To echo Kevin Durant’s thoughts during Thursday’s 2022 NBA draft, it’s a winger league as size, length and shooting have proven desirable for front offices, with the Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero leading the way.
The NBA’s stylistic emphasis toward skill and versatility since the introduction of the defensive three-second rule has necessitated the hiring of more experienced and flexible players on both sides.
Banchero is an appropriate first pick in that regard – a 6ft 9 forward with the ability to create his own shot and make decisions with the ball in his hands, as well as the versatility to switch to defence.
From players like Mario Hezonja to Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac, however, Magic players in recent years have had a penchant for lanky forwards who struggled to assert themselves. Whether Banchero can improve his outside shooting could again prove crucial in the rebuild.
The Duke freshman averaged 17.2 points per game but made 33.8 percent of shots from three-point range, with their Final Four elimination marked by defenders sagging from him.
In that regard, it would take a slight improvement at the NBA level to force close-outs and maximize his ability to get in the basket.
However, size and shooting are the main draws for others in the lottery, with Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr. being the other standouts in this year’s draft class.
The 7-foot-1 Holmgren has reportedly set his sights on achieving 50/40/90 shooting splits in the NBA, which previously would have been unheard of for someone his size.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-10 Smith poses a similar distance threat for his height, with the ability to quickly get shots off the catch or when he puts the ball on the ground.
Eight of the top ten picks were in the 6ft 5 to 6ft 10 range before even factoring in the added dynamic of defensive end wingspan.
Shooting was the most coveted skill late in the first round and early in the second round, with the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat going for Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Nikola Jovic, respectively.
TyTy Washington is another example of the Houston Rockets’ emphasis on shooting and skill, and appears to be seeking her own answer to the Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey.
2022 NBA first round draft picks
1. Orlando Magic – Paolo Banchero (Duke)
2. Oklahoma City Thunder – Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)
3. Houston Rockets – Jabari Smith (Maroon)
4. Sacramento Kings-Keegan Murray (Iowa)
5. Detroit Pistons-Jaden Ivey (Purdue)
6. Indiana Pacers-Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona)
7. Portland Trail Blazers – Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky)
8. New Orleans Pelicans – Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite)
9. San Antonio Spurs-Jeremy Sochan (Baylor)
10.Washington Wizards-Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)
11. Oklahoma City Thunder – Ousmane Dieng (New Zealand)
12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jalen Williams (Santa Clara)
13. Detroit Pistons – Jalen Duren (Memphis)
14. Cleveland Cavaliers-Ochai Agbaji (Kansas)
15. Charlotte Hornets – Mark Williams (Duke)
16. Atlanta Hawks – AJ Griffin (Duke)
17. Houston Rockets-Tari Eason (LSU)
18. Chicago Bulls-Dalen Terry (Arizona)
19. Memphis Grizzlies – Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest)
20. San Antonio Spurs – Malaki Branham (Ohio State)
21. Denver Nuggets – Christian Braun (Kansas)
22. Minnesota Timberwolves-Walker Kessler (Auburn)
23. Memphis Grizzlies – David Roddy (Colorado State)
24. Milwaukee Bucks – MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite)
25. San Antonio Spurs – Blake Wesley (Notre Dame)
26. Dallas Mavericks – Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke)
27. Miami Heat – Nikola Jovic (Serbia)
28. Golden State Warriors – Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee)
29. Houston Rockets – TyTy Washington Jr (Kentucky)
30. Denver Nuggets-Peyton Watson (UCLA)