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2022 NBA Draft - The Biggest Surprises

jabari smith daily college fantasy basketball CFB DFS picks March Madness

With the NBA Draft in the rearview mirror, it's time to take stock of what happened on Thursday night.

It was a night of surprises, starting with a change at the top of the draft board after we spent weeks assuming Jabari Smith would be the No. 1 overall pick.

The Magic looking elsewhere headlines our list of surprises from Thursday night. What else will join it on the list?

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The Magic Take Paolo Banchero

Paolo Banchero to Orlando wasn't a bad pick. Any of the top three players from this class could wind up as the best player from it.

But the surprise was that every bit of speculation with Orlando pointed to the team taking Jabari Smith.

Everyone was prepared for this to be one of those drafts where the first three picks are completely predictable. Banchero didn't even work out for the Magic. If they went away from Smith, Chet Holmgren would have made the most sense, because the Magic front office loves length and Holmgren is basically nothing but length.

Instead, the team took Banchero. He definitely fills a need at the four for the team. With Jonathan Isaac's availability unclear, the Magic added an offensive weapon that can play both forward spots. In his lone season at Duke, Banchero averaged 17.2 points per game on 47.8% shooting, including a 33.8% mark from three. He also added 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.9 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. Banchero arguably has the highest offensive ceiling in this draft.

Fantasy-wise, Banchero's upside will depend on his minutes. If Isaac is out or limited, Banchero's projected volume makes him a solid mid-round pick. My concern would be in category leagues, as a rookie who is asked to score at a high volume will likely struggle some with efficiency.


The Kings Drafted Keegan Murray

This was one of those drafts where there's a clear top three, then there was a clear No. 4 choice, and then things opened up after that.

But the Kings did a Kings. Instead of picking Jaden Ivey, a dynamic guard out of Purdue who put up 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last year and would help fill the space left by the trade that sent Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana last year, the team picked Iowa's Keegan Murray.

And look: nothing against Murray, who averaged 23.5 points per game for the Hawkeyes last year and has some good size and shooting. He can stretch the floor at the four and should be a productive NBA player. But he doesn't have the ceiling that Ivey has and the Kings clearly went with need over talent here. Is Sacramento a team that can afford to do that?

Murray should be one of the best rookies for fantasy though, largely because we know he'll be on the court. He'll easily beat Trey Lyles out for the starting role at PF, and while he'll be the third or fourth option offensively, he'll get enough open looks from three to be a good value piece, especially for fantasy managers in need of scoring.


The Pistons Won The Draft

Detroit went into Thursday night with the No. 5 pick. They left the draft with Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren.

How, uhh, did that happen?

With Ivey, it was because the Kings took Murray, which meant that Detroit was able to land a perfect fit for their team one spot after the entire basketball world assumed that player would be gone.

Ivey fills a need as a secondary ball-handler beside Cade Cunningham. He's got room to improve his decision-making and passing, but playing with Cunningham should hide some of that, allowing Ivey to focus—early on at least—on scoring the basketball. And after trading away Jerami Grant, the Pistons need some scoring. This is a rebuilding team that is firmly in the hunt for a top-five pick next year. Ivey will have the green light to score, making him one of the best rookies for fantasy.

As for Duren, the Pistons were able to make a trade that landed them the 6-11 center out of Memphis with the 13th pick.

Duren is essentially your perfect pick-and-roll center. He can finish at the rim. He's explosive. He has the size to affect the game defensively. He's the best "pure" center in this class since I think it's fair to call Holmgren something more complex than a center.

But because of the kind of player he is, there's going to be a need for refinement before Duren can start for Detroit. He's someone to monitor in fantasy over the second half of the season, but Isaiah Stewart will likely see more minutes for a while.


The Thunder Trade for Ousmane Dieng

Sure, the picks they traded were heavily protected, but still... trading three future firsts to the Knicks for the 11th pick to take Ousmane Dieng was definitely a surprise.

The Thunder have so many future picks that they almost have to do things like this, though, so the actual act of making a trade like this is fine. I'm just not sure Dieng was the player to target here.

The 19-year-old forward played in the NBL last year for the New Zealand Breakers and was not very good. He averaged 8.9 points, 1.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game on 39.8% shooting. He shot 27.1% from three.

OKC is built for the long run, but also at some point they need to pivot a little, right? Dieng is another "year away from being a year away" kind of player. The Thunder have too many of those. Dieng will likely spend most of the year down in the G-League.

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