The 2022 NBA Draft has already passed us by, meaning it’s time to break down the picks.
While we won’t know how each selection will pan out until these players actually take the floor for their new teams, there is still room for immediate evaluation based on pick value and fit.
There are a few things to consider when reacting to how franchises did on draft night. Did they fill a need or did they select the best talent available? Did they reach for a certain prospect or did they land a player later in the draft than originally expected? Did the moves each franchise made fit the direction and timeline of the current roster?
Keeping those things in mind, The Sporting News ranked all 30 teams, giving each franchise an overall grade for their activity on draft night.
1. Detroit Pistons
Picks: Jaden Ivey (#5), Jalen Duren (#13)
The Pistons were without a doubt the biggest winners of the night. When Ivey — the best guard in this class — fell to them at No. 5, that locked up their backcourt of the future alongside Cade Cunningham. Then, Detroit traded for an athletic and physically imposing big man in Duren, rapidly building its core of young and talented players.
2. New Orleans Pelicans
Picks: Dyson Daniels (#8), E.J. Liddell (#41)
The Pelicans kept it simple on draft night but did everything right. Daniels is the type of NBA-ready, defensive-minded playmaker New Orleans’ emerging roster needs to take another step toward being a perennial playoff team. Later in the draft, the Pelicans got a steal in junior forward Liddell, who many draft analysts — myself included — had mocked in the top-20.
3. Orlando Magic
Picks: Paolo Banchero (#1), Caleb Houstan (#32)
The Magic land at third on this list just because I believe they got the No. 1 pick right. While Jabari Smith Jr. was believed to be their guy all the way up until the final seconds, Orlando got, in my opinion, the best player in this draft class in Banchero. The Duke product gives the Magic a go-to guy and franchise player to build around moving forward, as well as an intriguing young wing in Houstan.
4. San Antonio Spurs
Picks: Jeremy Sochan (#9), Malaki Branham (#20), Blake Wesley (#25)
The Spurs nailed this draft. Sochan is a versatile defensive presence to help build out an athletic frontcourt with Keldon Johnson. Branham was a steal at No. 20 as one of the best pure scorers in this draft class. Wesley is the type of high-upside guard who could develop into a diamond in the rough in San Antonio. When the Spurs are back to their winning ways a few years down the line, this draft class will have a huge part in that.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
Picks: Chet Holmgren (#2), Ousmane Dieng (#11), Jalen Williams (#12), Jaylin Williams (#34)
While I don’t love that the Thunder traded three (!) future first-round picks to the Knicks to acquire the 11th pick to draft Dieng, I have to respect their direction. Oklahoma City targeted upside potential and length in this draft. In their first three lottery picks, they added 21 feet and eight inches of wingspan. Holmgren and Dieng are very unique talents. Jalen Williams is a versatile offensive threat. Jaylin Williams is a dog on both ends of the floor. The Thunder took a home run hack in this draft and I can’t wait to see how it pans out.
6. Houston Rockets
Picks: Jabari Smith Jr. (#3), Tari Eason (#17), TyTy Washington (#29)
The Rockets likely went into the night expecting to land Banchero and ended up with Smith instead. And that’s not a bad thing. Smith still fits a need at power forward and gives the Rockets a two-way threat to build around with last year’s No. 2 pick Jalen Green. They made a floor-raising pick with a defensive stopper in Eason at No. 17 and then landed Washington, who was once projected as a top-10 pick in this class, at the end of the first round. It was a successful night for the Rockets.
7. New York Knicks
Picks: Trevor Keels (#42)
How did the Knicks get an “A” despite only landing Keels in the second round? They traded their No. 11 pick to the Thunder for three 2023 first-round picks. Although there were still talented prospects on the board, I don’t personally believe there was one player available at No. 11 that would have significantly changed New York’s franchise. Adding three 2023 first-round picks in what is considered to be a very strong draft is good business — especially when accounting for the extra cap space freed up to make major moves in free agency.
8. Indiana Pacers
Picks: Bennedict Mathurin (#6), Andrew Nembhard (#31), Kendall Brown (#48)
I thought the Pacers went 3-for-3 on their selections. Mathurin is the perfect scoring wing to make up Indiana’s backcourt of the future with Tyrese Haliburton. Nembhard is a pure floor general who will have a long career in the league as a reserve guard. Brown is an athletic freak with immense upside potential, which was a bit of a steal at No. 48. The Pacers got better and brightened their future on draft night.
9. Sacramento Kings
Picks: Keegan Murray (#4)
While the Kings will take some slack for passing on Ivey, they fill an immediate need with Murray. The Iowa forward is a versatile defender and effortless scorer who will fit seamlessly with the Kings’ core of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. He’s an NBA-ready player who will immediately help Sacramento try and snap its playoff drought.
10. Portland Trail Blazers
Picks: Shaedon Sharpe (#7), Gabriele Procida (#36), Jabari Walker (#57)
The day before the draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported that All-Star guard Damian Lillard liked Sharpe’s potential. And who did the Blazers take with their lottery pick? Sharpe. The Kentucky guard is a prolific scorer who will receive invaluable mentorship from Lillard. Portland added a player who can provide instant offense off the bench from Day 1.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Picks: Mark Williams (#15), Bryce McGowens (#40)
The Hornets desperately needed a center and they got their guy in Williams – one of the best shot blockers and rim-runners in this draft class. Williams and Charlotte always seemed to be a perfect match and he’ll be a great defensive anchor and lob threat for the Hornets. They also got a toolsy, intriguing young scorer in McGowens in the second round.
12. Atlanta Hawks
Picks: AJ Griffin (#16), Tyrese Martin (#51)
Griffin was widely expected to land in the lottery because he’s the best shooter in this draft class. The Hawks landed him at No. 16 without having to move up in the draft, giving All-Star guard Trae Young a floor spacer and offensive threat to take some pressure off on that end of the floor. Griffin at No. 16 is a steal.
13. Washington Wizards
Picks: Johnny Davis (#10), Yannick Nzosa (#54)
The Wizards selected the best player available at a position of need in Davis at No. 10. Davis is an athletic shooting guard who can score from all three levels of the floor and defend at a high level. Bradley Beal will have to play point guard, but he and Davis give Washington a backcourt to build around moving forward.
14. Denver Nuggets
Picks: Christian Braun (#21), Peyton Watson (#30), Ismael Kamagate (#46)
The Nuggets selected Braun with their first pick and he’s the perfect type of player for reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. Braun is an athletic forward who’s an active cutter, solid 3-point shooter and tenacious rebounder. Jokic will have a field day finding Braun slashing to the rim or spotting up on the perimeter. Denver also took two players with high ceilings of potential in Watson and Kamagate.
15. Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers traded their No. 23 overall pick to the Grizzlies for reserve guard DeAnthony Melton, and that’s a win for Philly. The Sixers were likely going to target a guard with the No. 23 pick and even though there were some talented guards available, no one could have the immediate impact that a defender and playmaker like Melton will.
16. Dallas Mavericks
Picks: Jaden Hardy (#37)
Hardy dropped significantly in the draft, sliding all the way out of the first round to pick No. 37. The Mavericks capitalized on the prolific scorer’s availability, trading for a second-round pick to acquire the Ignite product’s talents. Hardy will thrive playing alongside a playmaker like Luka Doncic and Dallas is going to look brilliant for making this pick.
17. Miami Heat
Picks: Nikola Jovic (#27)
The Heat took one of the top international prospects in this class in Jovic. The savvy offensive-minded forward will add a versatile scoring and playmaking punch to a Heat team that could desperately use it. Miami’s renowned player development will certainly get the most out of this 19-year-old.
18. Milwaukee Bucks
Picks: MarJon Beauchamp (#24), Hugo Besson (#58)
The Bucks were targeting players who can help contribute to their open championship window and they got that in Beauchamp and Besson. Beauchamp is an athletic wing who can defend multiple positions and score as a cutter or spot-up shooter. Besson is a crafty scorer and playmaker who could eventually run Milwaukee’s second unit. The Bucks checked the right boxes here.
19. Toronto Raptors
Picks: Christian Koloko (#33)
Koloko couldn’t be more of a typical Raptors pick. The Arizona junior was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and fills a need for Toronto at the center position. He’s athletic, mobile and versatile – just like Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse like – and he just so happens to be from the same town in Cameroon as All-Star forward Pascal Siakam. Don’t be surprised if the Raptors develop Koloko into a rotation player immediately.
20. Cleveland Cavaliers
Picks: Ochai Agbaji (#14), Khalifa Diop (#39), Isaiah Mobley (#49), Luke Travers (#56)
The Cavaliers fit a need for an athletic shooting wing in Agbaji with their first-round pick. It’s an added bonus that the Kansas senior is ready to contribute to an NBA rotation right away. But I do think Cleveland could have done more with their second-round picks. Diop is a project, Mobley is just the brother of last year’s No. 3 pick, Evan, and Travers still has a ways to go as a prospect.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves
Picks: Walker Kessler (#22), Wendell Moore Jr. (#26), Josh Minott (#45), Matteo Spagnolo (#50)
The Timberwolves used their No. 22 pick on a traditional center in Kessler. While they could use the depth behind Karl-Anthony Towns, I was confused that they targeted a backup with that pick. After their first pick, I liked what Minnesota did. Moore is a jack-of-all-trades who can contribute right away. Minott is an athletic wing who could develop into an intriguing player and Spagnolo is a playmaker, which fits a need.
22. Golden State Warriors
Picks: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (#28), Ryan Rollins (#44), Gui Santos (#55)
The Warriors rolled the dice on Baldwin, who was a former top-five, five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American as a tall, athletic shooting wing. He struggled at the college level, though, and he’s a ways away from being NBA-ready. Golden State also acquired two second-round picks: Rollins is a quick and shifty guard who is a threat in the pick-and-roll as a scorer and shooter, while Santos is a draft-and-stash player. Rollins was my favorite pick of the bunch by the reigning champs.
23. Los Angeles Lakers
Picks: Max Christie (#35)
The Lakers bought a second-round pick and landed Christie, a former five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American. The Michigan State wing is a solid athlete, a good shooter and has a lot of upside for a Lakers team that desperately needs young players with potential.
24. Boston Celtics
Picks: JD Davison (#53)
The Celtics only had one pick and addressed a need for guard depth. Davison is a freakishly athletic guard, but he’s a raw prospect. Stop me if you’re sensing a trend here, but he was a five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American in the class of 2021. Boston drafted for upside potential here.
25. Memphis Grizzlies
Picks: Jake LaRavia (#19), David Roddy (#23), Kennedy Chandler (#38), Vince Williams Jr. (#47)
I didn’t like what the Grizzlies did in this draft. I like LaRavia as a prospect – he’s a solid athlete, a good shooter and can defend multiple positions – but I thought No. 19 was a little early. Selecting Roddy at No. 23 was confounding as I don’t think he has a clean fit with Memphis’ roster. I did like what they did in the second round, though. Chandler is a lightning-fast guard and pesky defender to provide guard depth behind Ja Morant and Desmond Bane, while Williams provides some versatility as a scorer and defender on the wing.
26. LA Clippers
Picks: Moussa Diabate (#43)
The Clippers took a long, athletic forward in Diabate in the second round. He’ll need some time to develop but he’s well-worth the 43rd pick they used on him.
27. Chicago Bulls
Picks: Dalen Terry (#18)
This was the most confusing pick in the draft to me. Let me be clear: this grade has nothing to do with Terry as a player. The 6-7 guard has a very intriguing skillset as a playmaker and defender and he will only add to a tenacious defensive backcourt with players like Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu. I just thought the Bulls desperately needed to address a void for help in their frontcourt and they missed the mark with their only pick.
28. Phoenix Suns
The Suns did not have a pick in this draft.
29. Utah Jazz
The Jazz did not have a pick in this draft.
30. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets did not have a pick in this draft.