The day has finally arrived.
It’s the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Dreams will come true. Mistakes will be made. There will be unexpected selections, players falling too far, outrageous outfits and heartwarming moments.
After weeks of intrigue, rumors, and smokescreens, it’s time to choose. Before that, though, The Post’s Zach Brezler took one last look at how it all looked on Thursday night:
1. Orlando Magic
Jabari Smith, Auburn (forward)
It’s been a pick for weeks, basically the Magic won the draft lottery. Smith is the big man of the new-age NBA, a sharpshooting forward who can defend in perimeter and paint, and adds to the center of Orlando’s impressive young talent that includes Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga (forward)
The most debated player in this draft, Holmgren brings up a fair amount of questions about his rail-thin frame, but he also brings tantalizing two-way talent. It is easy to see it going in any direction. The Minnesotan can be a rim-protecting, 3-point shooting force, but he can also struggle against the strength and physical nature of the league if he is unable to lift the required weight. An absolutely fascinating prospect that will be under the league’s microscope from day one.
3. Houston Rockets
Paolo Banchero, Duke (forward)
The Rockets were sold almost immediately after Banchero moved to Houston, with early power forward Christian Wood traded for a late first-round pick. While there are questions about his motor and defensive chops, Banchero will be an offensive weapon from the get-go, making a powerful 1-2 punch with last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Jalen Green.
4. Sacramento Kings
Keegan Murray, Iowa (guard/forward)
After weeks of business negotiations, the Kings put Purdue’s Jaden Ivey on a pick and pass with a talent he needed. Murray fits his roster far better – Sacramento already has Ivy-like players on its roster in D’Aaron Fox and Davian Mitchell – as a big shot-making wing that can play multiple forward spots. able to.
5. Detroit Pistons
Jaden Ivey, Purdue (guard)
Some have compared Ivey to Russell Westbrook. Others see similarities between Jaa Morant and Donovan Mitchell. The Pistons scored big here, landing a brilliant complement to Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 pick the year before, that will accelerate his rebuilding and give him an elite backcourt for years to come.
6. Indiana Pacers
Dyson Daniels, G-League Ignite (guard)
Defensively needing pacers, one of the worst teams on that end of the floor a year ago, one of the best defensive players in this draft, Australia has a tall guard who complements Tyrese Halliburton well. Daniel is an activist. A G-League Ignite source spoke about his coachability and determination to improve as a shooter and ball-handler. “You never had to beg him to come to the gym,” the source said.
7. Portland Trail Blazers
Benedict Mathurin, Arizona (Guard)
Helps out Pac-12 Player of the Year Damien Lillard and the Trail Blazers now and down the road. Initially, he contributes defensively and as an explosive finisher in the transition. But the Canadian has all-star potential.
8. New Orleans Pelicans
Shadon Sharp, Kentucky (guard)
The mystery man of the draft, Sharp is making the leap from high school to the NBA after originally enrolling in Kentucky in January, but not playing any games. He is exceptionally talented, a talented shooting guard who has participated in agent-run workouts, but hasn’t played competitive basketball in a full year. Pelicans are rolling the dice. There’s no way to know what you’re getting with a Sharp.
9. San Antonio Spurs
Jalen Duren, Memphis (center)
Experts see some bum Adebayo in a one-and-a-half-man, an 18-year-old rim guard capable of much more than he showed up in Memphis. The Spurs, who need frontcourt help, go for the uber-athletic Duren, seeing him as a replacement for Jacob Poelt.
10. Washington Wizards
Johnny Davis, Wisconsin (Guard)
The Wizards feel that they are close to taking part in the competition as long as they have All-Star Bradley Beal, and so they make an immediate contribution to the Big Ten Player of the Year. Forget Davis’ low 3-point percentage as a sophomore—the result of his high utilization rate—he’s a low defender and skilled shotmaker who can contribute immediately off the bench.
11. New York Knicks
AJ Griffin, Duke (Guard)
Sharpshooting Griffin has similarities to Cole Anthony. He comes from an NBA bloodline, was a huge recruit and is now skeptical after a heavy year in college. But he’s a great defender who can spread the floor and, while there are injury concerns, Griffin is one of the youngest players in the draft – he doesn’t turn 19 until the end of August – and his range is pretty high. Is.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder
Jeremy Sochan, Boiler (forward)
Thunder tries to trade a few spots, but as the board falls for them, they wind up with the player they wanted in the first place. The Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year fits well into the youth roster, adding another quality and versatile defender to Oklahoma City’s defensively-minded core.
13. Charlotte Hornets
Mark Williams, Duke (centre)
The perfect fit for on-the-rise Hornets, who fill a major void thanks to the rim-protecting, lobe-catching finisher to go with the LaMelo ball. The Hornets are all too familiar with the 20-year-old Williams and his 7-foot-8 wingspan from his time at Duke, where he grew into one of the best big guys in the country.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jalen Williams, Santa Clara (guard)
Williams ended her rags-to-riches story by playing her way to the end of the lottery. This rangy winger with 7-2 wings became Santa Clara’s first draft pick since Steve Nash in 1996, marking a breakout performance in the draft in this unexpected rise. He’ll be worth it for the Cavaliers, who find themselves able to develop even more 3-and-D chances.
15. Charlotte Hornets
Malachi Branham, Ohio State (Guard)
After Ball finds his new lob partner, the Hornets find him a court-spacer at Branham. Offensively skilled, the former Ohio State star is a knockdown shooter who has the tools to be a strong defender and creatively gives the ball even more room to operate.
16. Atlanta Hawks
Ochai Agbaji, Kansas (Guard)
Experience and maturity are underrepresented in the NBA these days, viewed as upside and less than ability. That’s why Aghazy gets out of the lottery – he is already 22 years old. But he can quickly move for the Hawks and produce on both ends of the floor as a shotmaking wing and representative defender. He improves on the Atlanta bench, while other teams have to wait years for a return on their first-round investment.
17. Houston Rockets
Tari Eason, LSU (Forward)
Neither Banchero or Greene are known for their defense, and so the Rockets find grinders in the Defense-First Wing to complement their offensive gifts. He would bring the lunch pail and defend many of the league’s most talented perimeter scorers.
18. Chicago Bulls
EJ Liddell, Ohio State (forward)
It might be described as out of reach for some, but that’s what smart organizations do – find winners who produce on both ends of the floor and improve the entire college as Liddell did at Ohio State. . Age can be overrated. As one scout put it, “Get me a man who will impress victory.” Liddell does this.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves
Walker Kessler, Auburn (centre)
His defense alone makes sense for the Timberwolves, who get elite rim protection with Kessler. Last year at Auburn, he blocked an astonishing 4.6 shots per game in 25.6 minutes, and could help rectify a major Minnesota weakness in the paint.
20.San Antonio Spurs
Ousmane Dieng, New Zealand Breakers (forward)
With three first-round picks, Spurs can afford to take a big swing on a project like Dieng. The lanky forward is a big turnaround in chances that got better as his season in the Australian NBL progressed. But patience – and extended time in the load room – is needed.
21. Denver Nuggets
Marjon Beauchamp, G-League Ignite (guard/forward)
Teams with picks from the back end of the lottery in the early part of the second round brought Beauchamp to the workout, giving the athletic freak of a wing wide possibilities. He’s not a 3-and-D prospect at the moment—his shot needs work—but his energy, defensive versatility and explosiveness on the rim are qualities that teams love.
22. Memphis Grizzlies
Tyty Washington Jr., Kentucky (guard)
Tyes Jones’ possible departure via free agency creates a hole in the point guard, which Washington is able to fill. The Kentucky point guard likely would have been more likely if he hadn’t played ball all year in Lexington and suffered a left ankle injury late in the season. Still, he shot 35 percent from the 3-point range and produced a better than two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio, proving his ability in a small sample size.
23. Philadelphia 76ers
Kennedy Chandler, Tennessee (guard)
The SEC leader in stealth has the quick pace and an elite handle to go along with an impressive midrange game. His size (6-foot) is a disadvantage, but his bursts can make up for that, and the 76ers need a playmaking guard behind Tyrese Maxi and James Harden.
24. Milwaukee Bucks
Dalan Terry, Arizona (Guard)
Contenders like the Bucks can always use athletic wing defenders with aggressive upsides like Terry. In Arizona, he was a glue man, a strong playwright considering he played the ball, a skilled scorer who did a lot of dirty work and a strong defender. In the beginning, he is an energy man, but has shotmaking abilities that can be developed.
25.San Antonio Spurs
Wendell Moore Jr., Duke (Guard)
In his three seasons at Duke, Moore improvised, his numbers growing across the board. Most importantly, his 3 point percentage jumped to 40.1 last season as he developed into a complete player who was not only able to score at a high level, but was also capable of delivering and defending . Spurs are written above the high-IQ prospect.
26. Dallas Mavericks
Jake Laravia, Wake Forest (forward)
The shaped shotmaker will always have a home in the modern NBA, and 6-9 Laravia has both. He earned 38.9 percent off the arc last year in the ACC, and his 3.7 assists show a ball-motivator capable of making up for teammates.
27. Miami Heat
Blake Wesley, Notre Dame (Guard)
The jump shot put the former Notre Dame star out of the top 20. But there is more to like about him, from his speed with the ball in his hands to his defensive ability and frequency of penetrating the paint.
28. Golden State Warrior
Jaden Hardy, G-League Ignite (guard)
The defending champions can bet on Hardy’s talent given the strong nature of their roster, bet they can make the most of the skilled guard who was picked in the top five ahead of his down year with G League Ignite was.
29. Memphis Grizzlies
Nikola Jovic, Mega Mozart (forward)
Without a clear need, the Grizzlies opt for potential with the high-upside down 19-year-old England forward, who has strong perimeter skills for his size (6-11).
30. Denver Nuggets
Christian Coloco, Arizona (center)
The rim-running, shot-blocker checks a lot of boxes for the Nuggets, who have been looking for Nikola Jokic’s backup for quite some time. His elite leaping ability and defensive prowess – 2.8 blocks per game last year – should enable Coloco at least to impress the game on the rim.