HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons all shared a 14% chance of winning the lottery and the No. 1 pick for the June 23 NBA draft in New York.
Houston ended up getting the third pick while the Magic got the top spot.
Auburn's Jabari Smith, Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren and Duke's Paolo Banchero are among the top college players available.
The Rockets, Magic and Pistons were young teams who finished at the bottom of the league, the kinds of teams the lottery is supposed to benefit.
Houston and Orlando also have plenty of young talent and are prepared to add to it. All three had a better than 52% chance of landing a top-four selection.
2022 NBA DRAFT - First Round
- Orlando Magic
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Houston Rockets
- Sacramento Kings
- Detroit Pistons
- Indiana Pacers
- Portland Trail Blazers
- New Orleans Pelicans (via Los Angeles Lakers)
- San Antonio Spurs
- Washington Wizards
- New York Knicks
- Oklahoma City Thunder (via L.A. Clippers)
- Charlotte Hornets
- Cleveland Cavaliers
The Rockets ended up with a dominant big man of their own in the lottery 20 years ago when they selected Yao Ming of China. Now digging out from the end of the James Harden era, they finished 20-62 this season, the worst in the NBA.
Houston had the No. 2 pick last year and took Jalen Green, who showed plenty of promise as a rookie. Now they might be able to add two talented young players to their roster, a top-five pick of their own and the No. 17 selection from Brooklyn that they acquired when they dealt Harden in January 2021.
“I do think we’ll be a more talented team next year than we were this year and I actually think, just in terms of talent, we were a pretty talented team,” general manager Rafael Stone said. We were just extraordinarily young. Chances are we’ll be even younger next year, but you never know."