NBA Draft winners and losers, analysis, Jaden Ivey, Jabari Smith

The Pistons and Rockets both had unexpected first rounds in the NBA draft, resulting in strong franchise building blocks being added.

BROOKLYN, NY — It was a wild NBA draft night from the start when the Orlando Magic ended up picking Paolo Banchero with the top pick over Jabari Smith Jr.’s preferred and expected pick.

That sent the NBA world into an uproar right at the start of the draft. As expected, The Thunder selected Chet Holmgren and the Rockets grabbed Jabari Smith Jr. in 3rd place.

Then the Sacramento Kings passed the player, who many thought was the clear fourth player or better in the draft, in Purdues Jaden Ivey to pick Keegan Murray.

That left Ivey to the Detroit Pistons, who may have just filled in their future backcourt after picking No. 1 guard Cade Cunningham in last year’s draft.

Detroit wasn’t done there, they made a deal with the Hornets and Knicks to move up in pick #13 and pick one of the top big men in the draft in Memphis’ Jalen Duren. The 6-11 Big Man was the youngest player in the draft.

Their first-round results have now led many to say Detroit won the draft, including our panel of draft experts on the Locked On NBA Big Board Podcast.

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“They got a potential pick in fifth place in Jaden Ivey,” said Leif Thulin of the NBA Big Board. “He was number three on my board and I think he has the potential to be the best player in the entire draft class with his dynamic athleticism and they have the ability for a dynamic backcourt with Ivey and Cade Cunningham.”

Thulin said the addition of Duren gives the Pistons a strong young core going forward.

“Duren has incredibly high ceiling to me because of his athletic ability, youngest player in the draft, long arms, runs the floor like a deer, catches the ball well… He’s a perfect roll and lob threat for Cunningham and Ivey ‘ Thulin said. You have a future.”

Richard Stayman of the NBA Big Board was a fan of Detroit’s suitability and prospects.

“I love this fit for Detroit and Duren,” Stayman said. “The agility to play fast, Cade Cunningham finally gets a lob partner. Overall good fit for her, really on both ends.”

NBA Big Board’s Rafael Barlowe said this draft could mean big things for Detroit to turn around a franchise that was once a playoff staple but has only made one trip in the past six years.

“I had Jaden Ivey number two on my entire big board and Duren as a lottery pick, so they end up getting two lottery picks,” Barlowe said. “You have become more athletic. You got a vertical lob threat. I think Detroit will be exciting.”

The Rockets also winners?

Another clear winner in the 2022 NBA Draft was the Houston Rockets. They have Jabari Smith Jr. in the third slot, someone who was projected and expected until they would become number one at the Magic on Thursday.

Not only are they adding value by packing Smith, but they’re getting LSU’s Tari Eason at No. 17, one of the draft’s top defensemen. Also, they traded for No. 29 for Kentucky’s point guard TyTy Washington Jr., who most didn’t expect to fall that far.

“This is the guy I had at the top of my draft board throughout the pre-draft process,” said Jackson Gatlin, Locked On Rockets podcast host. “The Houston Rockets were gift wrapped, the best player in the draft for me. He will bring so many amazing skills to the table. Hyper-elite three-point shooting, All-NBA defenders to the rockets.”

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