The Orlando Magic securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery wasn’t quite as stunning as the 1993 NBA Draft Lottery, when the franchise had the lowest odds to get the No. 1 pick and somehow came away as the lottery winner.
Orlando entered the lottery tied with the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets at +550 for the best odds to receive the No. 1 pick.
There is no sure-fire No. 1 overall pick unlike in 1992, when the Magic drafted Shaquille O’Neal first overall, or in 1993 when Orlando selected Chris Webber before trading him for Anfernee Hardaway and three other first-round selections, including one used to take Vince Carter.
There will be plenty of NBA betting lines on how the Orlando Magic will proceed with the top selection.
Magic to Lead Off Again
Orlando has made over its roster with the selection of Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner in the top 10 of the 2021 NBA Draft. Now the Magic get to pick the top prospect in next month’s draft.
shout to Coach Mose fr pic.twitter.com/5cErlXhNoE
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) May 18, 2022
While Orlando has seven players 6-foot-10 or taller on its current roster, the NBA free picks project the Magic choosing from 7-footer Chet Holmgren or 6-10 prospects Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero. Finishing in the top three was probably more important to Orlando than some other teams since the Magic already have Suggs, Cole Anthony and former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz on its roster. Now they can add another frontcourt piece to continue the rebuilding process.
The last time Orlando had the top pick, the Magic selected Dwight Howard when players could be taken right out of high school.
According to the sportsbook, Oklahoma City (+650) had the fourth-best odds and Sacramento (+1200) the seventh-best odds. They moved up to the No. 2 and 4 spots in the draft order, respectively.
The Thunder will gladly take one of the remaining top frontcourt players as Banchero, Holmgren and Smith would all fit nicely with last year’s lottery pick, Josh Giddey, as well as emerging star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Sacramento’s draft history has been sketchy at best. The decision to take Marvin Bagley ahead of Luka Doncic in 2018 will be discussed for years to come. The Kings traded away not only Bagley but also former first-round selection Tyrese Haliburton in separate deals during the season.
Sacramento will have to wait for what happens with the top three picks. If things go as expected, perhaps the Kings take Purdue guard Jaden Ivey and let him team up with De’Aaron Fox in the backcourt.
Pistons Take Tumble
After winning the draft lottery in 2021, the Detroit Pistons weren’t as fortunate this year.
Having one of the top three frontcourt players to team up with last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham, would have been something special.
Instead, Detroit dropped to the fifth pick despite entering the draft as one of the three teams with the best chance to secure the top selection. Perhaps the Pistons go after 6-foot-6 guard Shaedon Sharpe, who is a top-level athlete but a bit of an unknown commodity since he didn’t play a game for Kentucky during the 2021-22 college basketball season.
Former Iowa star Keegan Murray, a 6-foot-8 forward, might be another way to go.
This is one of the draft selections that will be the hardest to project for those who bet online.
Rockets Figure to Go Big
Houston is the only team to have a top-three pick in both the 2021 and 2022 drafts.
The Rockets passed up on selecting frontcourt players Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley, who finished first and second in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting.
Houston selected guard Jalen Green second overall. It took Green some time to adapt to the NBA, but he was the top rookie scorer after the NBA All-Star Game, averaging 22.1 points on 48 percent shooting over his last 24 games. Now the Rockets get a big man to go with Green.
The Lakers would have picked eighth and the Clippers 12th in next month’s draft. However, the Lakers packaged that selection with many others in the deal that brought Anthony Davis to Los Angeles.
The Clippers’ pick is on its way to Oklahoma City thanks to the Paul George trade.
The winners of those two blockbuster trades will be decided down the road but, at the current time, New Orleans and Oklahoma City seem better off with the draft capital coming their way than by holding onto those star players.
Last year, the Orlando Magic that had two picks in the top half of the draft. That role will be filled by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Hornets in this year’s draft.
The Thunder’s own selection will be No. 2 and then they added the 12th pick from the Clippers. Charlotte’s selection is 13th, but the Hornets will be on the clock two picks later. The Hornets sent Devonte’ Graham to New Orleans in a deal that brought back the 15th overall selection. Oklahoma City also has the 30th overall pick.
About the NBA Draft
The NBA Draft will be held on June 23 and the complete draft order will be determined once the NBA champion is crowned.
Players who have declared for the draft have until June 1 to announce their decision to return to college.
There have been changes to the rules so if a player with remaining college eligibility goes undrafted, they can return to college as long as they terminate their agreement with any agents.