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NBA Draft Winners & Losers (2022 Fantasy Basketball)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Jun 25, 2022

The NBA is just the best. Truly, it is. I’m a diehard baseball fan first and foremost, of course, but the NBA just gets it.

They go from having the NBA Finals, to two teams smack-talking each other (Let’s go Grizz), straight to the NBA Draft, and then free agency.

But before the free agency period starts, we need to look at what happened at the draft on Thursday night. There are always rumors and thoughts about big trades that will happen, and we had a few of those – nothing huge – Thursday night.

I put together mock drafts leading up to the event, predicting what each team would do. In some instances, it was looking at the best fit. It was more of a feeling of what they’d do for others.

Some teams executed their plan to perfection, and others left us scratching our heads, chuckling collectively.

Without further adieu, let’s look at the four biggest winners and four biggest losers from Thursday’s NBA Draft.

NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer

Winner

Charlotte Hornets

Am I on an island here? If so, that’s fine. See, I get the argument against the Hornets and their plan Thursday night. But for me, they executed it perfectly.

The need for them heading into the draft was a lob-threat and rim-protector, and many mocks – mine included – had Mark Williams and Jalen Duran off the board before the Hornets picked at 13.

But with pick 13 and 15 queued up, the Hornets had both top big men to choose from. Knowing that the Cavaliers – who picked 14th – weren’t taking one of them, they dealt Duran – the 13th pick – to the Knicks, who flipped him to Detroit (more on that later), and they were able to get back a first-rounder for Duran and take Williams two picks later.

You can prefer Duran to Williams – I do, too – but this was a perfect use of maximizing the value of their picks.

Loser

Sacramento Kings

In every mock, I didn’t waiver. I had them taking Keegan Murray from Iowa, which is who they ended up taking. The thing is, he wasn’t the right pick. It was Jaden Ivey, but the Kings have a long track record of not making the right pick.

Is it low-hanging fruit to make fun of the Kings? Maybe. Is it deserving? Yes, it is. I like Murray and think he will be a good player, but at No. 4 overall, you take best player available. There were four or five players better than Murray there.

Winner

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons are going to be fun for the years to come. Not only did they have Ivey fall in their lap thanks to the Kings being the Kings, but they also got Duran, who they could have taken No. 5 overall if Ivey wasn’t there.

Putting Ivey and Duran with Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey gives the Pistons a fun, young core that can bring successful basketball back to the Motor City.

Loser

New York Knicks

First, the Knicks traded away their pick to Oklahoma City, and then they flipped Duran and Kemba Walker to the Pistons.

Huge return, right?

Wrong.

The Knicks got three first-round picks, but they are all heavily protected.

The thinking for the Knicks was they wanted to clear cap room – in true Knicks fashion – for Jalen Brunson.

I like Brunson and all, but the Knicks deserve every bit of criticism they are receiving.

Winner

Houston Rockets

Paolo Banchero seemed to be the best-case scenario for the Rockets, but Jabari Smith Jr. – the former consensus No. 1 pick – landing in their lap at No. 3 is a hell of a consolation prize. He brings fantastic shooting and spacing for a 6’10 big man.

What’s more, they landed Tari Eason and TyTy Washington later in the first round, and even though I’m down on Washington – I had him at No. 30 overall in my first mock – getting him at No. 29 overall was a huge W for the Rockets. It’s going to be a very young, very fun team.

Loser

Oklahoma City Thunder

I’ve seen the “new big three” graphics after OKC took Chet Holmgren No. 2 overall. I get it, and if you like Holmgren, then great!

I question how he’ll transition to the NBA and worry about his body. What’s more, the Thunder – who have ample first-round picks to move – dealt three heavily-protected picks to the Knicks for Ousmane Dieng and then drafted Jalen Williams with back-to-back picks. Both players are fine prospects, but it seems like they have a lot of the same players and left better players on the board.

Winner

Memphis Grizzlies

I said put money on the Grizzlies landing Kennedy Chandler, and they did just that. What’s more, they got him in the second round, which is a huge steal. The Grizzlies also traded up for Jake LaRavia, David Roddy, and Vince Williams to continue stockpiling depth.

Loser

Washington Wizards

I don’t hate what the Wizards did overall, but I just don’t care for the pick of Johnny Davis at No. 10 overall when there were better options – and team fits – on the board still.


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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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