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2022 NBA Draft: Top 5 Picks

We look at these first five players drafted in 2022 and how they will impact online betting odds.

Nigel ClaytonNigel Clayton
June 28th, 2022
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The 2022 NBA Draft had some excitement within the first five picks. Almost no one predicted what actually happened early in the draft, especially the bookmakers! As always, the top picks belong to some of the worst teams record-wise from the previous season, unless they traded the pick to another franchise. All of the teams picking in the top five were below .500 and missed the play-in games last season. Still, one player can completely change a franchise. Let's look at these first five players drafted in 2022 and how they can impact their respective new teams.

1. Orlando Magic - Paolo Banchero

The No. 1 pick was up in the air until it was officially announced on draft night. There were three potential options that the Magic could have gone with for this pick. Most people thought that the first pick would be Jabari Smith Jr. and even some people had Chet Holmgren going first. The Magic ultimately went with Paolo Banchero with the pick.

Banchero was dominant in his one season at Duke. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and shot 33.8% from three. Banchero should instantly be a big-time scorer for the Magic and take an immediate role as the team's go-to player. At Duke he looked like a man among boys. He will have to face up against players more his size in the NBA but his skill and abilities should translate nicely.

The Orlando Magic instantly went from one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference to a potential playoff team. It is not just from adding Banchero, but they also will be getting Johnathan Isaac back who missed the entire last season, and they have had another year to develop players such as Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony. This team likely won't win the championship, but a play-in tournament and playoff appearance is very achievable.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder - Chet Holmgren

After Jabari Smith Jr. was passed up by the Orlando Magic, many people thought that the Thunder could take him here. They ultimately went with Chet Holmgren, the seven-foot skilled big man from Gonzaga. Holmgren is like a young Kristaps Porzingis or even Kevin Durant the way he plays the game. It is a risky pick, but Holmgren could develop into an all-time great given his potential.

At Gonzaga, Holmgren instantly came into a great team. He wasn't asked to score a ton, as his role was more of a shot blocker and three-point shooter in his one season there. While he averaged just 14.1 points, he also averaged 3.7 blocks, 9.9 rebounds, and shot 73.7% from the field and 39% from three.

The Thunder may have gotten a truly generational player. For this upcoming season, the Thunder will have a nice core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and Holmgren. The Thunder may have a hard time to even make the play-in game still with Holmgren added to this team, let alone win the NBA Finals. Even Kevin Durant in his first season couldn't get his team to the playoffs in his first two years.

3. Houston Rockets - Jabari Smith Jr.

Jabari Smith Jr. fell to the Houston Rockets at pick No. 3. He was reportedly supposed to go to the Magic with the first pick before he slid down two spots to them here. Houston should be ecstatic to get Smith Jr. at this spot, and he could be a perfect fit with the team.

While he wasn't as big of a name as Banchero and Holmgren in college, he could be even better than both of them. In his one season at Auburn, Smith Jr. averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and shot an impressive 42% from three. His three-point shooting is what made him standout to be a top-three pick in this draft.

His fit with the Houston Rockets is perfect. However, for the immediate success of the team, it could be an unimpactful move for next season. The Rockets were one of the worst teams in the league last year, and they traded arguably their best player who played the same position as Smith Jr. in Christian Wood. Wood averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, and shot 39% from three last year. The Rockets would be thrilled if Smith Jr. could do that next season, but replacing Wood's production likely won't be enough to get Houston back to the playoffs.

4. Sacramento Kings - Keegan Murray

Sacramento reportedly had more than 10 trade offers for their fourth overall pick. They ended up keeping it and selecting Keegan Murray. It is reported that teams wanted to trade up to draft Jaden Ivey, who the Kings obviously passed on.

Murray had a breakout sophomore season at Iowa to become a top-four pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. In his freshman season he averaged just 7.2 points per game but increased that average to 23.5 points, while also adding 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.3 steals, and shooting 40% from three. He was one of the best scorers, shooters, and defenders in college basketball.

The Kings likely drafted this pick to fill an immediate need. This team wants to make the playoffs now, and the move for Murray is to do just that. He is an NBA ready player who can be a good player on a good team now. Murray fills a hole as a defensive small or power forward who can shoot from three. That is a piece that the Kings needed, and all of a sudden this team could be defensive-minded with Murray, Davion Mitchell, and Donte DiVincenzo leading the defense along with their two stars, De'aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. This team could make a push for the playoffs this year.

5. Detroit Pistons - Jaden Ivey

The Pistons were probably extremely happy to have Jaden Ivey fall to them. Many people thought that Ivey would have been taken with the fourth pick before he was passed up by Sacramento.

After averaging 11.1 points while shooting 25.8% from three as a freshman at Purdue, Ivey upped those numbers to 17.3 points and 35.8% from three in his sophomore season. These stats and his ridiculous athletic ability were enough for him to be taken top five in this draft. Many people have him pegged as a boom or bust type player that could turn into an athletic player who never figures out how to shoot and score in the NBA or a perennial All Star Ja Morant or Dwyane Wade type of player.

The Detroit Pistons have not been a competitive team for quite a while. They now have some good pieces to build off of with last year's No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, and now Ivey. The Pistons went with the best player available and will figure out how this team dynamic works later. Don't expect them to be championship contenders next year, but if the Pistons' young core develops faster than expected next season, they could be a contender to make the play-in tournament in the East.

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