By Hocine LOUKKAF on 6/28/2022
While everyone is waiting for the 2023 class, which is supposed to be an elite prom, some teams have used this year’s draft to really upgrade their roster or even become potential playoffs contender like Detroit.
Picks : #5 Jaden Ivey #13 Jalen Duren #36 Gabriele Procida
This draft may turn into a homerun for the Pistons. Ivey was billed a top 5 prospect and is the perfect fit alongide Cunningham as a dynamic scorer who can defend the PG position. Duren has chosen the bad spot in Memphis but has always been professionnal. He is a steal at #13 and will compete with Stewart for the starting spot (except if Ayton comes). Procida brings international experience and shooting or could stay in Europe to gain more experience.
Picks : #3 Jabari Smith #17 Tari Eason #29 TyTy Washington
Houston got rid of Wood and needed a stretch player to pair with Sengun. At #3 with his nice shooting and size, Smith fits the bill and brings another high upside talent to help Jalen Green. Eason is not perfect but can help at both forward positions. Washington, a solid PG and ballhandler, was once projected a lottery pick and should turn into a steal at #29.
New Orleans Pelicans
Picks : #8 Dyson Daniels #41 EJ Lidell
A high risk-high reward pick, Daniels is not that big of a reach at #8. He had some incredible performances in G-League with several 10+rbd games and 4.7as for the season. He’s exactly the kind of tall PG the Pels need alongside McCollum. Lidell is a steal at #41 with his combinaton of toughness, shooting and IQ, a potential poor man’s Draymond Green for New Orleans.
Picks : #1 Paolo Banchero #32 Caleb Houstan
Banchero may have a limited upside but has been efficient all year and above all during the NCAA Tournament. The question is whether he’s the best fit or a real upgrade alongside Wagner and Jonathan Isaac, who is under contract until 2025. Houstan was a former top 10 player in his HS class but struggled shooting the ball with Michigan.
Picks : #2 Chet Holmgren #11 Ousmane Dieng #12 Jalen Williams #34 Jaylin Williams
With so many young prospects in its roster, it’s hard to know who will have playing time. Holmgren is doing the best he can on the court and has unlimited motor but he will always struggle gaining weight even if he makes up for it with his IQ. Will he also fit with another skinny forward, Pokusevski ? Dieng and Jalen Williams have been drafted higher than expected. Dieng struggled in Australia and still needs to find out what his one or two major strengths are while Jalen Williams’ stock rose after his impressive Combine. Finally, Jaylin Williams at #34 is a good pick as he brings solid defense and rebounding while still having room to improve.
Picks : #15 Mark Williams #40 Bryce McGowens
The Hornets targeted Williams and got him to protect the rim and rebound. McGowens could turn into a nice player if he displays more consistency on his shooting.
Picks : #6 Bennedict Mathurin #31 Andrew Nembhard #48 Kendall Brown
Mathurin had a solid season and being picked at #6 is pretty deserved. He may lack creativity and consistency and the upside Sharpe has but seems a sure thing. Nembhard is a solid pick at #31 while Brown, albeit still very raw, has the talent and physical tools to be an elite defensive player down the road.
Picks : #7 Shaedon Sharpe #57 Jabari Walker
Portland took a gamble on one of the most polarizing prospects, Sharpe, who despite his alleged bad interviews, is considered by many to have the most upside. He may not have an immediate impact but could turn into a star within 3 years. The Blazers also used the Procida pick to trade for need and experience with Jerami Grant while drafting another combo forward with Jabari Walker at #57.
San Antonio Spurs
Picks : #9 Jeremy Sochan #20 Malaki Branham #25 Blake Wesley
Sochan’s versatility on defense is exactly what the undermanned Spurs needed to add size and athleticism in their frontcourt. Yet, as they have been doing for the last years (Walker, Vassell, Primo, Johnson), they drafted two more perimeter-oriented players, including the poised-for-his-age Branham, in a roster full of them. As much as I like these picks, I can’t really see how they will share the SG spot minutes between five players, except if they use some to trade for a more experimented player.
Picks : #16 AJ Griffin #51 Tyrese Martin
Griffin seems like a steal at #16 as he was projected higher. Yet, his injury background, the fact that he plays at the same spot as Hunter and certain lack of first step explosivity raise questions about his use in Atlanta’s line-up specifically. Martin brings shooting and defense but has limited upside at age 23.
Picks : #24 Marjon Beauchamp #58 Hugo Besson
Beauchamp has been a success story and has used the G-League to display his defensive versatility and ability. Besson, who was projected as a late first/early second round pick, is more known for his shooting and IQ, but could be stashed overseas to become more experienced in a few years.
Golden State Warriors
Picks : #28 Patrick Baldwin #44 Ryan Rollins #55 Gui Santos
The Warriors took a gamble on former top 5 recruit Patrick Baldwin who struggled between injuries and bad decision as he chose to play for Milwaukee, coached by his father, where he was targeted by defenses and couldn’t display any consistency shooting the ball. The Warriors seem the best team to help him redeem himself. Rollins is an intriguing pick at #44 and could find his way into the rotation thanks to his defense and talent at both SG spots. Santos should stay in Brasil as a draft-and-stash.
PIck : #29 Nikola Jovic
Jovic was projected by some experts as a lottery pick. He still has many things to work on like his defense or shooting consistency but at #29, he has the potential to be a nice player who will pair perfectly with Adebayo.
Picks : #33 Christian Koloko
With a scouting staff mastering the African prospects, Koloko’s name was on their list for a long time. At #33, he brings much needed rim protection and upside despite his age. A perfect fit for the Raptors where he will join another Cameroonian hailing from the same town of Douala.
Picks : #53 JD Davison
Davison looks a lot like Smart, albeit rawer. At 6-3 with elite athleticism, he will bring depth if he can make the roster.
Picks : #4 Keegan Murray
There were rumors that the Kings would trade their pick or maybe draft Ivery. Finally, theu went for fit, drafting Murray at #4. Murray is a versatile player who has a nice combination of shooting and defense. An old sophomore at 22, his upside may be limited but he may contribute immediately and fit well alongside Sabonis. The Kings could have had another SG prospect instead of Ivey with Hardy at #37 but decided to send him to Dallas. A potential mistake if he reaches his potential.
Picks : #10 Johnny Davis #54 Yannick Nzosa
The Wizards went for best player available with Davis, a warrior at SG position who struggled with his shooting. We can question his fit with Beal if the star guard sign a new co,tract with the WIzards. A former top 10 projected pick, Nzosa is supposed to have signed a long-term contract with Malaga and could be a nice draft-and-stash if Malaga gives him more playing time.
Picks : #14 Ochai Agbaji #39 Khalifa Diop #49 Isaiah Mobley #46 Luke Travers
The Cavs adressed a need at SG with Agbaji who had a successful career and a college title with Kansas. Yet, there were other SG with maybe more upside, above all local standout Malaki Branham. Diop has not lived up to the hype for now while Mobley’s main strength is to be Evan’s brother (he can also play too I confess). Travers is even rawer and it’s hard to imagine him making the roster.
Picks : #18 Dalen Terry
Terry is a player I like and would have been a steal had he been drafted in the 20s or later. At 18, , he could turn into a nice player but with Ball (albeit oft-injured), Caruso and Dosunmu as dynamic and tall PGs in the roster, Terry will have to grind for minutes.
Pick : #21 Christian Braun #30 Peyton Watson #46 Ismael Kamagate
Braun was projected a late first/early second round but is an efficient offensive player shooting or cutting to the rim who can also defend. Watson, a former top 10 HS recruit, had limited playing time at UCLA but is the kind of prospect Denver like to pick. Kamagate could en up a draft-and-stash but is a great pick at #46 and a potential good rim protector.
Pick : #22 Walker Kessler #26 Wendell Moore #45 Josh Minott #50 Matteo Spagnolo
Kessler is a good pick at #22. Yet, as a pure traditional center, he’s far from being the best fit next to KAT and could turn into a simple back up. Maybe a pick like Lidell would have been a better fit because of his versatility, albeit not necessarily a better rim protector than Kessler. Moore is a bit undersized as a SF but his IQ, shooting and passing make him a great glue guy. Minott is one of the best athletes in this draft while Spagnolo, albeit limited athletically, has already grabbed a lot of minutes in Italian Lega A at age 19.
Dallas Mavericks :
Picks : #37 Jaden Hardy
Hardy had a so-so season for Team Ignite but at #37, the gamble is worth the risk above all if ever lives up to the hype he’s generated since HS.
Picks : #43 Moussa Diabate
The Frenchman is a raw prospect who has displayed toughness and the versatility to defend multiple positIons, good for a #43 pick. Will he have the opportunity to see the floor for the Clippers ?
New York Knicks
Picks : #11 traded for future protected picks #42 Trevor Keels
Have the Knicks found the good deal by trading the 11th pick for three future and protected) picks, only God knows. Same for the trade that sent Duren and Walker to Detroit against intangible assets (cap space) for the moment ? Keels at #42 is a nice grab as the freshman contributed for one of the best program in the country. The Knicks still lack a real PG and have not helped their case for next year through this draft.
Picks : #19 Jake Laravia #23 David Roddy #38 Kennedy Chandler #47 Vince Williams
At #19 and #23, the Grizzlies drafted similar profiles but with different strengths. The only common point is that both Laravia and Roddy, who are nice versatile player who bring toughness and versatility, may have been drafted later and could turn into reaches. Chandler is a very good pick, apart from being a local kid, and should find his way to a successfull career starting behind Ja Morant. Williams is an interesting wing but it will be difficult to find a spot behind the first round forwards.