With 14 teams learning their lottery fate on Tuesday night, the 2022 NBA Draft order is officially set!
Here’s how we’ll head into the big night on June 23rd:
1. Orlando Magic
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
3. Houston Rockets
4. Sacramento Kings
5. Detroit Pistons
6. Indiana Pacers
7. Portland Trail Blazers
8. New Orleans Pelicans (via LA)
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Washington Wizards
11. New York Knicks
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via LAC)
13. Charlotte Hornets
14. Cleveland Cavaliers
– End of Lottery –
15. Charlotte Hornets (via NO)
16. Atlanta Hawks
17. Houston Rockets (via BRK)
18. Chicago Bulls
19. Minnesota Timberwolves
20. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto)
21. Denver Nuggets
22. Memphis Grizzlies
23. Brooklyn Nets
24. Milwaukee Bucks
25. San Antonio Spurs
26. Dallas Mavericks
27. Miami Heat
28. Golden State Warriors
29. Memphis Grizzlies
30. Oklahoma City Thunder
• The Orlando Magic will hold the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since the 2004 season when they selected franchise center Dwight Howard. The organization also took Shaquille O’Neal off the board with the top spot in 1992. When we consider the franchise’s choice to blow it up and send Nikola Vucevic to the Chicago Bulls has followed with two top-10 selections in 2021 (Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner) and now the top spot one year later (#GoTanking), I’d say the “who won the trade meter” is currently pointed in their direction. Not to mention, the organization is also in line to receive the Bulls’ first-round pick next season.
• We can still see things even out if Nikola Vucevic can play more like his former self next season (or even if he helps net the Bulls an upgrade at the position via trade), but the Magic’s plan seems to be going almost perfectly. To be sure, I’m still happy with the current direction the Bulls are headed, and I wouldn’t necessarily undo the trade from last year’s trade deadline. However, it appears as if Orlando is wreaking the benefits of their decision.
• Remember that report about how Portland could be in on Zach LaVine? Yeah, well, they became a little bit less attractive of a destination last night. The front office watched them fall one spot in the lottery and receive the No. 7 pick (hello, old friend). I could envision the franchise shopping this selection for a win-now player to pair alongside Damian Lillard, but how strong of a talent can they receive in return? This will be a front office to watch as draft night nears.
Dame Lillard's reaction falling to the 7th pick 😭😭😭😭pic.twitter.com/zCftUmLFZc
— Piñata Farms: The Meme App (@pinatafarms) May 18, 2022
• Speaking of teams to watch, Houston Rockets GM Rafael Stone immediately opened the door to potential trades.
Rockets GM Rafael Stone on possibly moving the team's No. 3 pick: "We’re definitely open to it. That’s kind of an important part of my personal philosophy is that you always want to be open to those things."
Strategy is best player available, Stone said.
— Danielle Lerner (@danielle_lerner) May 18, 2022
• In other draft news, interviews will begin today at the draft combine, according to Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman. While I’m sure Ayo Dosunmu’s underrated skillset mainly had everything to do with his selection last season, I remember Arturas Karnisovas speaking in the past about how great the interview process went with the former Fighting Illini guard. These conversations can help solidify interest in certain players and establish an important long-term relationship.
Team interviews for NBA combine prospects starts today. Hours and hours of questioning one after another, not always described as fun by staff but obviously a key Get To Know You part of the predraft process
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) May 18, 2022
• Bobby Marks tweeted something out that I believe is worth at least a bullet point:
Getting the no. 1 pick will certainly impact the future of Mo Bamba.
The former lottery pick a restricted FA and Orlando has until 6/29 to tender him a $10.1M Qualifying Offer.
The Magic will have close to $29M in cap space without Bamba.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) May 18, 2022
• Considering the top-3 players in this draft project to man the frontcourt – and the Magic also have former-Bull Wendell Carter Jr. under contract for several more seasons – Mo Bamba’s time in Orlando could be coming to an end. Once the No. 6 pick in the draft and a highly-touted prospect, the big man struggled initially to find his way at the NBA level. However, last year, something seemed to click as the versatile and lengthy center posted 10.6 points with 8.1 rebounds per game. He shot 48.0 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from downtown on one end while finishing 5th in the NBA in total blocks on the other. The seven-foot youngster was finally looking like the guy many had hoped for.
• With all that being the case, I wouldn’t be surprised if another cap space team swoops in and hands the 24-year-old a sizable deal. As a still-developing talent, a still-rebuilding team likely wouldn’t have a hard time convincing themselves to outbid another squad. But, if the market didn’t materialize expectedly, I wonder if there is any world where the Bulls would try to get involved. Not only could he be quite the solid backup option to Nikola Vucevic, but he could be an option moving forward if the Bulls decided not to keep Vucevic on board after this season (when he’ll be an unrestricted free agent). His ability to still stretch the floor would make plenty of sense alongside LaVine, and he would surely help solve some of the size issues down low. Again, I don’t necessarily see it happening (which is why I’m not really diving into the logistics), but we can always dream this time of year!
• If I had a nickel for every in-season tournament update …
The NBA is discussing a new In-Season Tournament that would begin as soon as the 2023-24 season, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. With the Play-In Tournament here to stay given its success, concepts are beginning to ramp up on another competitive event.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 17, 2022
• YES! BIG YES! The last thing the NBA should be doing is allowing opponents to stop awesome transition dunks, especially for this Chicago Bulls team! WE NEED THE ZACHARY JAMS!
The NBA is eyeing a rule change to the “transition take foul” that would award the offensive team with one free throw and retaining possession, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Board of Governors vote set for July. The change is similar to current rules in G League.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 17, 2022
• Jimmy G. Buckets took care of business for the Miami Heat in Game 1.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) May 18, 2022
• Speaking of old friends …
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) May 17, 2022
• This was heartwarming and awesome:
Wake Up and Enjoy So Much More from Christopher Morel’s Debut Homer – https://t.co/MybNXfCbgJ (via BN)
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 18, 2022
• Thank you, Tab.
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) May 17, 2022