2022 NBA Draft Made Magic, Thunder and Rockets Winners – Orange County Register
The top three players of the 2022 NBA Draft have found their new homes.
The Orlando Magic picked versatile Duke forward Paolo Banchero with the No. 1, the Oklahoma City Thunder picked Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren second, and the Houston Rockets rounded out their young Big 3 with the third pick, drafting Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr.
All three players were in the game to finish No. 1 overall, a testament to the talent at the top of the draft class. There were no losers in the top 3 picks. Here’s why ping-pong balls were the perfect choice for three Rebuild franchises.
ORLANDO CHOOSES BANCHERO
The Magic has been hoarding young players for nearly a decade, and Banchero’s drafting signals a change in direction for a long-struggling franchise.
Banchero, an ESPN forward who has been compared to both Ben Simmons and Michael Beasley, joins Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr., with Jonathan Isaac expected to return from a knee injury. The Duke forward averaged 17 points, 8 rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a block per game under Mike Krzyzewski last season and plans to start immediately on a Magic team that hasn’t been in the league in a decade made the playoffs.
THUNDER CLOSED HOLMGREN
Holmgren, the 7-foot perimeter scorer who has drawn comparisons to fellow NBA superstars Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, is joining another young team in Oklahoma City in hopes of building a core that will grow into one playoff contenders can develop.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the cornerstone of the franchise, and Josh Giddey brought a breath of fresh air in his breakout rookie season, but Holmgren gives the Thunder a player who has legitimate star potential. He can score on all three levels, is a capable rim guard, averaging nearly four blocks at Gonzaga, and is a lot tougher than his lean physique would suggest.
MISSILES ROUND OUT BIG 3
The Rockets didn’t have a successful season in the win-loss column, but head coach Stephen Silas developed both rookie Jalen Green and the competitive but talented Kevin Porter Jr.
Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. is a versatile winger who rounds out Houston’s Big 3 as the player considered by many to be the most talented in the draft. While he averaged a steal and block per game as a more than capable defender, Smith averaged 17 points per game and shot 42% from three-point range.
The Rockets now have a legitimate young core to build on in the post-James Harden era, not to mention they have six first-round picks in the next five draft classes.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/06/23/the-2022-nba-draft-made-the-magic-thunder-and-rockets-all-winners/ 2022 NBA Draft Made Magic, Thunder and Rockets Winners – Orange County Register