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Evaluating who could be top pick in NBA Draft after lottery

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Auburn forward Jabari Smith is the odds-on favorite to be the top pick in the NBA Draft.

Winning moments are more distant memories for the Orlando Magic, but securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft might be a reversal of fortunes for the franchise.

Orlando won the draft lottery on Tuesday night and begins preparation for the June 23 draft knowing the Magic can add anyone in a coveted prospect pool.

The Magic drafted two lottery picks in 2021, point guard Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga, fifth overall) and forward Franz Wagner (Michigan, eighth overall). Adding another elite prospect would bring promise and hope for a franchise without a playoff series win since 2010.

Orlando last picked first in 2004 and selected a high school project named Dwight Howard.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons round out the top five picks with the Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans (from the Los Angeles Lakers), San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards in the top 10.

Who are the players expected to be in play for the Magic? FrontPageBets provides answers.

(Odds courtesy of DraftKings.)

Jabari Smith, Auburn (-125 to be No. 1 overall pick)

Smith could fit right in with the core in Orlando and brings the NBA-ready game to be a two-way star because of his massive wingspan and skill with the ball in his hands. Orlando could be tempted by a more conventional big, and the game of Gonzaga 7-footer Chet Holmgren figures to be enticing for any general manager at the top of the draft. Smith’s range, hops and room to add weight without losing explosiveness push him to the top of the board.

Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga (+150 to be No. 1 overall pick)

Holmgren moves with enough suddenness to be a defensive force in the paint. He’s not ready to bang with under-the-rim hulks at power forward but that type of game rarely plays in today’s NBA anyway. For those concerned Holmgren needs a 10,000-calorie diet to hold up physically, he has no injury history and cares more about team than his own video clips. A pure shooter, he might never be Dirk Nowitzki, but a more athletic version is nothing to scoff at.

Paolo Banchero, Duke (+450 to be No. 1 overall pick)

Maybe the Duke primetime TV current opened the door to more scrutiny for Banchero than others, but at 6-10 he can shoot and has the feet to play out of the high or low post when called upon. His nose for the ball means rebounding and end-game situations aren’t too big for the former No. 1 overall recruit. If he gets past the third overall pick, it would be an upset.

Jaden Ivey, Purdue (+4000 to be No. 1 overall pick)

An Ivey-Suggs backcourt of the future would be incredibly dynamic on the surface, but Ivey was at his best with the ball in his hands at Purdue. He’s likely to be more of a lead guard or sixth man in the NBA but the plus here is on-ball defense because of Ivey’s length. Not a great deep shooter – yet – but a gamer with the win on the line.

Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky (+5000 to be No. 1 overall pick)

He’s a sleeper only to those unfamiliar with this game, and after the headlines begin rolling out of the NBA Scouting Combine this week that could all change in a blink. A creator with explosive leaping ability and a polished jump shot, Sharpe didn’t play this season at Kentucky but has been compared to John Wall.


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