Knicks, Nets don’t improve

The teams that win in the NBA are the ones that draw well, making design the lifeblood of the league. And Thursday evening at Barclays Center, the Post is looking at exactly who left the building as winners and who left as losers.

winners

Orlando Magic

The Magic got Shaquille O’Neal with the top pick in 1992, and Dwight Howard a dozen years later. They also went with the most ready major this time. Paolo Banchero has the defense and the intangibles for a team that desperately needs both. A 6-foot-10, 250-pounder that can pass, imagine Ben Simmons with a jumper.

Detroit pistons

GM Troy Weaver just killed this design. After Sacramento inexplicably passed on Jaden Ivey to Keegan Murray, Detroit plunged into open-court threat Ivey. The Purdue star has drawn comparisons to Ja Morant and should be the perfect athletic complement for Cade Cunningham’s size and smarts. Adding athletic 6-11 shot-blocking center Jalen Duren in a three-player deal was a bonus; but creating enough cap space to chase Deandre Ayton or Miles Bridges hangs on the edge.

Jaden Ivey Talks To The Media After Being Selected By The Detroit Pistons
NBAE via Getty Images

New Orleans Pelicans

Dyson Daniels at number 8 is a perfect fit. Brandon Ingram, newly acquired CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson (eventually) will be taking shots; Daniels will take care of the defense and the dirty work. He has a shaky jersey, but assistant Fred Vinson did wonders with Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Herb Jones. Daniels is his next student.

San Antonio Spurs

A pick later, the Spurs took the defensive ace of 6 foot 9 Jeremy Sochan over Duren. But just like in New Orleans, a spot earlier, they take a young positive choice with an Achilles heel that they believe can fix Dr. Chip Engelland, who has long been shot to death. Then came the much improved Ohio State guard Malaki Branham at number 20 and Notre Dame’s Blake Wesley at number 25, three athletic upward picks. Who’s Betting on the Spurs’ Player Development?


Follow the New York Post’s live tracker for up-to-date coverage and analysis of the NBA Draft picks for 2022.


losers

Brooklyn nets

Not only did the Nets have no choice in their own building on Thursday. It’s not just that they pushed the No. 23 pick to next year in hopes of Philadelphia relapsing, only to see the 76ers improve by getting De’Anthony Melton. It’s that they owed their own choice to Houston for James Harden, and we see how that worked out. Oh, and the specter of Kyrie Irving loomed all night.

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sacramento Kings

They were played by Ivey. After his noises that he didn’t want to play in Sacramento, they were shocked by the best player available and went for Murray. Yes, it fills a need, but it would almost certainly have been available later. The Kings could have had a nice return coming down from #4, especially with Ivey on the board. Anyway, they passed Luka Doncic to Marvin Bagley, so maybe Ivey had a point.

New York Knicks

Yes, they turned one pick into three and freed up the cap space. But they’ve sacrificed lottery talent, while the Bucks pick will likely be poor and the other two heavily protected. It seems like a steep price to clear Kemba Walker’s $9.2 million not-heavy deal, all just for a shot at free agent Jalen Brunson (unless Irving is the endgame, which brings an entirely different set of concerns. ).

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
Getty Images

Memphis Grizzlies

In a wing competition, Memphis was not only enviably deep, but even had an abundance of wings. They traded Melton to Philadelphia for the number 23 pick, taking David Roddy alongside number 19 Jake LaRavia. They lined up well under Zach Kleiman, but why give up a solid defender and legit piece for a few rookies with limited advantage who might have a hard time cracking this rotation? For a team this young age, experience should be a priority.

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