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With the playoffs coming to an end, it is time to prepare for the third most exciting time to be an NBA fan, with the second being the All-Star game, the 2022 NBA draft. On Thursday, June 23, 2022, all 30 teams will decide which new players will get the chance to join their team for the 2022-23 season. But this draft is special for some reason, whether it be the randomness of lottery night or the sure thing a superstar will fall into the right hands, it almost feels as if there isn’t much on the line for teams.
Players like Jabari Smith or Chet Holmgren are being debated for the first pick in this draft class. If a team gets a Top 6 pick, they’d still leave with a prize, since the class has 10 players who would be the first pick in their own right.
Thirteen of those 30 teams have a chance at the Number one pick for the draft, and each of those 13 teams should make the best of their option while looking for players. Here’s what should some of these teams be looking for if they want a chance at any type of playoff contention.
They already are working with a young core, what the Charlotte Hornets need now is anyone with experience. Fortunately for the organization, since they have the 15th pick. They could go all the way or trade the pick in the hope to get that veteran player. The best thing for the Hornets is to acknowledge their options.
Out of all the NBA teams in the race, the Cavaliers had the best chance in the playoffs, since they were the 8th seed for the Eastern Conference. However, it was cut short when they lost to both the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks in the play-in tournament.
The Cavs are still a playoff-caliber team but they should go in the same route as the Hornets. They should weigh out their options of finding a rookie wing in the draft or trading the pick for a vet.
Teams like the Knicks, Wizards, Spurs, and Pelicans don’t have a chance of getting a Top 10 pick. This still puts them in a situation to add some potential talent. They might not get a rookie superstar off the bat, but it does not mean they could still get a great player.
The Pelicans are also a special case since they not only made the play-in tournament but secured a spot in the playoffs, even if they got eliminated in the first round. Not only did they give themselves a chance to be called a playoff-caliber team, but they may also be able to deepen their roster with the picks they have. New Orleans got the Lakers unprotected first-round pick when they traded their pick for Anthony Davis. After the Lakers won the championship during the bubble season they went on a downward spiral, in which the pelicans took full advantage. They are in a good position to draft within the Top 10 picks, which is the best place to be.
Portland and Sacramento should focus on two things:
- Build their team.
- Hope to trade a pick.
The Kings already made their move by adding Damontis Sabonis to their roster. Portland could either tank and trade Damian Lillard or find someone, traded or from the draft, who would fit the second option role as C.J McCollum.
The Rockets, Thunder, Pacers, and Magic all have the best chance of getting the Top 5 since most of these teams took to tanking for better picks. Their only option is to get in the Top 5 picks and build off the youngsters they have now. Unless they have a miracle maker or a player in the draft, it’s going to be a while before they have any chance of being playoff material.
This is nothing against these teams, they are full of young talent but they either lack the NBA or playoff experience or a front office that doesn’t know how to make good decisions. Still don’t give up on these teams, anything is possible in the NBA.
Opinion by Daylontie Jasper
Edited by Sheena Robertson
2022 NBA Draft Lottery: Previewing What’s at Stake for Each Team; By Jeremy Woo
Feature and Top Image Courtesy of Cavs History’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Paul Benn’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License