EMPIRE OF THE SUNS
NBA Draft live blog: Pistons deal for C Jalen Duren in trade-heavy night
Check back for more on the 2022 NBA Draft and how it could reshape the league with picks, trades and surprises.
Visit ArizonaSports.com for Phoenix Suns coverage after they stood pat without a draft pick.
No. 1 – Orlando Magic: Paolo Banchero, F, Duke
For the past months, the top pick in the draft appeared to be between Auburn Tigers forward Jabari Smith and Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren. Word of that being incorrect spread via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski in the half-hour before Orlando went on the clock.
Let’s just say this about the move: While Holmgren’s body and uniqueness as a prospect could raise apprehension, Smith was regarded as the safest pick.
Banchero is certainly the most offensively skilled player in the class, but let’s just say this: In his freshman year, he was a worse three-point shooter (33.8%) and worse free-throw shooter (72.9%) and worse finisher at the rim (64.6%) than Arizona Wildcats first-round draft prospect Dalen Terry, who has questions about his shooting and scoring chops in the pros.
That’s oversimplifying it to some degree: Banchero finished an NCAA Tournament run shooting the lights out and was widely viewed as a top-four pick who didn’t get enough credit for his playmaking. But is there room for an average athlete and mid-range scoring power forward? Cleaning up his conditioning (for defensive purposes) and shooting could make it pay off.
No. 2 – Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga
Order! We have order. Holmgren joins a very young crew that suddenly looks to be rounding into form. It should be a pretty talented passing team with Holmgren, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey among the playmakers. The rookie will provide some backline support on defense and driving lanes on offense for Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort, presuming the latter is not traded.
No. 3 – Houston Rockets: Jabari Smith, F, Auburn
The Rockets still get their power forward who can shoot lights out and add some rim-attacking pop alongside last year’s second overall pick, shooting gurad Jalen Green.
No. 4 – Sacramento Kings: Keegan Murray, F, Iowa
Former NBA point guard Jay Williams went on our Wolf & Luke show this week and said that Jaden Ivey had that it factor. It didn’t make sense for Sacramento to go with Ivey because of their De’Aaron Fox-Davion Mitchell backcourt, and they instead targeted one of the most efficient scorers in the nation last year.
Murray shot 55% from the field and 39.8% from three-point range on pretty darn good volume. Some of that efficiency won’t translate because he played so much out of the post. But Murray also averaged 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals a night. There’s a good shot he ends up complementing the Kings really well alongside the backcourt and big man Domantas Sabonis. Ivey, though, has a bit more star potential.
No. 5 – Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey, PG, Purdue
Dude gets Russell Westbrook comparisons, and he should fit fine alongside last year’s top pick, Cade Cunningham. It’s to be determined if there’s a certain free agent big man who might join that backcourt duo.
No. 6 – Indiana Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona
The Wildcat joins a roster in flux with guard Malcolm Brogdon and center Myles Turner potentially on the trading block. There is a lot of perimeter talent after Brogdon, with Tyrese Haliburton, Chris Duarte and Buddy Hield on the roster as well.
No. 7 – Indiana Pacers: Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky
He did not play in college, but even if you didn’t watch him, you can make the guess he will be the No. 3 option after Damian Lillard and new Blazer Jerami Grant if you watched any Portland games later on last year.
No. 8 – New Orleans Pelicans: Dyson Daniels, G/F, G League Ignite
New Orleans is stacked already but takes a high-upside athlete who can defend and create. He joins Herb Jones as a C.J. McCollum bodyguard.
No. 9 – San Antonio Spurs: Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor
A classic Spurs pick. Sochan has an elite role player toolkit that would be a bit scary if he were selected by a team that doesn’t have the developmental structures to help him.
No. 10 – Washington Wizards: Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin
Is this a “goodbye Bradley Beal” move?
No. 11 – Oklahoma City Thunder (via Knicks): Ousmane Dieng, F, NZ Breakers
Knicks fans did not like this. Good news for them: The French small forward who played in New Zealand was rerouted to the Thunder, who must see a bit in him. It cost them multiple future first-round picks.
No. 12 – Oklahoma City Thunder: Jalen Williams, F, Santa Clara
A Gilbert product, the Perry High School product turned his breakout junior year into not only a first-round paycheck but a lottery salary.
Unrelatedly, the Thunder basically have a full roster at present but still have a first-rounder and a second-rounder that might be traded.
No. 13 – Detroit Pistons (via Charlotte Hornets): Jalen Duren, C, Memphis
We’ve got reporting mistakes! Some reporters said the big man will head to the New York Knicks, but others said he’d head to the Pistons. It would appear that Duren was first traded to New York and then sent again, with point guard Kemba Walker, to the Detroit Pistons.
From the Suns’ angle, that means Detroit has found a young center to put alongside its appealing backcourt. Might that indicate how the Pistons feel about their chances of landing Deandre Ayton, or does it even matter with Duren being a raw player who averaged 12.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game as a freshman?
Or, as Arizona Sports’ Suns reporter said to me: It’s a nice move to entice Ayton to a team that has cap space and can play him at power forward like his college days at Arizona.
No. 14 – Cleveland Cavaliers: Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas
One of the older players in the draft who projects as a sound 3-and-D option goes to an improving Cavs core.
No. 15 – Charlotte Hornets: Mark Williams, C, Duke
LaMelo Ball gets a center, now he needs a head coach!
No. 16 – Atlanta Hawks: A.J. Griffin, G, Duke
Well, the Hawks are prepared to do some roster shuffling on the perimeter now.
No. 17 – Houston Rockets: Tari Eason, F, LSU
Fun complementary piece. Now to get that young core playing together — not an easy task.
No. 18 – Chicago Bulls: Dalen Terry, G/F, Arizona
The Wildcats’ second player came off the board relatively early compared to where he was mocked. He joins a busy perimeter group but with his willingness to fit in as a teammate should help him find a way to help a DeMar DeRozan-led squad.
No. 19 – Memphis Grizzlies (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest
A do-it-all power forward for a team that can be a little more versatile with big Jaren Jackson Jr.
No. 20 – San Antonio Spurs: Malaki Branham, G, Ohio State
The Spurs get another project pick, who can sure shoot it.
No. 21 – Denver Nuggets: Christian Braun, G/F, Kansas
This is a bit of a surprise to me. He needs to get a more consistent jumper to even have a shot, but this is where the draft will start getting surprising.
No. 22 – Minnesota Timberwolves (via Grizzlies): Walker Kessler, C, Auburn
A shot-blocking backup for Karl-Anthony Towns.
No. 23 – Memphis Grizzlies (via Philadelphia 76ers): David Roddy, F, Colorado State
Roddy and LaRavia seem redundant for Memphis, which also took on Danny Green salary. The Sixers got defense-first guard De’Anthony Melton from the Grizzlies, adding depth to a contender.
No. 24 – Milwaukee Bucks: MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite
We got our first solid cry of the draft!
No. 25 – San Antonio Spurs: Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame
It feels like the Spurs are filling all their needs, but that makes it also feel like they have a lot of trading to do with still another pick to go on Thursday.
No. 26 – Minnesota Timberwolves (via Houston Rockets): Wendell Moore Jr., F, Duke
Minnesota is doing a nice job trying to build some depth that didn’t exist last year.
No. 27 – Miami Heat: Nikola Jovic, F, Sebia
He will do winning basketball stuff even if he’s not physically ready.
No. 28 – Golden State Warriors: Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee
Baldwin Jr. played just 11 games as a freshman for Milwaukee-Wisconsin and shot 34% from the field and 27% from three — yet he took 5.8 treys per game. I don’t want to doubt the champs but I will say they’ve got some work to do with their new rook.
No. 29 – Houston Rockets: TyTy Washington, G, Kentucky
A Valley product who went to Compass Prep, Washington’s inconsistencies at Kentucky led to a fall on draft nihgt. If John Calipari’s tendency to not highlight guards’ best abilities holds up, Washington has got a shot to be a true lead guard considering his ball-screen creation talents.
No. 30 – Denver Nuggets: Peyton Watson, F, UCLA
Couldn’t see the floor at UCLA and is highly unlikely to do so on his first NBA team anytime soon.
No. 31 – Indiana Pacers: Andrew Nembhard, PG, Gonzaga
They definitely will trade Malcolm Brogdon now, right?
No. 32 – Orlando Magic: Caleb Houstan, F, Michigan
No. 33 – Toronto Raptors: Christian Koloko, C, Arizona
It’s a center-lacking roster in Toronto but one that is one of the longest in the league.
No. 34 – Oklahoma City Thunder: Jaylin Williams, C, Arkansas
No. 35 – Los Angeles Lakers: Max Christie, G/F, Michigan State
No. 36 – Detroit Pistons: Gabriele Procida, G, Italy
No. 37 – Dallas Mavericks (via Sacramento Kings): Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite
No. 38 – Memphis Grizzlies (via San Antonio Spurs): Kennedy Chandler, PG, Tennessee
Backup point Tyus Jones is entering free agency and Melton is off to Philadelphia, so this makes sense.
No. 39 – Cleveland Cavaliers: Khalifa Diop, C, Spain
No. 40 – Charlotte Hornets (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Bryce McGowens, G/F, Nebraska
No. 41 – New Orleans Pelicans: E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State
What did E.J. Liddell do to fall this far in the draft?
No. 42 – New York Knicks: Trevor Keels, G, Duke
No. 43 – Los Angeles Clippers: Moussa Diabate, F, Michigan
No. 44 – Golden State Warriors (via Atlanta Hawks): Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo
The Warriors acquired this pick with the No. 51 picks and cash. Rollins was a long, productive guard as a sophomore. He averaged 18.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game while shooting 46.8% overall. Smells like a lesson in how to win the later rounds of the draft.
No. 45 – Minnesota Timberwolves: Josh Minott, F, Memphis
No. 46 – Denver Nuggets (via Portland Trail Blazers): Ismael Kamagate, C, France
No. 47 – Memphis Grizzlies: Vince Williams, F, VCU
No. 48 – Indiana Pacers (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Kendall Brown, F, Baylor
No. 49 – Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaiah Mobley, F, USC
It’s a Mobley family reunion.