The Orlando Magic won the long-awaited NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday and will now have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, which is set for June 23. The Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons round out the top five.
This is the fourth time that the Magic have won the No. 1 overall pick, which is second only to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the lottery era. The last time they drafted first, they selected Dwight Howard in 2004. If they can get someone as good as Howard this time around it will be a major success.
There is no clear-cut No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, and the various candidates comprise a wide range of positions and skills. Some of the potential options include Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren, Duke forward Paolo Banchero, Auburn forward Jabari Smith and Purdue guard Jaden Ivey. Holmgren was the No. 1 pick in Kyle Boone’s latest mock draft and Ivey is the top-rated prospect on his Top 75 Big Board.
NBA Draft Lottery results
7. Trail Blazers
8. Pelicans (via Lakers)
12. Thunder (via Clippers)
Here are some key takeaways from the night:
Magic could be building something special
The Magic had the second-worst record in the league last season, going 22-60 as they missed the playoffs for the second straight season. While that’s not an ideal way to spend seven-plus months, all of the losing paid off as they won the No. 1 overall pick on Tuesday night.
“The fans, the organization, it’s so exciting,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “There’s so much to look forward to. It’s going to be special.”
While a coach is always going to be optimistic about his team’s future, the Magic really could be on the verge of building something special. They had two lottery picks last season in Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, the latter of which is almost certainly going to be on the All-Rookie Team.
Add in the likes of Markelle Fultz, Wendell Carter Jr., Jonathan Isaac (if he ever plays basketball again), Cole Anthony, Chuma Okeke and RJ Hampton, plus whoever they take at No. 1 this year, and that’s a lot of young talent. There’s never any guarantees in the NBA, but the Magic could be pretty fun in a few years.
Kings jump up to No. 4
There weren’t any major surprises on Tuesday night, as the lottery largely went to form. Still, there was a little bit of movement. Most notably, the Sacramento Kings, who had the seventh-worst record in the league last season, jumped up to the No. 4 overall pick.
That’s a nice little result for a team that hasn’t had much luck or success in recent years — especially considering that there seems to be a consensus top-four in this class: Chet Homgren, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith and Jaden Ivey.
The Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, which is the longest drought in the league. They made a clear push to change that last season by trading Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield to the Indiana Pacers for Domantas Sabonis. It didn’t work last season, but adding another top-four pick might help them finally get back to the playoffs in the future.
No luck for the Blazers
After eight straight playoff appearances, the Portland Trail Blazers were back in the lottery for the first time since 2012, when they drafted Damian Lillard. He was in attendance as their representative on Tuesday, but was unable to bring them any luck, as they fell to the No. 7 overall pick.
While that wasn’t a massive drop — they had the sixth-worst record last season — they also didn’t get the big jump they were hoping for, and ultimately really needed to transform their team.
After Lillard underwent abdominal surgery, they not only made a decision to tank, but came to the conclusion that their core wasn’t good enough. They traded CJ McCollum, Norman Powell, Larry Nance Jr. and Robert Covington, and Jusuf Nurkic is set to be a free agent. This is going to be a busy summer for the club as they try to rebuild around Lillard, and jumping up into the top three or four of the lottery would have been a huge help.