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Jabari Smith Still Betting Favorite to go Number One
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Jabari Smith Still Betting Favorite to go Number One

by Jacob UrishJune 9, 2022

With the NBA draft just 15 days away, the question of, “who’s going to be the top pick?” is more prevalent than usual. As of now, Auburn forward Jabari Smith is the favorite to go first overall to the Orlando Magic at -600 odds on FanDuel.

However, the draft class consisting of Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero, have all been picked to go number one, so it’s hard to know for sure who will have their name called first on June 23.

The Case for Jabari Smith

Jabari Smith Still Betting Favorite to go Number One

Smith has been the betting odds favorite to go No.1 almost right after the NBA draft lottery wrapped up, and for good reason.

Smith could bring a type of scoring to the Magic that frankly, they don’t have. At 6’11, Smith is one of, if not the greatest shooters in this class and that’s what the NBA has been predicated on for almost a decade.

Along with Smith’s elite shooting, his wingspan makes it increasingly difficult for players to drive by him. One aspect of Smith’s game that he will need to improve is his ability to get to the basket.

He tends to be stiff off the dribble, which could allow defenders to not honor his driving ability as much, but his size and shooting ability alone should be able to mask some of those problems.

The Case for Chet Holmgren

Jabari Smith Still Betting Favorite to go Number One

Since the establishment of the Orlando Magic franchise in 1989, they’ve had an All-Star caliber center every decade and Holmgren may be the guy to continue that trend.

Homgren would bring a defensive presence that they once thought Mo Bamba could bring. Homgren’s height of 7’0 and wingspan of 7’6, gives him the ability to cover more ground than most current NBA players.

The one hurdle in his way is Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. After acquiring Carter last spring in the trade that sent Nikola Vučević to the Bulls, Carter made leaps and bonds this year on both ends of the court.

With Carter clearly a building block for the Magic’s rebuild, Holmgren most likely won’t be headed to Orlando with the odds of that happening at +340

The Case for Paolo Banchero

Jabari Smith Still Betting Favorite to go Number One

This is the most unlikeliest scenario out of the three, with the odds of Banchero going No. 1 at +2600. However, Banchero offers something that the two other prospects can’t: isolation scoring.

Particularly in the midrange, Banchero feasts off one on one matchups, using his footwork to his advantage so he can get to his spot.

His isolation scoring would be a huge asset, but at times he relies on it too much which could stop the flow of an offense. He also has some work to do from three, as he’s been hesitant at times in catch and shoot positions, but he’s shown the potential that he can improve.

In the end, if the Magic are looking for a guy that can get you a bucket, then Banchero would be the guy that fits that mold.


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About The Author
Jacob Urish