Monday, 24 Jun 2024

How the 2022 NBA Finals Rosters Were Built

The construction of championship rosters can take many forms. Some teams develop their players through the draft, while others rely on free agents to elevate their status. Trades can also play a significant role, as they allow teams to find players who may not have thrived elsewhere but fit perfectly into their championship puzzle.

In the case of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics, both teams have built their rosters with a similar approach. The core of each team was crafted through draft picks, a few key trades added additional talent, and any remaining gaps were filled through free agency.

What sets this Finals matchup apart is that the top three playoff scorers from both teams were all drafted by their respective teams. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole lead the Warriors, while Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart lead the Celtics. This is a rarity in Finals matchups, as it hasn’t happened in 24 years.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how each roster was built, starting with the Golden State Warriors.

Golden State Warriors

Draft (8 players)

The Golden State “Big Three” of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green were all drafted by the Warriors within a four-year span from 2009 to 2012. With these three picks, the Warriors acquired the greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history in Curry and Thompson, along with a unique playmaker and defensive guru in Green. This trio has developed an uncanny chemistry and is now playing in their sixth NBA Finals together.

After winning their first championship in 2015, the Warriors added Kevon Looney through the draft. Despite early career injuries, Looney has established himself as a key role player for the team, delivering standout performances in these playoffs.

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In recent years, the Warriors have continued to add young talent to complement their veteran core. Players like Jordan Poole (2019), James Wiseman (2020), Jonathan Kuminga (2021), and Moses Moody (2021) have joined the team through the draft.

Warriors’ draft picks:

  • Stephen Curry: 1st round (7th pick) of the 2009 Draft.
  • Klay Thompson: 1st round (11th pick) of the 2011 Draft.
  • Draymond Green: 2nd round (35th pick) of the 2012 Draft.
  • Kevon Looney: 1st round (30th pick) of the 2015 Draft.
  • Jordan Poole: 1st round (28th pick) of the 2019 Draft.
  • James Wiseman: 1st round (2nd pick) of the 2020 Draft.
  • Jonathan Kuminga: 1st round (7th pick) of the 2021 Draft.
  • Moses Moody: 1st round (14th pick) of the 2021 Draft.

Trade (1)

Following Kevin Durant’s departure in free agency after the 2019 NBA Finals, the Warriors completed a trade with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire D’Angelo Russell. However, Russell did not fit well with the team’s dynamic, and the Warriors subsequently traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins and a future first-round pick. Wiggins, the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, has thrived since joining the Warriors and earned his first All-Star nod as a starter in 2022.

Warriors’ trade acquisition:

  • Andrew Wiggins: Acquired in a trade with Minnesota on February 6, 2020, in exchange for Jacob Evans, D’Angelo Russell, and Omari Spellman.

Free Agency (4)

The Warriors have also made key acquisitions through free agency to complement their roster. Andre Iguodala, a former Finals MVP, rejoined the team last summer after being part of their championship core. Other players signed in free agency include Nemanja Bjelica, Otto Porter Jr., and Gary Payton II.

Warriors’ free agent signings:

  • Nemanja Bjelica: Signed on August 6, 2021.
  • Otto Porter Jr.: Signed on August 6, 2021.
  • Andre Iguodala: Signed on August 10, 2021.
  • Gary Payton II: Signed on October 19, 2021.

Two-way deals (4)

Finally, the Warriors have utilized two-way contracts to secure additional talent. Players like Damion Lee, Juan Toscano Anderson, Chris Chiozza, and Quinndary Weatherspoon have contributed to the team’s success.

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Warriors’ two-way deals:

  • Damion Lee: Converted from a two-way contract to a regular contract on January 15, 2020.
  • Juan Toscano Anderson: Converted from a two-way contract to a regular contract on May 13, 2021.
  • Chris Chiozza: Signed a two-way contract on August 13, 2021.
  • Quinndary Weatherspoon: Signed a two-way contract on January 3, 2022.

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics, much like the Warriors, have built their core through the draft, but their journey started about five years later. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum were all drafted by the Celtics, forming one of the league’s top wing duos. These players have been the backbone of the team’s sustained success, with numerous deep playoff runs leading up to their first Finals appearance since 2010.

Let’s explore how the Celtics assembled their roster.

Draft (8 players)

The Celtics began their core building process with the selection of Marcus Smart in the 2014 NBA Draft. They continued to add key pieces through subsequent drafts, picking Jaylen Brown in 2016 and Jayson Tatum in 2017. These three players, along with Robert Williams and Grant Williams, have contributed significantly to the Celtics’ run to the Finals.

Celtics’ draft picks:

  • Marcus Smart: 1st round (6th pick) of the 2014 NBA Draft.
  • Jaylen Brown: 1st round (3rd pick) of the 2016 NBA Draft.
  • Jayson Tatum: 1st round (3rd pick) of the 2017 NBA Draft.
  • Robert Williams: 1st round (27th pick) of the 2018 NBA Draft.
  • Grant Williams: 1st round (22nd pick) of the 2019 NBA Draft.
  • Payton Pritchard: 1st round (26th pick) of the 2020 NBA Draft.
  • Aaron Nesmith: 1st round (14th pick) of the 2020 NBA Draft.

Trade (3)

The Celtics made several key trades to bolster their roster. They acquired Al Horford, who had previously played for the team, in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Daniel Theis returned to the Celtics through a trade deadline-day deal with the Houston Rockets. Additionally, Derrick White joined the team in a trade with the San Antonio Spurs.

Celtics’ trade acquisitions:

  • Al Horford: Acquired in a trade with Oklahoma City on June 18, 2021.
  • Daniel Theis: Acquired in a trade with Houston on February 10, 2022.
  • Derrick White: Acquired in a trade with San Antonio on February 10, 2022.
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Free Agency (4)

The Celtics have made strategic moves in free agency to enhance their roster. They signed Luke Kornet, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, and Juwan Morgan to provide additional depth and talent.

Celtics’ free agent signings:

  • Luke Kornet: Signed on February 11, 2022.
  • Nik Stauskas: Signed on March 4, 2022.
  • Malik Fitts: Signed on March 15, 2022.
  • Juwan Morgan: Signed on April 9, 2022.

Two-way deals (3)

To further strengthen their squad, the Celtics utilized two-way contracts. Players like Sam Hauser, Brodric Thomas, and Matt Ryan have made valuable contributions to the team’s success.

Celtics’ two-way deals:

  • Sam Hauser: Converted from a two-way contract to a regular contract on February 11, 2022.
  • Brodric Thomas: Signed a two-way contract on October 18, 2021.
  • Matt Ryan: Signed a two-way contract on February 28, 2022.

FAQs

How were the 2022 NBA Finals rosters built?

The 2022 NBA Finals rosters were built through a combination of draft picks, trades, free agency signings, and two-way contracts. Both the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics have relied on these methods to assemble their teams.

Summary

In summary, both the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics have crafted their rosters through careful and astute decision-making. The Warriors secured their core through draft picks, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green leading the way. They supplemented their roster with trades, such as acquiring Andrew Wiggins from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Free agency signings, like Andre Iguodala, have also played a significant role.

Similarly, the Celtics built their core through the draft, selecting players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Trades, including the acquisition of Al Horford, have further strengthened their roster. The Celtics have also made strategic free agency signings to bolster their team.

By employing different acquisition methods, both teams have cultivated talented and cohesive rosters, resulting in their appearances in the 2022 NBA Finals.