As the NBA Draft Lottery concluded, a series of mixed responses could be observed among the cellar dwelling franchises involved.
In a massive boost for two franchises, Orlando and Oklahoma City rejoiced after receiving picks 1 and 2 respectively – giving them first dibs over the in-demand trio of Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren.
The Sacramento Kings were also the beneficiary of some good fortune, licking their lips as they moved up into the top four of the draft lottery.
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However, after a season of tanking that many are now describing as “wasted,” the Detroit Pistons were left devastated after falling into the fifth spot.
Here are the winners, losers and all the reaction from the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery.
Orlando Magic (earned Pick 1)
A franchise with a great track record as overall number one pick winners, Orlando rejoiced at their lottery jackpot – as fans reminisced about the glory days of selecting NBA legends Shaquille O’Neale (1992) and Dwight Howard (2004) in the number one slot .
It is expected the Magic will again make a selection with size in mind, as they already boast a plethora of young guards in Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz and RJ Hampton.
Finishing last in the Eastern Conference last season with a bleak 22-60 overall record, the Magic will benefit from the addition of a talented reinforcement to back up the two-way scoring center Wendell Carter Jr.
But while many Magic fans rejoiced at their top spot finish in the lottery, Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman remained coy.
“Our goals remain the same, which are to develop these young guys,” Weltman said during an interview on FM 96.9 The Game’s Open Mike with the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi.
“Everybody says you need stars in this league. Sometimes stars don’t always reveal themselves instantly.
Orlando’s official Twitter page seemed a little more enthusiastic…
Oklahoma City Thunder (earned Pick 2)
In what could be a significant turning point in Josh Giddey’s career trajectory, the Thunder also won out in the lottery, receiving the 2nd and 12th overall picks in the upcoming NBA draft.
Oklahoma City were touted to receive the 4th and 12th as their major pick slots entering the lottery, but will now benefit from a piece of the big three with the 2nd overall pick.
Similarly to Orlando, the Thunder sport a guard-heavy roster – with talented trio Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey and Lu Dort headlining their current starting five.
For this reason, it is expected the Thunder will draft for a center or forward with size, to complement their already blossoming backcourt.
Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren could all fit into the team seamlessly, but the majority of Thunder fans already seemingly have their heart set on one of these candidates.
Sacramento Kings (earned Pick 4)
The Sacramento Kings received a monumental lift in this year’s draft lottery, after being elevated three spots to steal the No. 4 pick.
Originally, the Kings were projected to land at number 7 in the draft but benefited from some good fortune after it was announced Portland would instead take that spot.
As the cameras panned to Sabonis – his smile said it all. The two-time All-Star who moved to the Kings late last season will likely have the luxury of playing with a highly talented prospect next season.
Huge win for Sacramento.
Detroit Pistons (earned Pick 5)
After a season of tanking that many are now describing as “wasted,” the Detroit Pistons were left devastated after falling into the fifth spot of the NBA draft lottery.
Rainclouds were forming the Pistons passionate fanbase when NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announced the Sacramento Kings had entered the top four of the lottery.
As such, one of either the Rockets, Magic, Thunder or Pistons would be pegged back in the order.
After receiving the good fortunes of a number one pick last season, it was Detroit who would now have to suffer, falling back to fifth overall on the draft lottery shortlist.
Bad loss for the Pistons.
Predictably, Detroit fans vented their frustrations on Twitter.
Portland Trail Blazers (earned pick 7)
Yet another team who fell from their initial draft order, the Portland Trailblazers landed the 7th overall pick – hardly a positive return for their late tanking efforts this season.
The embattled Blazers front office will work to pair superstar Dame Lillard with the best prospect available – but there have been whispers that Portland may have been able to go in an entirely different direction altogether.
The franchise may use the pick as leverage to capture Zach Lavine through a sign and trade option, or even restricted free agent Miles Bridges from the Hornets.
Regardless, the Blazers can’t be satisfied with how their draft lottery played out.
LA Lakers (would’ve earned pick 8)
Despite hardly factoring into the 2022 NBA draft lottery, the Lakers are getting plenty of attention right now – for all the wrong reasons.
The Lakers would have had the number 8 pick secured in this upcoming draft, but instead traded it away to New Orleans for the now injury-plagued Anthony Davis.
With Russell Westbrook’s trade value at an all-time low, the Lakers could have significantly benefited from the acquisition of a top 8 prospect.
Instead, they’ll need to find another way to improve their roster for next season.