One week ago, oddsmakers at Caesars Sportsbook listed Auburn's Jabari Smith as a heavy -430 favorite to be the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23 by the Orlando Magic. However, the book has since taken heavy action on Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren to where both he and Smith are now priced at -115 to be the top pick.
The CBS Sports Big Board actually lists Purdue guard Jaden Ivey as the No. 1 overall prospect in the class but he's not going first, currently priced +15000. Holmgren is listed as the No. 2 prospect, Duke's Paolo Banchero (+600) third and Smith fourth.
Orlando's front office has shown a penchant to favor length, and the 7-foot-1 Holmgren has a 7-foot-6 wingspan. Jeff Weltman's first pick as Magic president of basketball operations back in 2017 was a similar type of player in Jonathan Isaac, who has shown flashes of excellence but also been injury-prone. He didn't play at all this past season and appeared in only 34 games in 2019-20. Isaac recently had surgery to repair a right hamstring injury suffered while he was rehabbing from the torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee. The Magic took another lengthy player in Mo Bamba at No. 6 overall in 2018, and he hasn't lived up to expectations.
If there's one knock on Holmgren it's that he's a string bean (he reportedly only weighs 195 pounds) and will definitely have to bulk up or risk being the next Shawn Bradley. Offensively, Holmgren is different from other 7-footers in the league because he can handle the ball like a guard. If Orlando picks him with the No. 1 overall pick, Holmgren would be reunited with his high school and AAU teammate Jalen Suggs, the No. 5 overall pick last year out of Gonzaga.
Holmgren was considered the No. 1 overall prospect out of high school and Smith was No. 2. Smith is the best shooting big man in this draft class and hit 42 percent of his 3-pointers last season, leading the SEC in 3-point field-goal percentage.
No player from Gonzaga or Auburn has gone first overall in the draft. Holmgren is the -150 favorite to be chosen No. 2 overall by Oklahoma City with Smith at +110.
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