The 2022 NBA Draft Lottery has come and gone, leaving a slew of winners and losers in its wake.
Here are some of the Lottery’s biggest winners and losers:
The Orlando Magic: the Magic emerged from the Lottery with the #1 overall pick, thus guaranteeing their ability to choose between Gonzaga’ forward/center Chet Holmgren, Auburn’ forward Jabari Smith Jr., Duke’ forward Paolo Banchero, or another prospect.
The Oklahoma City Thunder: the Thunder had two shots at securing the #1 pick; with their own pick (fourth best odds) and the Los Angeles Clippers (twelfth best odds).
The Clippers’ pick stayed at 12 – but the Thunder’s own pick jumped up to #2; which means that they won’t have to trade any future assets to move up into the top-three.
The Sacramento Kings: only the Kings could be viewed as losers for jumping more than any other team in the Lottery.
The Kings jumped into the top-four, pushing the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, and Portland Trail Blazers down.
So, why is it a bad thing that the Kings jumped?
Well, the 2022 NBA Draft has a consensus top-three in Holmgren, Smith Jr., and Banchero.
The fourth highest-ranked prospect on most big-boards is Purdue’ combo-guard Jaden Ivey.
However, the Kings traded combo-guard Tyrese Halliburton last season to clear up more opportunity for De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell.
The fifth highest-ranked prospect on most big-boards is Kentucky’ guard-forward Shaedon Sharpe.
However, Sharpe sat out the collegiate season, meaning scouts had little opportunity to see him in action.
Iowa’ forward Keegan Murray could be viewed as a good fit – but scouts largely don’t project him as a home-run hit.
The Kings are losers because the heightened scrutiny of having the #4 pick will likely cause them to overthink the selection.
The Portland Trail Blazers: If ever there was a time for the Trail Blazers to catch fire and rocket up the Lottery.
The Trail Blazers are holding the team together like Atlas in the last year of Damian Lillard’s prime.
But let me ask you this: is a starting lineup of 31-year old Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic (who’s coming off serious injury), Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, and Nassir Little sowing fear in the heart of any Western Conference playoff team?
No, I didn’t think so.