Sometimes, the NBA offseason can be even more fun than the actual regular season when, you know, basketball games are being played. Everybody remembers the insane cap spike of 2016, or how about the player movement of 2019 that saw Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and countless other big NBA names switch teams.
The NBA offseason is filled with hope. From the Sixers “process” years to the today’s Oklahoma City Thunder strategy of acquiring ALL of the draft picks, young and upcoming teams can convince themselves that anything is possible during the offseason. Of course, no basketball does, sadly, mean that there is no opportunity to make money betting on games. We saw a ton of success betting on NBA First Basket props specifically, as well as the other main markets.
With that said, the most fun part of the NBA offseason, in our humble opinion, is the NBA draft. I will admit that there is the tendency to fall in love with these prospects, which we are all guilty of, but nothing screams hope like the NBA draft.
2022 NBA Draft: Madness at the Top
Most years, there is almost no guess at all who is going number 1 in the NBA draft. This year, though, was not one of those years. There were 3 players in this year’s draft who you could reasonably make the argument was the best player in the draft. They were Paolo Banchero of Duke, Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga, and Jabari Smith of Auburn. For the majority of the draft season, the expectation was that Jabari Smith would go number 1. He was the heavy favorite to be the top choice amongst all of the sportsbooks.
As the days came closer to the draft, this was still the expectation. Smith would go number 1 to the Magic, Holmgren would go 2 to the Thunder, and Banchero would go 3 to the Rockets. Then, based on one tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski (commonly referred to as “Woj”), there was a seismic shift in the odds.
‘Woj tweeted that Banchero, in fact, would be the number one choice by the Orlando Magic. Because of this tweet, the odds shifted heavily in favor of Banchero going 1, followed by Holmgren at 2 and Smith at 3. Now Banchero certainly wasn’t a bad pick by the Magic by any means. The Magic were the 2nd worst offensive team in the NBA this past season, and Banchero was the most talented offensive player in this draft.
So, this isn’t to rag on the Magic by any means, but more so to highlight the rare uncertainty and madness at the very top of the draft. In most drafts, we know exactly who is going to go #1 months before the draft actually occurs. Last year it was obvious that Cade Cunningham was going 1 to the Pistons, the year before the heavy favorite ended up coming true with Anthony Edwards going 1, and so on and so forth. The last year where it was a legitimate question who was going #1 was the infamous Anthony Bennet draft to the Cavs back in 2013.
Of course, the madness didn’t stop at the top pick either!
Kings Gonna King
The Kings have unfortunately become famous for having the player selected after them becoming an absolute superstar, while the Kings draft pick becomes a bust. Look no further than this graphic below.
The Marvin Bagley pick was a mistake right from the beginning, with the Kings selecting him at 2 solely because Bagley also wanted to go as high as possible. In recent years, it has become popular for players to try to do everything they can to avoid being drafted by the Kings. Luka did this in the 2018 draft, while Bagley just wanted to go as high as possible. So, the Kings being as much of a trainwreck as they are, basically fulfilled both of these players’ wishes despite Luka Doncic being the much, much better prospect. This was a mistake the literal second it happened, and unfortunately isn’t the last mistake the Kings have made in the draft either.
They can get a pass on the Dame Lillard and Klay Thompson misses, because those weren’t as egregious mistakes as the Bagley/Doncic one was. But, of course, in the 2022 draft the Kings pulled another classic Kings and passed on Jaden Ivy at 4 and instead went with Keegan Murray.
To be clear, Murray isn’t a horrible prospect by any means, but he certainly isn’t the prospect that Jaden Ivy is. Ivy’s skill profile makes him a legitimate possibility to end up becoming the best player in this entire draft, but the Kings passed on him because he wouldn’t send them his medical information in hopes that the Kings wouldn’t draft him as he didn’t want to end up in Sacramento. So, history repeated itself.
All in all, it made the top 5 picks of the draft a very fun and entertaining time. Now we are onto free agency!