Except it happened again!

In the Harden trade, the Nets gave up four first round picks, and STILL couldn’t get out of the second round with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. 

It doesn’t matter if they traded back into the first round last night and got Jesus Christ himself, the Nets are one of the biggest losers of last night’s draft. 

And it’s going to be awhile before they change into winners of a draft any time soon. 

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