Welcome to a special post-draft edition of the NBA Betting Notebook for Friday, June 24.
While it wasn’t full of franchise-altering trades, this year's NBA draft featured some of the most significant line movement at the top end of the draft, as well as some savvy (and head-scratching moves) by numerous teams throughout the lottery. Let’s dive in.
NBA Notebook: June 24
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NBA betting news for this weekend
Paolo Banchero shocks sportsbooks as No.1 overall pick
Sometimes the draft doesn’t really get started until a few picks go off the board, and many had pegged this draft to begin at four when the Sacramento Kings were on the clock. Not so. Instead, it was maximum chaos straight away as the Orlando Magic selected Duke’s Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 overall pick.
This capped off one of the most turbulent paths to such a selection in recent NBA history. As I noted earlier in our draft prop picks piece as well as in last week’s NBA Betting Notebook, despite the Magic being mocked to take Jabari Smith No. 1 since the lottery, it was not a done deal. Massive line movement was steadily pushing Paolo to overtake Smith as the most likely No. 1 pick. After trailing at as much as +2,000 just a week ago, Paolo had briefly become the favorite before Thursday. But then ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski seemed to put that all to bed the morning of the draft.
As team boards finalize today, the 1-2-3 of the NBA Draft is increasingly firm, per sources: Jabari Smith to Orlando, Chet Holmgren to Oklahoma City and Paolo Banchero to Houston.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
Woj, and basically every other plugged-in NBA reporter had been emphatic about Jabari going first, and Paolo going third. After that tweet Thursday morning, Smith rocketed back to as high as -6,000 at some books. Paolo in turn leaped back to +1,000. But then Woj backtracked just over an hour before the draft, and in the end, Paolo went No. 1.
With the sharps from earlier in the week proven right and the NBA’s most powerful reporter proven wrong, numerous sportsbooks took a bath as Banchero’s odds were repeatedly hammered. Some, like Phill Gray at Canada's Sports Interaction, got out before the bloodbath: “We took it off the board midday when the chaos ensued," he explained. "We had a big win on Banchero going No. 1, a small loss on No. 3, and basically broke even on the rest.”
For his part, Banchero was as surprised as anyone, and tears of joy followed him on his steps up to the dais, completing one of the most unlikely paths to the No. 1 pick in recent memory.
Pistons acquire both Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren
After shipping out Jerami Grant on Wednesday, Detroit didn’t slow down on the day of the draft. Troy Weaver & Co. had to be thrilled that Jaden Ivey slipped past the Sacramento Kings at four, where he had been the odds-on favorite (-200) in the moments leading up to the draft. Ivey is a dynamic rim-attacking two-guard that figures to be the perfect backcourt partner for franchise cornerstone Cade Cunningham.
A NEW STAR JOINS CADE CUNNINGHAM IN THE MOTOR CITY ????— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 24, 2022
The Pistons take Jaden Ivey with the fifth overall pick! pic.twitter.com/0QOnaWfVsx
Reportedly, the Pistons were in talks with the Knicks to trade Ivey in order to acquire big man Jalen Duren of the Memphis Tigers, but in the end the Pistons executed a deal that saw them land Duren without relinquishing Ivey or any significant asset. Ivey now joins Duren and Cade to form one of the most exciting cores in the NBA next season.
The Knicks puzzling night
The New York Knicks reportedly tried hard to swing a deal for Ivey, but even though that failed, they didn’t stand pat. When it came to their turn at No. 11, it was something of a shock that they selected Ousmane Dieng of the New Zealand Breakers. That shock turned to confusion when the Knicks executed a series of trades, sending Dieng to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kemba Walker, and Jalen Duren to the Pistons, and picks in all directions.
The sum total of what the Knicks did was pretty confusing, and many fans and analysts were left scratching their heads as the details were slowly being hammered out by reporters. The best summary was provided by Tim Bontemps of ESPN:
What the Knicks did tonight:— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 24, 2022
NYK trades 11th pick to OKC
OKC trades 3 firsts (23 DEN, DET, WASH) to NYK
NYK then trades 23 DEN, 4 seconds to CHA for 13th pick
NYK then trade 13th pick & Kemba Walker to DET for MKE's 25 first
NYK trades 11, Kemba, 4 2nds & gets 3 future 1sts
Even if their overall return on their draft night trades was solid, burning a first-round pick to dump Walker’s small expiring salary seems short-sighted. More troubling perhaps is that the reported reasoning is so they can clear enough cap space to sign Jalen Brunson away from the Dallas Mavericks. Brunson is a good player, but not an All-Star (let alone All-NBA) caliber guy. Trading a first-round pick for the mere right to potentially overpay a non-star is disturbingly similar to how previous Knicks regimes have behaved.
Philadelphia trades for De'Anthony Melton
In one of the more out-of-left-field trades of the evening, Daryl Morey struck a deal to acquire De'Anthony Melton from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for the 23rd overall pick and Danny Green. Green’s series of lower-body injuries suffered in the playoffs might see him miss the rest of the next season, so this move was all about Memphis selecting Colorado State's David Roddy and the 76ers adding Melton.
Philadelphia is trading the No. 23 pick to Memphis for DeAnthony Melton, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2022
Melton had trouble sticking in Taylor Jenkins’ rotation, but some advanced stat profiles believe he’s a significantly better player than he’s had the chance to show so far. He’s the combination of defensive playmaker and 3-point shooter that the Sixers were so desperately missing these playoffs.
Portland acquires Detroit’s Jerami Grant
One of the more significant moves this week actually took place the day before the draft. After what seems like a year-long saga of trade speculation, Jerami Grant has finally been moved. The Detroit Pistons traded Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers for Milwaukee’s 2025 first round pick (which they then traded to the Knicks for Jalen Duren) and what amounts to moving up in a couple of second rounds on top of that.
That might not sound like much return for the Pistons, who have been shopping Grant for months, but because Portland is able to fit Grant into their trade exception created in the CJ McCollum trade, Detroit is now entering free agency with significant cap room. The Pistons now have a core of Cade, Ivey, and Duren, and will have north of $50 million in cap space to fill in the team around them this offseason.
For bettors looking at Deandre Ayton's next team (+175), the Pistons have more than enough space to throw a max at the Suns center, but with Duren on the roster, it’s unclear why they would. A team like the Spurs (+900) or the Pacers (+800) seems like better value with Duren in the fold.
Portland, meanwhile, continues to retool around Damian Lillard and managed to do so without giving up all that much. Grant was over-cast as a No. 1 option (and perhaps even a No. 2), but as a big wing defender who can spot-up and do some on-ball work, he’s a superlative match next to all-offense Lillard.