SMEDLEY: NBA Draft Lottery: For better or for worse?

Below are the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery results: 

1. Magic

2. Thunder

3. Rockets

4. Kings

5. Pistons

6. Pacers

7. Trail Blazers

8. Pelicans (via Lakers)

9. Spurs

10. Wizards

11. Knicks

12. Thunder (via Clippers)

13. Hornets

14. Cavaliers  

Kyle Smedley is a freshman journalism and telecommunications major and writes for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.

May 17, the Orlando Magic won the NBA Draft Lottery, meaning they will select first overall in the 2022 NBA Draft held June 23. However, the Magic went into the Draft Lottery with the second-worst record in the NBA. 

Instead of the worst team in the NBA according to record, the Houston Rockets, being able to select first in the draft, the Magic will hold that luxury for the fourth time in franchise history. The team to finish the season with the worst record hasn't selected first since 2018. 

Unlike the NFL, MLB and almost every other major sport, the NBA doesn’t have a set draft order the moment the postseason is over. Every year in those leagues, if a team finishes with the worst record, they will take their pick of the entire draft board first overall. 

Which way is better? 

In the NBA, the night of the Draft Lottery is an event. The selection show is watched by passionate fans of franchises in the bottom 14. 

These selection shows are entertaining and create content for content creators on YouTube and other platforms to create reaction videos and post-analysis. For example, New Orleans Pelicans fans rejoiced in 2019 when they won the right to the first overall pick after being slotted at seventh going into the night.

On the other hand, New York Knick fans felt cheated as they fell down to the third pick after finishing the regular season with the worst record in the league. With this Draft Lottery, how can fans expect their teams to get better over time if their franchise never is selected for the first pick?

The Houston Rockets had the worst record in the NBA for the past two seasons, yet they haven’t gotten the first pick either time. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the first pick three times in four years without finishing with the worst record in any of those three years. 

Should the worst team be “rewarded” with the first pick in the NFL or MLB or should every league adopt a system where the draft is determined at random through a lottery? There are two sides to this coin where either can be justified.

Personally, I like the way the NBA does their Draft Lottery, but ever so slightly. I don’t dislike the way other leagues set their draft order, but I can’t say I don’t enjoy following the lottery. 

Yes, this means many bad teams stay bad for a long, long time, however the same is true in all other sports. The Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars have both selected first overall in back-to-back drafts in the last decade and neither team has had much success over that period of time in the aftermath. 

Perhaps bad teams are destined to stay bad. The content created during the Draft Lottery is usually fun to consume, it draws in more attention for the NBA and these lower-tier teams, while better teams are being spotlighted during the playoffs. 

All being said, like it or not, the NBA Draft Lottery seems to be sticking around, for better or worse. The set order works for other leagues and they find ways to create content for themselves, but while the NBA struggles to make Kyle Smedley care about many things, the Draft Lottery will always generate curiosity from this journalist.

Contact Kyle Smedley with comments via email at or Twitter @smedley1932


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue

Loading Recent Classifieds...