The NBA Draft is one of the most exciting days in all of sports, and this year’s edition lived up to that narrative. In 2021, Cade Cunningham was the clear player to be selected with the first pick in the draft, but this year, that selection did not come so easily.
Every summer, there are winners and losers when it comes to the draft. Part of that is a result of the balls not bouncing their way in the lottery, or teams simply making questionable decisions with their picks. Players may have fallen further than they wanted, gone undrafted, or went against the mocks and got selected early, but here are the teams that won and lost the 2022 NBA Draft.
NBA Draft Winner: Detroit Pistons
Basketball is finally exciting again in the Motor City. The future is bright in Detroit, thanks to an exceptional draft by Troy Weaver and the rest of the crew. On top of the best overall draft out of all 30 teams, the Pistons have a lot of money to spend this summer to get a star-free agent. All signs point to Miles Bridges being that guy after the Deandre Ayton talks have slowed down.
Remember the name, Jaden Ivey, Detroit fans. The 20-year-old superstar fell into the laps of the Pistons with the fifth overall pick, and fans could not be happier. Granted, it helped that he refused to work out with the Sacramento Kings who picked No. 4, but it was a steal nonetheless. Ivey draws comparisons to Ja Morant, and the former Purdue player is a frontrunner to win Rookie of the Year.
What pushed the Pistons over the edge as the team to win the draft was their acquisition of the 13th pick out of Memphis, Jalen Duren via trade from the Hornets. Simply put, all eyes should be on Detroit for years to come.
Read more about the Pistons.
NBA Draft Loser: New York Knicks
The New York Knicks, and their fans, are the losers of this draft. As the draft is located in Brooklyn, a lot of Knicks fans were in attendance to see who the organization would select 11th overall, but they went home angry. New York traded the pick to the OKC Thunder for three protected first-rounders.
One of the few positives of the draft for Knicks fans is that they unloaded the contract of Kemba Walker. New York does not look like they will be back in the playoffs, even if they sign a guy like Jalen Brunson this summer.
NA Draft Winner: Houston Rockets
With the third overall pick, the Houston Rockets select, Jabari Smith Jr. out of Auburn University. Going into draft night, nobody expected Smith to drop to Houston. Smith, fits in very nicely on the Rockets, alongside Jalen Green, and the rebuild looks promising.
Houston also selected one of the most underrated players in the draft out of LSU, Tari Eason, and had a steal drafting TyTy Washington Jr. with pick No. 29. Houston got arguably the best player out of the “big three” from the draft and some great complementary pieces.
NBA Draft Loser: Sacramento Kings
Keegan Murray receives far too much hate and should be a very good NBA player. He very likely may be the most NBA-ready player who was drafted. The reason the Kings are losers is for another reason; they are simply viewed as the laughing stock of the league. They had Jaden Ivey in the palms of their hands, but he did not want to play there, and this is becoming an issue for the California team.
The Kings are known for just missing out on star players, like when they drafted Marvin Bagley III over Luka Doncic. Sacramento has found a home in the lottery, and even if Murray pans out (which I think he will) the team still has to improve its reputation around the league.