Updated June 24, 2022 at 3:00 a.m. EDT|Published June 23, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. EDT
NEW YORK — The biggest NBA draft surprise in a decade took the Barclays Center stage in a purple, gem-studded suit and with tears in his eyes.
In an unexpected twist, the Orlando Magic drafted Duke freshman Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick Thursday, bypassing Auburn freshman Jabari Smith Jr., who was long viewed as the consensus favorite to be the top pick.
The 19-year-old Banchero, a Seattle native, didn’t work out with the Magic during the pre-draft process and was projected by most analysts to go third to the Houston Rockets. Instead, he joined Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber (who was traded for Anfernee Hardaway) and Dwight Howard as the fourth No. 1 pick in Magic history and became the first Duke player to go first since Zion Williamson in 2019.
When Banchero’s name was called by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the Brooklyn crowd cheered and gasped. Not since the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 pick in 2013 has the top selection caught so many basketball observers off guard, though there were unconfirmed hints of Orlando’s decision when betting markets swung wildly in Banchero’s favor earlier this week.
“I’ve never cried tears of joy before ever in my life,” Banchero said after shaking hands with Silver. “Tonight was the first time when it all hit me. I want to come to Orlando and win games, bring the Magic a championship. That’s the plan.”
Orlando ranked 29th in offensive efficiency and 28th in three-point percentage, so Banchero, a physical scoring forward who averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds while earning second-team all-American honors at Duke, will have every opportunity to make an impact as a rookie. For the Magic, who hasn’t won a playoff series since 2010, Banchero is their best bet at a franchise player since Howard departed in 2012.
“This isn’t even a dream,” Banchero said. “I feel like this is a fantasy. I didn’t find out that I was actually getting picked until about 20 seconds before the commissioner got on the stage. I didn’t even have time to really think about it or anything. It just happened. I can’t believe it, but I’m ready.”
Despite the Magic’s curveball, the Oklahoma City Thunder selected Gonzaga forward Chet Holmgren, the player they were linked to throughout the pre-draft process. That dropped Smith to the Houston Rockets at No. 3. Iowa forward Keegan Murray went to the Sacramento Kings at No. 4 and Purdue guard Jaden Ivey was selected fifth by the Detroit Pistons. Picking 10th, the Washington Wizards selected Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis.
Holmgren, a 7-foot, 195-pound big man who averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks as a freshman, became Oklahoma City’s highest pick since Kevin Durant went second in 2007, when the franchise was still in Seattle. As the Thunder progress through an extended rebuild, Holmgren will serve as an interior linchpin to complement a pair of backcourt playmakers in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and 2021 lottery pick Josh Giddey.
“It’s a great situation, great dynamic,” Holmgren said. “On defense, I can use my length and my quickness to cover a lot of ground and take up space. And on offense, OKC plays a five-out style of basketball. There’s a lot of space, especially in the paint to get to the basket or draw two defenders or drive and kick.”
Smith, 19, was viewed by many as the class’s most talented prospect thanks to the modern nature of his game, which mixes length, athleticism, three-point shooting and defensive versatility. The Georgia native averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2 assists while shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc to earn second-team all-American honors. After finishing a league-worst 20-62 last season, Houston will look to construct a high-powered offense around Smith and dynamic guard Jalen Green, who was the second pick in last year’s draft.
“It was a coin flip,” Smith said of the No. 1 selection. “When it happened, I just was happy for [Banchero], clapped for him and just waited to hear my name called. … [Sliding to third] definitely added a chip [to my shoulder], but God makes no mistakes. I’m happy to be where I’m wanted. I’m happy to get to Houston and just show them, give them what they picked.”
The fourth selection was cause for much speculation and interest, as Ivey gave indications that he wasn’t interested in going to the Kings. Rather than call Ivey’s bluff or auction off the pick, the Kings simply took Murray, a 21-year-old forward who averaged 23.5 points and 8.7 rebounds as a sophomore.
Ivey, in turn, fell to the Pistons, where he fits in cleanly as a secondary scorer alongside 2021 No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham. The 20-year-old scoring guard compared his “speed and athleticism” to Ja Morant and Russell Westbrook, and credited his mother, former WNBA player Niele Ivey, for guiding his development.
“It’s actually an amazing story to have a mother who has been in the league,” Ivey said. “The bond that we have is special. I wouldn’t be on this stage, I wouldn’t be here, without her.”
Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin went sixth to the Indiana Pacers, Canadian guard Shaedon Sharpe went seventh to the Portland Trail Blazers, Australian guard Dyson Daniels went eighth to the New Orleans Pelicans and Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan went ninth to the San Antonio Spurs.
With Sacramento keeping its pick, there were only two trades involving lottery picks: The Knicks sent No. 11 pick Ousmane Dieng to the Thunder for three conditional first-round picks, while the Charlotte Hornets selected Memphis center Jalen Duren with the No. 13 pick and traded him to the Pistons for a first-round pick in a three-way deal with the Knicks.
Duke forward Paolo Banchero is headed to Orlando after the Magic selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. The 19-year-old’s strong presence in the paint and skilled footwork are paired with a smooth jumper.
In his freshman season with the Blue Devils, the 6-foot-10 forward averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 boards and 3.2 assists per game. While the talented forward had consistently been projected to be one of the top picks in the draft, minor concerns about his defense fueled speculation that he would fall behind Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren.
But in a late surprise, Banchero was selected No. 1 overall. In Orlando, he will join Jamahl Mosley, who is entering his second season as head coach. Banchero will have a chance to make an immediate impact alongside guard Jalen Suggs and small forward Franz Wagner.
With the second pick in the draft, the Oklahoma City selected Chet Holmgren, the highly heralded Gonzaga center who has long been projected as one of the headliners of the 2022 draft class. At 7-foot-1, Holmgren brings significant length to the Thunder.
With 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, Holmgren nearly averaged a double-double with the Zags. A testament to his lanky frame, he also averaged 3.7 blocks per game.
Last year, the Magic selected Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs, who was high school teammates with Holmgren at Minnesota’s Minnehaha Academy. There was early speculation that Orlando would select Holmgren, but Paolo Banchero was ultimately chosen No. 1 overall.
In Oklahoma City, the 20-year-old Holmgren joins a young Thunder roster that includes guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. The Thunder acquired a second lottery pick in a trade with the Clippers and are set to draft again at No. 12 overall.
The Houston Rockets selected Auburn forward Jabari Smith with the third pick in the draft, adding size and a strong perimeter threat. The 6-foot-10, 220-pound forward averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in his freshman year at Auburn.
Over the course of the season, Smith emerged as one of the top prospects in the draft. He notched double-doubles in the two NCAA tournament games he played in.
Smith’s father, Jabari Smith Sr., played four seasons in the NBA.
Smith was widely expected to be the first overall pick before the Magic drafted Duke’s Paolo Banchero in a surprising move. Smith fell to No. 3 and will join a Rockets roster in the middle of a rebuild that leans heavily on young talent. Last year, Houston selected guard Jalen Green second overall and center Alperen Sengun later in the first round.
Iowa’s Keegan Murray became the next forward off the board when the Sacramento Kings took him fourth overall.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward improved drastically from his freshman to sophomore year. This season, Murray averaged 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for the Hawkeyes. That earned him the 2022 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award.
Murray’s quickness and stifling defense contributed to his rising draft stock, as did his standout performance in the Big Ten Tournament, which earned him tournament MVP honors.
In Sacramento, Murray will bring size that complements a group of guards led by De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell.
The Detroit Pistons selected Purdue guard Jaden Ivey with the No. 5 overall pick. An explosive 6-foot-4 guard, Ivey is a difference-maker on both sides of the court. After a solid freshman year, Ivey returned to Purdue for a second season before entering the draft this year. He averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 46 percent from the field.
Ivey’s mother, Niele, played in the WNBA and is the Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach. She spent the 2019-20 season on the staff of the Memphis Grizzlies. Among the players she coached in Memphis was Grizzlies star Ja Morant, who is considered a potential NBA comparison to Jaden Ivey.
The Pistons jumped at the chance to select Ivey following the selections of Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith and Keegan Murray. Ivey will join forces with Cade Cunningham in Detroit.
The Indiana Pacersselected Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin with the sixth pick in the draft. Originally from Montreal, Mathurin attended high school at the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico.
Mathurin’s draft stock increased in the weeks leading up to the draft, largely due to his impressive versatility. He was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year after a standout season at Arizona that saw him average 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Meanwhile, he shot 45 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from behind the arc, while also being an impact player on defense.
The 20-year-old Mathurin was projected to be a top pick and should fit in well with the other guards on the Pacers roster, a rotation that includes Malcolm Brogdon and Tyrese Haliburton.
The Portland Trail Blazers selected Kentucky guard Shaedon Sharpe with the seventh overall pick in the draft. A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Canada, Sharpe reclassified to start playing college ball a year early but redshirted upon his arrival at Kentucky.
Partially as a result of not logging any time on the court for the Wildcats, Sharpe is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft class. The 19-year-old is relatively untested but has displayed strong perimeter shooting and athleticism, including in a showing at Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League.
With the selection, Sharpe becomes the next member of a rebuild in Portland that is anchored by point guard Damian Lillard. By taking Sharpe seventh overall, the Trail Blazers are taking what is widely regarded as a gamble with high potential upside.
8: New Orleans Pelicans: Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite
One of the more interesting prospects in the draft, Australian swingman Dyson Daniels of the NBA G League Ignite is headed to the New Orleans Pelicans with the eighth pick.
A jack-of-all-trades, the 6-foot-7 Daniels operates best from the wing, where he’s a reliable-if-not-overeager three-point shooter — both in spot-up and catch-and-shoot situations — and can slash his way to the rim. He also has a deft eye for making incisive passes both on the fast break and from his usual spot outside the arc.
In 15 games during the G League Ignite tour, Daniels averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game, while also contributing 2.1 steals a game and 11 total blocks. He will complement a team already featuring a former first overall pick in Zion Williamson and former all-star Brandon Ingram.
The San Antonio Spurs selected Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan with the ninth pick in the draft.
In a season that saw him earn Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year honors, Sochan made his presence felt everywhere, with per-game averages of 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks, and all while starting just once and playing about 25 minutes a game. His potential to impact every aspect of a game in limited minutes certainly makes him an interesting player.
Notably, Sochan was born in Oklahoma, raised in England and became the youngest player in the history of the Polish national team, as his mother is from Poland. The highly touted recruit will pair with all-star Dejounte Murray, and could become a potent floor-spacing threat.
10. Washington Wizards: Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin
The Washington Wizards selected Johnny Davis, a 6-foot-5 guard out of Wisconsin, with the 10th overall pick.
Davis averaged 19.7 points and 8.2 rebounds in his sophomore season, up from 7 points and 4.1 rebounds as a freshman. Known for his competitive nature and high effort on both sides of the court, Davis became the leader of the Badgers’ squad. He was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and was the team’s leading scorer in both of its NCAA tournament games this year.
Davis isn’t the first NBA draft pick in his family. His father, Mark, was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1985 draft. He spent a year in the NBA before playing internationally.
By selecting Davis, the Wizards gain a versatile guard with high scoring potential who caught widespread NBA attention over the last season. Davis should fit well in a Washington offense controlled by Bradley Beal and will be a difference-maker on defense as well.
11. Oklahoma City Thunder (from New York): Ousmane Dieng, F, New Zealand Breakers
With the 11th pick, the New York Knicks looked internationally and selected French winger Ousmane Dieng of the NBL’s New Zealand Breakers. The pick was later traded to Oklahoma City for three conditional first-round picks.
Dieng’s numbers don’t immediately jump off the page — 8.9 points. 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 21 minutes per game — but given he stands at 6-foot-10 and weighs 205 pounds despite just turning 19 in March, he offers huge upside.
Dieng’s not afraid to get involved in play across the floor, getting in the paint to get blocks and contest shots, while also creating shots of his own in the lane and hitting catch-and-shoot threes.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara
The Oklahoma City Thunder selected guard Jalen Williams out of Santa Clara with the 12th pick in the 2022 NBA draft.
Williams has many qualities that make him intriguing to scouts — his 7-foot-2 wingspan, ballhandling skills and strong court vision. And while those may have made him a star player in the West Coast Conference, what makes him a solid NBA prospect is his ability to create his own shot from anywhere on the court.
In 2021-2022, the Arizona native excelled at creating separation and in catch and shoot situations, averaging 18 points per game and shooting over 50 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from deep, while also notching 4.2 assists per game.
Williams will be the third draft pick so far to head to Oklahoma City after No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren and No. 11 pick Ousmane Dieng, who is set to be traded from the Knicks to the Thunder.
13. Detroit Pistons (from Charlotte): Jalen Duren, C, Memphis
With the 13th pick of the draft, the Charlotte Hornets selected Memphis Tigers center Jalen Duren. Duren will be traded to the Detroit Pistons as part of a three-team trade.
In what was an up-and-down season for the Tigers, Duren was the team’s most potent offensive threat. Averaging 12 points per game on almost 60 percent shooting, Duren offers quickness and athleticism in the paint, enhanced by his 6-foot-11, 250-pound frame. His physical dominance and variety of post moves allows him to score with dunks and layups close to the basket, as well as deft jumpers from the high and low post.
He was also a defensive force, averaging 8.1 rebounds per game with 61 total blocks on the year.
Kansas forward Ochai Agbaji is joining the Cleveland Cavaliers after they selected him with the 14th pick in the draft.
A four-year player with the Jayhawks, Agbaji declared for the draft in 2021 and appeared at the combine before deciding to play his senior season at Kansas. That extra season notably improved his draft stock — Agbaji won Big 12 Player of the Year, then led Kansas to a national championship and was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
The 22-year-old averaged 18.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in his senior season in Lawrence. He joins a young Cavaliers group that includes Darius Garland and Evan Mobley; Agbaji can make an immediate impact in Cleveland.