On Thursday, June 23, the NBA Draft 2022 airs live at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN. This is the 76th edition of the league’s annual draft. It’s taking place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Of course, the Warriors defeated the Celtics in six games of the 2022 NBA Finals, winning their seventh championship.
Now, NBA analysts have shifted their attention to every team’s draft needs. Which teams can improve the most on NBA draft day? Notable candidates include the Rockets, Cavaliers, Pacers, Warriors and Spurs. Even the Dubs can improve the most on NBA draft day. Find out why down below.
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Houston Rockets | NBA Draft 2022
First off, the Rockets hold the Nos. 3, 17 and 26 picks in this year’s draft. On Wednesday, the team traded center Christian Wood to the Mavericks for Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss and the No. 26 pick. Since the Rockets haven’t qualified for the playoffs since the 2019-20 season, the team has a lot of room for improvement.
They finished 20-62 (.244) in the 2021-22 regular season, ranking dead last in the Western Conference. Needless to say, Houston needs help at every position. Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith Jr. or Chet Holmgren are solid options. TyTy Washington is a potential fit at selection No. 17 as well. Marjanovic could serve as a mentor for one of these rookies.
Next, the Cavaliers possess the Nos. 14, 39 and 56 picks. For the first time since LeBron James signed with the Lakers, Cleveland finished with a winning record. They were one play-in tournament win away from qualifying for the postseason. Now, general manager Mike Gansey is searching for another talented guard, especially one that can support Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. Roster depth is important for a potential playoff team. Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams might fit the bill.
Furthermore, the team could also use another forward. On Feb. 7, along with a 2022 second-round draft pick, Caris LeVert was traded by the Pacers to the Cavaliers for Ricky Rubio, a 2022 first-round draft pick, a 2022 second-round draft pick and a 2027 second-round draft pick. In a total of 19 games played for the Cavaliers after the trade, LeVert averaged 13.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. He missed a couple of weeks with a left foot injury, too. So, Cleveland can improve defensively.
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Indiana Pacers | 2022 NBA Draft
Additionally, the Pacers own the sixth, 31st and 58th picks in this year’s draft. This past season, the Pacers closed out their regular season 25-57 (.305). They ranked 13th in the Eastern Conference. But are they far off from becoming a playoff contender? On Feb. 8, the Kings agreed to trade Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton and Tristan Thompson to the team in exchange for Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, Domantas Sabonis and a 2023 second-round draft pick.
Indiana already has Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte and Myles Turner. So, what the Pacers need now is a star forward. One who can rebound effectively would be beneficial. Turner averaged 7.1 rebounds per game in the 2021-22 season, but he only appeared in 42 games. Keegan Murray and Jabari Walker bring a lot to the table. Isaiah Jackson is not yet dependable. Walker led the Pac-12 in rebounds last season, averaging 9.4 per game.
Golden State Warriors
Moreover, the Warriors own the 28th, 51st and 55th picks in the NBA Draft 2022. It should go without saying that Golden State is now back to winning championships. Winning their seventh title in franchise history, the team defeated the Celtics in six games of this year’s NBA Finals. They have won four titles with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green. And this team isn’t done yet. Assuming the team can avoid another major injury to a star player, the Warriors could return to the NBA Finals again next season.
One position the Warriors can improve on is center. The Dubs ranked ninth in total rebounds in the 2021-22 regular season. The Grizzlies led the league in rebounds last season — and aside from the Suns — they are the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference. As an unrestricted free agent, Kevon Looney could choose to explore his options this offseason. If he leaves, Jaylin Williams is a potential replacement for Looney. In the 2021-22 season, Williams ranked second in the SEC in rebounds. He averaged 9.8 rebounds per game with Arkansas.
San Antonio Spurs | NBA Draft 2022
Lastly, the Spurs have the Nos. 9, 20, 25 and 38 picks in the NBA Draft 2022. Now is the time for G.M. R.C. Buford and head coach Gregg Popovich to take full advantage of this particular draft. Three first-round picks will help the team prepare for its future. Last season, the Spurs ranked seventh in the league in scoring, averaging 113 points per game. Though, their overall record didn’t reflect this statistic. San Antonio finished 34-48 (.415), and they ranked 10th in the Western Conference.
Equally important, the Spurs have not made the playoffs since the 2018-19 season. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker made life easier for Popovich. But this current team is more than capable of returning to the playoffs next season. Keep in mind, the Spurs made the playoffs in the 2018-19 season after Tony Parker, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard departed.
Right now, their backcourt is sufficient. Dejounte Murray has exceeded expectations. After averaging 15.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game in the 2020-21 season, Murray averaged 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game this past season.
In addition to drafting a big man, the Spurs front office should focus on adding depth to support Murray. AJ Griffin and Ochai Agbaji come to mind. Griffin ranked third in true shooting percentage in the ACC last season (63%). Plus, Agbaji led the Big 12 in points, averaging 18.8 points per game. Other NBA Draft 2022 content is on the main page.
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