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The 2022 NBA draft is less than three weeks away when we’ll finally get to see where some of the top players like Jabari Smith Jr., Jaden Ivey, Dyson Daniels and others will land.
We could also witness some trade activity in the top 10, where a franchise like the Sacramento Kings, owners of the No. 4 overall pick, are likely looking to get back to the playoffs faster than many of the teams around them.
With all the rumors and noise spread around this time of year, it’s time to separate fact from fiction with the BS meter as we get closer to the draft.
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Daniels originally began popping up in the middle of the first round in early mock drafts after spending last season with the G League Ignite. His lack of outside shooting for a guard (25.5 percent from three) understandably gives teams concern, even if Dyson’s size, defense and playmaking all look NBA-ready.
For teams drafting outside of the top eight with dreams of landing the Australian guard, however, Dyson may be long gone by then.
As Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman wrote:
“Teams are under the impression that the Daniels buzz is real. His draft ceiling has been said to have risen into the Nos. 4-8 range after he measured like a wing (6’7½” in shoes), recorded the combine’s fastest shuttle run, put on a convincing shooting clinic at his pro day and impressed in interviews. The fact that he’s so versatile and interchangeable between positions 1-4 also eliminates fit concerns with most teams.”
After being listed at 6’6″ last season, Daniels pushing 6’8″ should only help move him up team’s boards. Seeing the value in a combo guard who can defend a la Derrick White of the Boston Celtics is a good blueprint for Dyson’s early years in the league as well.
Dyson’s size allows guard-heavy teams like the Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers to feel confident in taking him, as well as a franchise like the Detroit Pistons, who could use another playmaker next to Cade Cunningham.
BS Meter: Low. Dyson may not jump a player like Jaden Ivey or Keegan Murray, but landing in the 6-to-8 range looks likely now.
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While it looks like Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero will be the top-three players off the board, could Ivey jump past one of the elite big men?
The star guard from Purdue is a prime candidate to go No. 4 overall to the Sacramento Kings (or whoever picks in that spot, but more on that later). However, projecting him to go any higher seems unlikely for teams like the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, who all spent a top-six pick on a guard last year.
Adding even more offensive firepower is apparently on the table for Houston, though.
As ESPN’s Jonathan Givony writes, “Ivey’s candidacy is also under consideration here, as the idea of arguably constructing the most explosive backcourt in the NBA is said to be intriguing for Rockets brass.”
After taking shooting guard Jalen Green with the second overall pick in 2021 and with another ball-dominant young wing in Kevin Porter Jr., Ivey definitely doesn’t seem like the best fit for a Rockets team that could use more frontcourt help.
Christian Wood is on the final year on his contract, leaving second-year center Alperen Sengun as the lone big man building block. Houston should take whoever’s left between Smith, Holgrem and Banchero and pass on Ivey instead.
BS Meter: High. Ivey doesn’t fit an already guard-heavy roster in Houston.
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The draft really gets interesting at No. 4, where the Kings could take a number of different players or trade the pick for veteran help to go all-in for a 2023 playoff berth.
One other reason for a potential trade? Sacramento may not even get all the information they want on the prospects they’re eyeing, notes ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
“On top of that, the Kings may not be viewed by agents as the most attractive situation for their clients either, which could prevent them from getting a full view of their options in terms of private workouts and medicals. That’s one of the reasons some teams feel this pick is possible in a trade if an established veteran who could help the Kings make a playoff push is available.”
Few success stories have come out of Sacramento draft picks as the franchise has fumbled through head coaches and a 16-year playoff drought. Tyrese Haliburton looked like a rare pick (12th overall in 2020) that could turn into a franchise pillar and actually want to stay with the Kings, yet was traded just a year-and-a-half into his rookie contract.
Situations like this could be why Givony says agents don’t view Sacramento as an attractive situation.
The possibility of the Kings trading the pick is nothing new, either.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer previously wrote that, “there’s a strong belief among rival teams that Sacramento will explore trading the fourth selection, either out of the draft entirely for an impact veteran or down later in the lottery to net a contributing player rotation in the process .”
Nothing about these rumors involving the Kings should surprise anyone. While they could stand pat and take a player like Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray or another guard/wing to fit between De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, a trade wouldn’t shock anyone, either.
BS Meter: Very low. The Haliburton trade could have scared teams off, and the Kings will likely be trying to go all-in for a playoff run next season.
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The Magic have no shortage of talented big men to choose from at the top of the draft, with Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero all having a case to go No. 1.
While Holmgren seemed like the favorite in early mock drafts with his elite defensive potential, Orlando is reportedly leaning towards Smith now, according to SI Fastbreak’s Brett Siegel.
“This year, there does not seem to be a ‘clear-cut’ favorite as to who the best overall prospect in the draft class is, yet the Magic are zeroing in on Jabari Smith Jr. out of Auburn, sources tell SI Fastbreak. “
Smith was an elite outside shooter in college (42.0 percent) and has the size (6’10”, 220 pounds) to be a high-level defender as well. He’d be a worthy choice with the first overall pick.
That said, there’s no reason for the Magic to make a decision yet.
Orlando shouldn’t be ruling out Holmgren or Banchero and should even be listening to trade offers from the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets—a deal that would keep them inside the top three—should either want to move up to No. 1.
Even if Smith ends up being the pick for the Magic, there’s no reason why they’d tip their hat this early.
BS Meter: Some BS here. Orlando may eventually take Smith, but they shouldn’t let anyone else know it yet while keeping all options open.