The Orlando Magic are poised to take Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. The Oklahoma City Thunder would then take Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren at No. 2 overall, according to the report. Smith is currently -120 at DraftKings Sportsbook to go No. 1 overall.
Givony wrote “most NBA teams firmly believe … Smith is all but assured to become the top pick.” He also noted there is an “overwhelming expectation” that Holmgren will be the second overall pick to the Thunder. Both Smith and Holmgren are reportedly thrilled about their new homes.
Smith Jr. was ranked as our No. 7 overall prospect coming into the season, but quickly shot up draft boards because of his incredible outside shooting ability as his size. Smith’s path to greatness in the NBA starts with him being the best 6’10+ shooter in the league. Orlando already has some fascinating young pieces in place, with Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony, and Markelle Fultz in the backcourt, Franz Wagner on the wing, and Wendell Carter Jr. and restricted free agent Mohamed Bamba in the front court. There’s also defensive standout Jonathan Isaac who hasn’t played since the bubble due to injuries.
We recently wrote up our case for why the Magic should take Duke’s Paolo Banchero with the first overall pick. Read our full Banchero scouting report, as well. It now appears that Banchero will fall to the Houston Rockets with the No. 3 overall pick if they chose to select him.
Holmgren feels like an ideal fit with the Thunder. Oklahoma City already has two great young shot creators in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. The Thunder clearly value length, and Holmgren’s 7’6 wingspan and versatile skill set will fit right in with the front court. Holmgren is our No. 2 overall prospect in this class behind Banchero. Read our full breakdown of Holmgren’s game here.
Smith has been our No. 4 overall prospect behind Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, but there’s certainly a pathway for him to eventually produce top pick value. Smith needs to get better at scoring inside the arc after only shooting 43.5 percent on two-pointers at Auburn. He also needs to tighten his handle. Smith is at his best when he’s being set up to score rather than creating for himself. The big question for the Magic is who will be their lead shot creator, with Suggs, Wagner, and Fultz all having the opportunity to grab the reigns.
Read our instant mock draft after the lottery, that features mini scouting reports on every first round prospect. We will be covering this class all the way up until the draft on June 23 in Brooklyn.