The 2022 NBA draft has come and gone and 58 new players – plus undrafted free agents – are about to descend on the league and potentially shake up the NBA Vegas Odds ahead of the next season.
Here is a look at some of the winners from the Draft night:
Sometimes the key to a draft pick that just looks right is a little bit of unexpected luck. The Rockets had Jabari Smith fall into their laps after the Orlando Magic – who had been projected to pick Smith for weeks – surprised the field by grabbing Paolo Banchero instead.
Smith – and Rockets’ second-rounder Tari Eason – are both outstanding defenders and Smith has the ability to be an elite player immediately at the defensive end of the floor. Houston already has the exciting and improving Jalen Green at point guard and the Rockets now have a young nucleus that can grow together into a team to fear.
This is another team that is building around a young core. Cade Cunningham was already set in place as one of the Pistons’ starting guards and adding Jaden Ivey with the No. 5 pick gives them a pair of playmakers in the backcourt. The big question here will be fit. Ivey has the flair that Cunningham sometimes lacks and if the two can work out how to distribute their talents they can make each other better.
Detroit also added Jalen Duren, a player who will improve their ability to block shots and has some old-school Detroit-era vibes about his physical style of play.
When you can work the draft by giving up very little to bring in a starting player and another pick with bags of upside then you are doing it right.
That was Dallas this year as the Mavs managed to bring in Christian Wood for a low first-round pick and a gaggle of bench players they can easily replace. Wood gives them a starter at No. 5, a player equally at home in the paint of stretching the defense with his ability to shoot from the perimeter.
Their move up to No. 37 to grab Jaden Hardy was also a smart one. Hardy has ranked as high as No. 2 in the country by some recruiting services a year ago, but instead of college, he went the G League path. It didn’t completely work out – though there were some moments – which is why he slid out of his projected top 20 spots in the draft and into the second round.
If Hardy can become the player that scouts expected coming out of high school then this is a high-ceiling pick deep in the draft.