The NBA Draft is in 31 days and the lottery picks have officially been set. I thought I would take my time and go through each lottery pick to see when each team will select and my thoughts on each team. So let’s start with who acquired the 14th overall pick.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers
Not a surprise at all that the Cavs did not move in the lottery. They had the lowest odds and there was little chance they would have risen draft-wise. There is a lot to like with the Cavs now that they are free from the mess post LeBron. Their biggest problem at that time was that the Cavs were a team built for LeBron and once he left, this team became a mess for many years thanks to the bad contracts they had to deal with. The Cavs are a team for the future and it will be interesting to see what moves they make in free agency. No, LeBron will not be coming back to Cleveland when he leaves the Los Angeles Lakers.
13. Charlotte Hornets
Not a surprise that they did not move up in the NBA Draft Lottery. The Hornets are in a good spot now with all the talent they have. All they need to do is improve on defense, try to get out of Gordon Hayward’s awful contract, and get a good center as Mason Plumlee is terrible and Montrezl Harrell is more of an offensive center. I will say one thing, the Hornets made the right decision firing James Borrego as the head coach. He was not going to be the guy to take the Hornets to the next step and the Hornets struggled during the play in Tournament due to coaching. As a fan of the Charlotte Hornets, I just hope they make the right decision hiring the next head coach. At least the Hornets re-signed GM Mitch Kupchek to another contract which is a positive.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Los Angeles Clippers)
The Clippers would be a playoff team if Kawai Leonard was healthy last season. But hey, they at least get a lottery pick right? Oh yeah, that draft pick is a part of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s pick collection due to the Paul George trade. Well that stinks. The Clippers better hope that Kawai can stay healthy for next season. For Oklahoma City Thunder, I am just excited to see the second part of their pick collection take place next draft.
11. New York Knicks
Definitely a disappointing season and draft lottery for the New York Knicks. They did not get lucky and stayed put with the 11th pick in the draft. I still think the most shocking part is that the Knicks did not panic and fire Tom Thibodeau as the head coach. Which, to me, is a smart move as he was not the biggest problem with the Knicks last season. Now the big question is if Julius Randle can be more consistent when he plays next season. At least RJ Barrett is an excellent player and Opi Toppin has showed promise. The Knicks need a few more pieces in my opinion before they acquire Zion Williamson from the Pelicans. Yes, I know Zion has expressed interested in re-signing with the Pelicans, but if he can’t stay healthy, then it would not surprise me if the Pelicans don’t re-sign him and the Knicks decide to overpay for him. I am not giving up hope for the Knicks yet, but they need a good offseason.
10. Washington Wizards
This team would have been a play in team if Bradley Beal & Kristaps Porzingis could have stayed healthy. At least the Wizards got Kyle Kuzma and KCP. There are pieces surrounding this team and they got solid depth. Along with a Top 10 pick, the Wizards are in a solid spot, but they better start capitalizing on there opportunity now as Bradley Beal is not getting any younger.
9. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs did not have a big chance getting the 1st pick, but it was unlucky that they could not rise. Except for Dejounte Murray, there really is not a player on this team I would call a superstar. The Spurs need a season or two before they are truly ready to make it back to the playoffs. I just hope Gregg Popovich gets one last championship run before he retires. The guy is one of the best coaches in NBA History and I would love for him to go out on a high note.
8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Los Angeles Lakers)
What a disappointing season for the Los Angeles Lakers. On the bright side for the Lakers, their 1st round pick is solidified in the Top 10 of this draft. Oh wait, I forgot. hey don’t have that pick. It is New Orleans Pelicans property due to the Anthony Davis trade. That stinks for them but the true winners is the New Orleans, as they can select a player to help bolster the team and surround Zion Williamson with talent (Well, until Zion goes to the Knicks once his contract expires). As for the Lakers, all I got to say is just blow it up. You are not winning another championship with a team that has declining stars like LeBron, AD, and Westbrook. Heck, a majority of the team are a bunch of aging ring chasers. At least Frank Vogel is no longer the head coach of the Lakers.
7. Portland Trail Blazers
You know that feeling where you feel a talented player is being wasted by the team they are playing for?Well I got that feeling last season with the Portland Trail Blazers. What a complete waste of a year for Dameon Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic. The worst part is that Nurkic, yet again, got hurt and Lillard as well dealt with injuries. I really hope both get a ring due to there talent, but I don’t see the Trail Blazers winning with there current core at all. If I was Portland I would do the necessary and blow it up, thus starting their rebuild. I don’t see Portland doing that at all and will blame last season due to injuries. At least get the 7th pick to help bolster the team.
6. Indiana Pacers
Is it just me or are the Indiana Pacers the most cursed team in the NBA? They build the team right and they make sensible moves, yet it is not enough for the Pacers. This team always has a star player suffers a serious injury and then leaves the team like Victor Oladipo and Paul George did. Even in the draft lottery, they can’t get lucky, as they fell out of the Top 5. They got talent in Malcom Brogdan and Tyrese Haliburton, and Buddy Hield. That’s a start for the Pacers rebuild.
5. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons are also losers in this lottery. They fell from having the 3rd overall pick to the 5th overall pick. I would not be too nervous with the Pistons them as they are still in a rebuild and won last years lottery. The Pistons got an excellent player in Cade Cunningham on their roster. But, it is going to take more than one player to help fix this team. I wonder what the Pistons are going to be doing with Jeremy Grant? Grant is a solid player for the Pistons but they could use him as trade bait in order to obtain future value for him. They need a few more years before they are ready to take a big step in looking to be team in the playoffs.
4. Sacramento Kings
The Kings are one of the big winners of the draft lottery as they rose up 3 selections. They got extremely lucky and will absolutely use this pick on either point guard or shooting guard. Who knows what the Kings will do though, as they made some questionable moves during the trade deadline. It will be interesting who the Kings they will hire at head coach after they revealed that they will not be retaining Alvin Gentry. I will say that there is a lot of youth that is intriguing for the future.
3. Houston Rockets
The Rockets are, of course, a loser in the draft lottery as they dropped from having the 1st overall pick to having the 3rd overall pick. They have been a complete mess since the predictable flop of acquiring Russell Westbrook via trade and giving up their best player Chris Paul. At least they finally traded away James Harden when they did. Did you see how disastrous his time in Brooklyn was? Besides that, the Rockets are easily the worst team in the NBA and there is still a lot of work left to go for this team.
One quick question, Why is John Wall still here? Yes, I know its probably due to having the worst contract in basketball, but the Rockets are legit paying him not to play. I get that the Rockets are young and want to see how there youth will develop, but keeping John Wall is just throwing 47 million dollars in a volcano. Look, I love Wall and it is a shame how injuries have derailed his career, but I would rather buy him out and spread the money out in a few years, than pay a gigantic chunk of that money for one year. Well, at least this team has Eric Gordon, Jalen Green and Christian Wood. This is going to be a long rebuild for the Rockets.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Sam Presti’s Pick Collection has gotten more valuable as they rose from being the 3rd overall pick to the 2nd overall pick. Ok jokes aside, the Thunder were one of the winners of this draft lottery as they rose from their original draft. They get the 2nd overall pick to help with there rebuild and surround Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. There are still plenty of years left in the Thunder rebuild and it will be interesting how they will play this offseason. Knowing Sam Presti, he will figure out how to grow his Pick Collection by taking on a bad contract in these years of rebuilding.
1. Orlando Magic
Congratulations to the Magic organization and their fanbase as they have won the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery. This draft choice should give a big boost to their rebuild as now they have the ticket to draft either Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith. I can’t say for certain who goes 1st overall yet but if it were my choice today, I would draft Smith, who would pair with Cole Anthony, the Wagner twins, Wendell Carter, and Jalen Suggs. The Orlando Magic has now secured the 1st overall pick since they took Dwight Howard in the 2004 NBA Draft.