The NBA draft always comes with some surprising decisions and unexpected picks. Orlando Magic shocked everyone by picking up Duke’s Paolo Banchero instead of Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Gongaza’s Chet Holmgren.
The first round’s latter half and the early second round were so openly competitive was one of the things that set this draft apart. The performance gap in this year’s draft appeared smaller than usual, which offers some fantastic opportunities to get a deal that can have a positive early-career impact on winning.
The players have the best chance to make their impact at the next level and exceed their draft position.
Let’s get into the biggest seals of the year 2022 draft.
Dalen Terry, Bulls
Terry (N0. 18 overall, FIRST ROUND) had an impact because of his adaptability, defensive prowess, tenacity, and the catch-and-shoot ability for an Arizona team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. He makes excellent decisions, dominates at transition, and sets the tone in every game he enters. Terry’s Arizona role reflects what Lonzo Ball does in Chicago. One of the biggest changes during the pre-draft process was Terry’s transition from college role player to top-20 pick, and it’s impossible not to enjoy what Terry offers to a playoff team.
He won’t ever be expected to be a significant scorer in the NBA, but the Bulls’ lineup is designed to have guys who are valuable even when they don’t have the ball in their hands.
Malaki Branham, Spurs
Jeremy Sochan, Blake Wesley, and Branham are three accomplished prospects that the Spurs acquired. The Ohio State product improved throughout Big Ten play, scoring more than 20 points a game in the season’s final 10 games to move into lottery consideration, averaging 17 points per game in 2022. The Spurs must consider the acquisition of a player with that level of scoring ability at No. 20 a victory.
He can play with or without the ball in his hands and has the potential to develop into an important second-unit scorer in the NBA.
Branham is also in the first round at No. 20 overall.
Patrick Baldwin Jr, Warriors
Baldwin (No. 28, FIRST ROUND) transitions from a college environment that may not have been the best fit for his talent to one that is great for the NBA. The former top-10 prospect passed up Duke and a number of other prestigious universities in favor of playing for his father Pat at UW-Milwaukee. Baldwin’s college success was further hampered by injuries and the lack of quality around him on a disappointing UWM squad.
Baldwin, who is 6’9″ and possesses a projectable physique, has the ability to be a prestigious outside shooter. That ought to be terrifying for the rest of the NBA, particularly now that they’ve had some time to develop after a few haphazard years of growth. It wouldn’t be unexpected to view this selection as the draft’s steal in a few years.
Kennedy Chandler, Grizzlies
Dropping out of the first round actually went in Chandler’s favor by landing in Memphis. Chandler (No. 38, SECOND ROUND), a small but quick guard who makes the most of his short frame and helped Tennessee win the SEC tournament, is perhaps the finest shooting guard in this year’s draught class. Tyus Jones’ excellent support of Ja Morant in 2021–22 was one of the main factors in the Grizzlies’ successful campaign. Chandler offers some protection in case Jones leaves this offseason for free agency. He has the potential to develop into a top-tier backup point guard in the NBA. He can have a good career in Memphis as a proficient ball screen operator.
Ej Liddell, Pelicans
Pelicans hit the jackpot by adding Jose Alvarado as an undrafted free agent and Herb Jones in the second round. The best scenario in this range of the draft was if both ended up playing in a playoff series in Year 1. Liddell (No. 41, SECOND ROUND) from Ohio State, one of college basketball’s top players, may have been added by David Griffin and the Pels. Liddell has shortcomings, but over the course of his college career, he has continuously improved. He turned himself into a real NBA prospect thanks to his improved shooting ability and toughness.