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2022 NBA Draft Lottery preview: Odds, top prospects, and how to watch

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2022 NBA Draft Lottery
Tuesday, May 17, 8 p.m. ET
How to watch: ESPN (U.S.), TSN (Canada)

You should know the drill by now. Under the watchful eye of the NBA's accounting firm, representatives of the teams holding the rights to picks No. 1 through No. 14 in this year's draft will be cloistered in Chicago, where the random drawing of Pingpong balls will determine the draft order for the main event on June 23.

Remember: The draw only determines the order of the top four picks. After those picks are locked in, the next 10 lottery picks simply fall in order from worst remaining record to best.

For example, the Indiana Pacers, owners of the fifth-best lottery odds, will draft no lower than ninth in the unlikely event that four teams with weaker lottery odds leapfrog them into the top four.

The draft order has already been determined by the time the results are publicly revealed on TV, but the NBA reveals the picks in reverse order from No. 14 through No. 1. If a team isn't announced in their expected slot - say, the New York Knicks at No. 11 - you know that team has moved into the top four.

The odds

Rockets 14 52.1
Magic 14 52.1
Pistons 14 52.1
Thunder 12.5 48.1
Pacers 10.5 42.1
Trail Blazers 9 37.2
Kings 7.5 32
Lakers* 6 26.3
Spurs 4.5 20.3
Wizards 3 13.9
Knicks 2 9.4
Clippers** 1.5 7.1
Hornets 1 4.8
Cavaliers 0.5 2.4

* - The Los Angeles Lakers' 2022 first-round pick will convey to the New Orleans Pelicans if it falls within the top 10. The Memphis Grizzlies will receive the pick if it falls to 11 or 12, but that's an unlikely scenario. The Lakers originally traded the pick as part of a package to acquire Anthony Davis in 2019.

** - As part of the Paul George blockbuster in 2019, the Oklahoma City Thunder will receive the Clippers' unprotected 2022 first-round pick. The pick will either leap into the top four or fall between picks 12-14 at the end of the lottery.

Top prospects

Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

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Chet Holmgren has all the trappings of a modern, hyper-skilled NBA center. In his lone year at Gonzaga, the 7-footer - who tipped the scales at just under 200 pounds - put up 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. The real hype with Holmgren, however, comes down to two numbers: 39% shooting on threes and 3.7 blocks per contest.

Combining above-average outside touch with preternatural shot-blocking ability will invite comparisons to other similarly long and lanky NBA bigs. Washington Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis is the easiest comp due to his similar build - but Holmgren's superior handles, finishing ability, and overall defensive instincts at age 20 project toward an even higher ceiling.

Jabari Smith, Auburn

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At 6-foot-10 and with a smooth long-range shooting form, Auburn freshman Jabari Smith has the potential to bend defenses with his catch-and-shoot acumen. He shot a whopping 42% on 5.5 threes per game in 2021-22, including a late-season tilt versus Vanderbilt when he connected on 7-of-10 deep looks.

And unlike a number of stretch-fours populating the league today, Smith has the frame and athleticism to be an above-average defender at worst, holding his own against multiple positions and disrupting passing lanes and shot attempts with his length.

Paolo Banchero, Duke

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Paolo Banchero is right in the mix with Holmgren and Smith for the top pick, with much of the intrigue coming down to which team actually wins the lottery on Tuesday. The 6-foot-10 Italian-American phenom was a key component of Duke's run to the Final Four, averaging 18.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 blocks, and a steal in five NCAA Tournament games.

Of the three top prospects, Banchero's 3-point stroke is the weakest right now; he hit just a shade under 34% of his 3.3 attempts per game. He makes up for it with the size and power to muscle his way inside for above-the-rim plays while still having the patience and creativity to make overzealous defenders pay away from the paint.

Draft representatives

Rockets General manager Rafael Stone
Magic Team president Jeff Weltman
Pistons Team legend Richard Hamilton
Thunder Team legend Nick Collison
Pacers Assistant GM Kelly Krauskopf
Trail Blazers Star guard Damian Lillard
Kings Star forward Domantas Sabonis
Pelicans Team VP Swin Cash-Canal
Spurs Hall of Famer David Robinson
Wizards Head coach Wes Unseld Jr.
Knicks Team VP William "World Wide Wes" Wesley
Hornets Forward P.J. Washington
Cavaliers Team legend Anderson Varejao
2022 NBA Draft Lottery preview: Odds, top prospects, and how to watch
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