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NBA Draft Round Up, rookies prepare for Vegas

Posted on: June 25, 2022, 10:30 a.m.

Last update on: June 24, 2022, 05:28h.

With the NBA season officially over and the 2022 draft in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look at which picks stood and which teams had the biggest impact on draft night.

Paolo Banchero
Paolo Banchero catches a pass in a recent game, above. The Orlando Magic selected Bachero as their first draft pick. (Image: Sports Illustrated)

All 58 picks were made over the two rounds Thursday night, as commissioner Adam Silver took the microphone to announce the first-round picks.

Next, the rookies head to the Summer League in Las Vegas on July 7, when rookies and free agents take to the field for the first time to represent their new teams. Soon, Sin City could also have its own NBA franchise, with big names like LeBron James and Floyd Mayweather expressing their support for the future team.

Here’s a breakdown of the project’s key moments.

1. Paolo Banchero – The magic of Orlando

It didn’t take long for the first half shock of the draft, as the Orlando Magic selected Duke rookie Paolo Banchero with the top pick. The 6-foot-10 forward helped lead the Blue Devils to the National Championship title game last season.

With a 22-60 record last season, the Magic can use all the help they can get, so get a guy who averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his only season of college basketball can only help revitalize the team.

2. Chet Holmgren – Oklahoma City
After the somewhat surprising first pick, the Oklahoma City Thunder appeared to stay the course as they drafted Gonzaga freshman center Chet Holmgren with the 2nd overall pick.

Gonzaga’s 7-footer is a sniper blocker who should be the Thunder’s focus for years to come. While Oklahoma City has lost 70% of its games over the past two seasons, the future looks bright with Holmgren and a slew of draft picks over the next five years.

3. Jabari Smith Jr. – Houston Rockets

The player many predicted would be the number one pick, Jabari Smith Jr., dropped to number three on draft night and straight into the lap of the Houston Rockets.

The 6-foot-10 Auburn small forward will no doubt help rebuild the Rockets, who for the second straight year finished with the NBA’s worst record. It looks like the Rockets followed up Jalen Green’s 2021 pick with another home run to Smith Jr.

This could signal a strong season for Houston and sports betting fans. Last year, the Houston Rockets were the fourth most bet team in the NBA, according to FanDuel reports.

Other Project Highlights

Trading was a big theme of the night as many clubs made moves to allow themselves to jump or drop further into the draft. A total of 13 deals were completed on draft night, with several players drafted by teams they won’t play for. The Duke Blue Devils had four players picked in the first round, tying a program record.

Duke players were picked 1st (Paolo Banchero – Orlando), 15th (Mark Williams – Charlotte), 16th (AJ Griffin – Atlanta), and 26th (Wendell Moore Jr. – Minnesota).

The night was also the first time in history that two Canadians were selected in the top ten, and only the third time that two Canucks were drafted in the lottery..

At pick number 6, the Indiana Pacers selected Bennedict Mathurin from the University of Arizona, and at number 7, the Portland Trail Blazers selected Shaedon Sharpe from the University of Kentucky.