The 2022 NBA Draft took place on Thursday night and it certainly captured the attention of the basketball world. All told, 58 players heard their names called and will now move on to the next phase of their careers. Of course, the Big Ten was well represented during the evening with plenty of players hearing their names.
So, how did the league do? Let’s look at our major takeaways.
1. The Big Ten performed well.
The biggest takeaway for the night for the Big Ten is an obvious one. It was a great night for the conference as nine players heard their names called, including four in the First Round and three in the top 10. That’s not an easy accomplishment and speaks to the impressive talent fans got to experience this season. Continuing that will be easier said than done, but that’s quite a mark, especially considering seven teams had at least one player picked.
2. The Big Three.
Of course, even if the total numbers are significant, most eyes are going to turn to the league’s highest draft picks in Keegan Murray, Jaden Ivey, and Johnny Davis. Murray went fourth to the Sacramento Kings, Ivey went right behind him to the Detroit Pistons, and Davis was taken by the Washington Wizards with the 10th pick.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess who ends up the best out of the three. Murray was the highest picked, but most believe Ivey and Davis have higher upsides. Similarly, while Murray joins what figures to be the best team for the 2022-’23 season, it’s hard to believe the Kings have more long-term upside than the Pistons or Wizards. Detroit boasts last year’s top pick (Cade Cunningham) and the Wizards have a ton of assets after coming out well after a few big moves over the last few years. A reasonable bet seems to suggest Murray will have the most successful first season, but other picks will pass him as time goes on.
3. There are some dark horses as well.
The analysis shouldn’t stop at the three players noted above, though. Some of the other selections could have long careers as well. Malaki Branham came on late in the season and now finds himself headed to one of the best organizations in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs, Caleb Houstan got selected by the Orlando Magic, and Max Christie landed on a loaded Los Angeles Clipper squad among others. All three have plenty of upside and could play important roles even as early as this season.
4. Keep an eye on some of the unsigned free agents.
Finally, don’t forget about the players who weren’t selected, either. The Big Ten had plenty of players who were on the cusp of getting drafted, but didn’t hear their name called. They include players like Eli Brooks, Kofi Cockburn, and Trevion Williams. All three have landed free agency deals and will now get an opportunity to prove themselves in the Summer League. Don’t be shocked if any of them earn a roster spot somewhere.