NBA Draft Round Up, Rookies Gear Up For Vegas

Posted on: June 25, 2022, 10:30h. 

Last updated on: June 24, 2022, 05:28h.

With the NBA season officially over and the 2022 Draft in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look at which picks stood and what teams made the biggest impact on draft night.

Paolo Banchero
Paolo Banchero catches a pass during a recent game, above. The Orlando Magic selected Bachero as the first overall draft pick. (Image: Sports Illustrated)

All 58 picks were made over the two rounds on Thursday night, as Commissioner Adam Silver took to the microphone to announce the first-round picks.

Next, the rookies will head to the Las Vegas Summer League on July 7, when the rookies and free agents will take the court for the first time representing their new teams. Soon, Sin City could have its own NBA franchise, too, with big names like LeBron James and Floyd Mayweather voicing their support for the future team.

Here is a breakdown of the key draft moments.

1. Paolo Banchero – Orlando Magic

It didn’t take long for the first semi-shock of the draft, as the Orlando Magic selected Duke freshman Paolo Banchero with the first pick. The 6-foot 10 forward helped lead the Blue Devils to the National Championship title game this past season.

With a record of 22-60 last season, the Magic can use all the help they can get, so obtaining a guy who averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in his only season of college basketball can only help revitalize the team.

2. Chet Holmgren – Oklahoma City
After the somewhat of a surprise first pick, the Oklahoma City Thunder appeared to stay the course as they drafted Gonzaga freshman Center Chet Holmgren with the 2nd overall pick.

The 7-footer from Gonzaga is an elite shot-blocker who should man the middle for the Thunder for years to come. While Oklahoma City has lost 70% of their games the last two seasons, the future looks bright with Holmgren and a multitude of draft picks over the next five years.

3. Jabari Smith Jr. – Houston Rockets

The player many predicted to be the number one pick, Jabari Smith Jr., fell to number three on draft night, and right into the lap of the Houston Rockets.

The 6-foot-10 Auburn small forward will undoubtedly help the rebuilding Rockets, who, for the second straight year, finished with the worst record in the NBA. It looks like the Rockets have followed up the Jalen Green pick of 2021 with another home run in Smith Jr.

This could signal a strong season for Houston and sports betting fans. Last year, the Houston Rockets were the fourth-most bet-on team in the NBA, according to reports from FanDuel.

Other Draft Highlights

Trades were a big theme of the night, as many clubs were pulling off moves to allow themselves to jump up or drop further in the draft. In total, 13 deals were made on draft night, with several players being drafted by teams that they will not play for. The Duke Blue Devils had four players picked in the first round, equaling a program record.

Duke players were picked 1st (Paolo Banchero – Orlando), 15th (Mark Williams – Charlotte), 16th (AJ Griffin – Atlanta) and 26th (Wendell Moore Jr. – Minnesota).

The night was also the first time in history that two Canadians were picked in the top ten, and just the third time that two Canucks were drafted in the lottery.

At pick number 6, the Indiana Pacers selected Bennedict Mathurin from the University of Arizona, and at number 7, the Portland Trail Blazers selected Shaedon Sharpe from the University of Kentucky.