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2022 NBA Draft: Most Intriguing Teams Ranked, From Knicks Rise to Blazers Decline

The NBA Draft is not only about the choice of players. Of course, we’re all excited to see which franchises top three prospects Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero make home, but there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes before and during Thursday’s draft. .

There is no shortage of potential deals this year as there are several teams looking to buy their selection at the right price. We’ve seen in the past how draft day deals can change the landscape of the NBA, and with an all-time high parity, there are plenty of opportunities to make a big move and shake things up.

However, some franchises have more pressing needs than others, so we decided to rank the most intriguing teams heading into the 2022 NBA draft.

The Blazers need to quickly rebuild a competitive roster around Damian Lillard if they want him to stick around long enough to have Thanksgiving dinner in Portland, and the No. 7 pick in this draft probably won’t add immediate help. Players in this range can certainly make good starters or even better, but Lillard said he wants to win now, knowing that the end of his heyday is fast approaching.

This leaves Portland as a top trade candidate as he hopes to get help in the form of a win now. according to NBA insider Mark Stein. Expect the conversation around the Blazers to reach frenzied levels as the draft approaches, and if they can’t change their pick by Thursday, that could affect who they pick. While a prospect like Keegan Murray, if available, is arguably more NBA-ready, Portland might consider hiring someone like Shaydon Sharp simply because he might be more intriguing as a trading chip in the future. The Blazers have a lot of work to do to build a pre-season contender, and it all starts with how they handle the No. 7 pick.

Barring a shocking surprise, the top three picks in the draft will be Smith, Holmgren and Bunchero, in no particular order. Most analysts think that Purdue’s Jaden Ivey is just a notch below that first level, if not on par with the big people at the top. This creates an interesting puzzle for the No. 4 Kings, who went all-in on De’Aaron Fox-Domantas Sabonis. Do they really want to take on Ivey, another defender who needs the ball in his hands to use his potential, or will they consider filling their gaping holes on the wing with a player like Keegan Murray or Ben Maturin?

It doesn’t take much creativity to identify the obvious alternative: Sacramento could trade a team that craves Ivey (perhaps the #6 Indiana Pacers) for a second asset along with whatever player they landed. . The danger, of course, is that Ivey is turning into a superstar of the generation – and some raters believe that this is the case. Can you imagine a franchise where potentially one of the greatest players of all time was given up by a prospect they thought was more suitable, and then had to watch that player single-handedly lead his team to the Western Conference Finals in a 23-year-old age while missing the playoffs for the 16th season in a row? No chance of that happening, right?

The Dallas Mavericks superstar, who has not been named, could be the exact reason the Kings took Ivey in 4th place. one of the most intriguing teams in the draft.

Most reports indicate that the Magic are leaning towards taking Smith with the top pick in Thursday’s draft, but that’s no guarantee, of course. When the prospects at the top are so close in terms of talent and growth potential, you never know what will happen once the team is up and running. Even if Magic wants Smith, they should at least pretend to be interested in Holmgren and/or Bunchero. Let’s say the Thunder are carried away by number 2 Holmgren and get an indication that the Magic might catch him with the first pick, OKC might want to give up the asset to move up a position and ensure they get their man, leaving Orlando to withdraw Smith in second place.

There are a lot of smoke screens ahead of the draft, so we’ll probably hear that Orlando is interested in all three of the top guys before Thursday, maybe even Ivey. However, we won’t know for sure who they’re taking until they make their choice (or one of the news outlets tweets it).

One such team looking to trade Ivey is the New York Knicks, which ESPN columnist Adrian Wojnarowski described as a team showing interest in making a fourth-pick deal with the Kings. The Knicks have been lusting for a point guard for a long time, especially after the purchase of Kemba Walker fell through and Ivey is seen as a potential franchise-changing player with his skill and athleticism.

Obviously, the Knicks will have to include their 11th pick in the deal, but they will also likely have to forgo some of their young talents like Immanuel Quickly, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes or Cam Reddish. The Kings may also be interested in help as they are desperate to make the playoffs. Julius Randle doesn’t seem to make sense financially or positionally given the presence of Sabonis, but Alec Burks or Evan Fournier could be of interest to a team lacking wing depth.

The Knicks realized last season that their current roster was probably not enough to compete in the East, and trading for a player like Ivey would allow them to potentially improve now while continuing to plan for the future. However, due to a lot of competition from teams looking to move up, the price will be high.

As for potential NBA-ready superstars, it’s expected to be a four-player draft. The prospects below them are more considered future role players or projects that need a ton of development. So the real intrigue in the draft starts with the No. 5 pick for the Pistons, who already have the franchise’s cornerstone in last year’s No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham. They can really go either way – I suggest they take Maturin in my project layout, and our project experts Gary Parrish and Kyle Boone suggest they pick Murray and Dyson Daniels respectively. Detroit is in the process of rebuilding, so it will almost certainly not see fit, instead taking the best available player to its board.

Since No. 5 has no consensus, this is another team that might consider lowering the price. Let’s say the Pistons love AJ Griffin but know they can take him further in the draft. They could potentially find a team that is crazy about a prospect like Shedon Sharp, one of the hottest players in the draft, and fears they won’t be able to find them in their position. This would be the right time for GM Troy Weaver to attack, build an asset to go down and still get the guy they want. Magic draft 101.

Stein reports that the Grizzlies are “trying to move up in the draft,” which is an intriguing development for a team that finished with the second-best pick in the NBA last season. They have their own pick at number 29, as well as a number 22 pick from Utah, which could be a good combination for a low lottery team or teenagers who just aren’t thrilled about any prospect in that range. .

Last year, the Grizzlies moved from 17th to 10th and made a relatively surprise pick, Zeer Williams, who started 31 games as a rookie and played crucial minutes in the playoffs. With the young core they already have, adding another lottery-level talent will make the Grizzlies even scarier – not just next season, but well into the future.

Charlotte has the 13th and 15th spades, but they are unlikely to retain both. This team wants to fight now, as evidenced by the upcoming coaching change, and this summer they are facing huge financial obligations to Miles Bridges and eventually LaMelo Ball. This means that they will most likely not want to pay two first round picks that might not help right away, so one of them will probably be sold to the highest bidder. Pacers center Miles Turner could be the No. 15 target. according to Jake Fisher of Bleacher Reportbut whether it’s Indiana or another team that gets involved, the Hornets will be a team to keep an eye on as the draft gets closer.

If the Wizards keep their pick, it will be interesting to see who they pick. If they pick a more NBA-ready player like Ochai Agbaji or Mark Williams, it could be a hint that they are committed to the Bradley Beal-Kristaps Porzingis foundation. If they choose a younger player or a project like Usman Dieng, it could be a sign that they are looking to the future with one eye.

The Wizards are also intriguing because, like many other teams, they reportedly picked their pick. They’re looking for a point guard to put next to Beal and Porzingis according to Steinand they’re not afraid to part ways with No. 10 to do so. Any team that has a backup point guard and is interested in a promotion would be wise to contact the Washington front office.

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