Surprise at the top of the 2022 NBA draft, which took place Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. While Jabari Smith Jr. acted as the frontrunner for the top pick, Orlando preferred Paolo Banchero to him. The American-Italian interior averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists with Duke University last season and will want to help raise the record of the league’s second-worst offense in 2021-2022.
Jabari Smith was ultimately chosen by Houston in third place. The shooter will have to compensate for the departure of Christian Wood in Dallas and bring back a little serenity to a defense which was sorely lacking during the last exercise. Between Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren was drafted by Oklahoma City in second position.
Dieng 11e, Besson in extremis
After Holmgren, the Thunder set their sights on Ousmane Dieng. The Habs were chosen in eleventh position and joined their compatriots Theo Maledon and Jaylen Hoard in Oklahoma.
In the second round, three other French people were drafted, between 43rd and 58th place. Moussa Diabaté, who perhaps did not expect to be selected so high, was taken by the Los Angeles Clippers in 43rd position, followed a few minutes later by Ismaël Kamagate, whom the Denver Nuggets chose in 46th. The pivot arrives from Paris Basketball and will have to prove himself this summer during the traditional Summer League.
Drafted in last position, Hugo Besson, now ex-teammate of Ousmane Dieng at the New Zealand Breakers, joins the Bucks after having compiled 13.9 points, 4 rebounds and 2.3 assists on average last season.
Shaedon Sharpe, the right pick?
At 19, Canadian Shaedon Sharpe was drafted seventh by the Blazers. Athlete with recognized offensive abilities, on his scale, he will come to assist the band of Damian Lillard and Jerami Grant. With his more than two meters wingspan, he will offer some interesting options to the Oregon franchise, even if his arrival constitutes a risk, insofar as he did not play in the NCAA last season. It’s up to Portland to put it to good use.
The Knicks actors of the evening
Initially selected 13th by the Hornets, Jalen Duren eventually found himself in the middle of a three-way game with the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks.
The three franchises have agreed to a trade involving Kemba Walker, who takes the direction of Detroit along with Jalen Duren, as well as several Draft picks. During this evening, the Pistons also selected Jaden Ivey and offered Cade Cunningham, first pick of the 2021 Draft, a teammate of choice. The Knicks are freeing up some cap space and increasing their financial flexibility in light of the Free Agency this summer.