Once a year, the United States four major sports leagues host their annual drafts and induct a fresh crop of budding, young talent to invigorate their already stacked rosters. The format of said drafts vary by league and each operate under their own unique parameters, but, for the young men at the event’s core, the sentiment remains the same: this is the beginning of the rest of their lives. No matter the sport, all of these young men are united by one goal and that goal is to take their athletic career to the next plateau. This week we were introduced to the incoming class of NBA freshmen when the 2022 NBA Draft kicked off this past Thursday in Brooklyn, and now it's time to take a look at who were the biggest winners and losers of this year’s NBA Draft.
In surprising fashion, the Orlando Magic elected to use the first overall pick to draft Duke’s Paolo Banchero. While most analysts had Banchero pegged as a top three pick, the Duke forward hadn’t met with the Magic and it had been all but assumed that Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. would be heading to Orlando. But the choice was theirs to make, and just highlights the insanity that is encompassed in the NBA Draft every single year. The Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons were incredibly active on Thursday, drafting Smith and Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, respectively, in the top five picks before going on to make a myriad of moves. Houston sent out Christian Wood in exchange for another first round pick, selecting LSU’s Tari Eason on Thursday as a result, and Detroit pulled off a three-way trade that saw them receive the draft rights to Memphis highly coveted center’ Jalen Duran. While Houston and Detroit each made three valuable selections in this year’s draft, not every team was as fortunate on draft night with the Philadelphia 76ers forgoing their only chance to select an incoming rookie when they shipped Danny Green and the 23rd pick to Memphis in exchange for De’Anthony Melton. Now fans can patiently anticipate the arrival of a slew of new names once the next NBA season kicks off this fall.
Whether you’re a fan of the NBA or not, it's virtually impossible to deny the beauty of seeing these young men achieve their goals. If you are a fan of the NBA then it just adds another layer of excitement, and this year’s draft left fans with plenty to be excited about. How this year’s draft will impact the future of the league remains unknown, but eager fans certainly have plenty to look forward to once next season rolls around.