Rivalry Ramps Up: Contenders for 2022 NBA Draft #1 Pick – Smith, Holmgren, Banchero

A Pair of Freshmen Big Men Lead the Way in the 2022 NBA Draft

Jabari Smith: The Versatile Freshman from Auburn

In this year’s NBA Draft, all eyes are on the talented freshmen big men who have emerged as the top contenders for the number one pick. Leading the pack is Jabari Smith, a versatile forward from the Auburn Tigers. With his impressive skills and performance, Smith has become the betting favorite to secure the coveted first pick, with odds of +100 or even money. Standing at 6-foot-10, Smith’s agility, scoring ability, and defensive prowess make him a formidable force on the court.

Smith’s exceptional season at Auburn has only added to his appeal as the potential top pick in the draft. Averaging 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, Smith has showcased his ability to dominate both inside and outside. Notably, he boasts an impressive 42% shooting accuracy from behind the arc, proving his versatility as a scorer. His ability to guard multiple positions, from traditional big men to smaller guards on the perimeter, gives him a significant advantage and solidifies his position as a top prospect.

Despite a disappointing performance in a March Madness game against Miami, where he struggled with his shooting, Smith’s overall impact on the court cannot be overlooked. Even though he scored only 10 points on 3-for-16 shooting (including a 1-for-8 performance from three-point range), Smith exhibited his resilience by grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking three shots in the game. This display of determination amid adversity further highlights his potential to become a game-changer in the NBA.

Smith’s basketball journey can be traced back to his roots in Georgia, where he developed a passion for both football and basketball. Although his father, Jabari Smith Sr., had a successful basketball career, Smith Jr. initially ventured into football as well. Eventually, his towering height made basketball a more suitable path, leading him to follow in his father’s footsteps. Jabari Smith Sr., a former LSU player who played professionally in various leagues, including stints in Iran, Turkey, and Spain, has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in shaping his son’s basketball skills and ambition.

Chet Holmgren: The Towering Freshman from Gonzaga

Chet Holmgren, a remarkable 7-foot-1 freshman from Gonzaga, is another formidable contender for the top pick in the draft. Known for his towering presence and exceptional shot-blocking ability, Holmgren has emerged as a force to be reckoned with during his time at Gonzaga. With odds of +160, he stands as a strong competitor against Jabari Smith for the number one spot.

Holmgren’s impact on the court goes far beyond his towering height. Despite his slender build, weighing around 190 pounds, he possesses remarkable agility, guard-like skills, and a natural ability to block shots. His offensive prowess is evident in his 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, along with an impressive shooting percentage of 60.7%. Additionally, his ability to shoot from beyond the arc, with a 39% success rate, adds another layer of versatility to his game.

Critics argue that Holmgren’s slender frame may pose challenges, particularly when facing stronger opponents in the NBA. However, Holmgren has shown tremendous resilience and has never backed down from physical play. Even when faced with aggressive opponents, he has held his own and continuously showcased his skill set. With some added muscle and improvements in his free-throw shooting, Holmgren has the potential to carve out a successful career in the NBA.

While Holmgren ranks second in the odds for the number one pick, he may benefit from another year of college to further develop his physicality before making the leap to the NBA. As impressive as his skills are, he may need additional time to bulk up and prepare for the challenges that come with playing against more physically dominant opponents.

Paolo Banchero: The Dynamic Freshman Star from Duke

Another freshman making waves in the 2022 NBA Draft is Paolo Banchero, a 6-foot-10 forward from Duke University. Banchero possesses a unique combination of size, skill, and versatility that places him among the top contenders for the number one pick. Although his odds have slipped slightly to +300, he remains a highly regarded prospect.

Banchero’s performance on the court has drawn comparisons to NBA star Jayson Tatum, showcasing his exceptional talent and potential. With an average of 17.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game, he has played a pivotal role in Duke’s success. Despite his impressive scoring ability, Banchero’s versatility allows him to excel in multiple positions. His playmaking skills, along with his intelligent decision-making, make him an asset on both ends of the court.

One particular game that highlighted Banchero’s skill set was his outstanding performance against Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 of March Madness. He exhibited clutch scoring abilities and contributed 22 points to help lead Duke to victory. Scouts and fans alike have been captivated by his ability to excel in various roles, from isolation play to being a point forward. Banchero’s prowess in the pick-and-roll, combined with his ability to set screens and shoot proficiently from long range, offers teams a versatile offensive weapon.

While Banchero faces stiff competition from his fellow freshmen, he has undoubtedly left a strong impression on NBA scouts. Despite slightly longer odds, his skill set, versatility, and strong performances throughout the season make him a noteworthy prospect in the upcoming draft.

2022 NBA Draft #1 Pick Odds

Here are the current odds for the top contenders to become the number one pick in the 2022 NBA Draft:

– Jabari Smith: +100
– Chet Holmgren: +160
– Paolo Banchero: +300
– Jaden Ivey: +2500
– Keegan Murray: +10000
– Johnny Davis: +20000
– Jalen Duren: +20000
– Benedict Mathurin: +20000
– Shaedon Sharpe: +20000
– Tyty Washington: +25000
– Ochai Agbaji: +35000

Please note that these odds are subject to change as the draft approaches and the performances of the prospects continue to unfold.

Keegan Murray: The Sophomore Forward Making Waves

Among the standout players in this year’s draft is Keegan Murray, a sophomore forward from the University of Iowa. Known for his scoring ability, Murray recently declared for the NBA Draft after an impressive season in the Big Ten conference. While he is projected as a top-five pick, his odds of +10000 to secure the number one spot suggest that he faces tough competition from the dominant freshman class.

Despite not being the frontrunner for the top pick, Murray’s performance throughout the season has drawn attention from scouts and fans alike. As the leading scorer in the Big Ten, he has showcased his offensive prowess and ability to carry a team. However, his odds reflect the significant gap in perception between the freshmen prospects and more experienced players like himself. Nevertheless, Murray’s impressive skills and potential hint at a promising future in the NBA.

Predicting the Top Selection

With the NBA Draft lottery yet to take place, the final order of selection remains unknown. However, based on the current odds and analysis of the prospects, it is clear that freshmen players dominate the conversation for the top pick.

Jabari Smith, as the betting favorite, has showcased his versatility and ability to impact the game on both ends of the court. His size, shooting ability, and defensive skills make him an enticing prospect for any team in need of a dominant forward.

Chet Holmgren, despite his slender build, has displayed exceptional shot-blocking ability and offensive versatility. While he may benefit from further physical development, his unique skill set has impressed scouts and garnered considerable attention.

Paolo Banchero, with his size and guard-like skills, has showcased his ability to contribute on multiple fronts. His scoring, playmaking ability, and versatility make him an intriguing prospect for teams looking for a versatile forward.

Ultimately, the outcome of the draft will depend on the preferences of the teams and their evaluations of the prospects. As the draft approaches and more information surfaces, it will be interesting to see how the rankings may shift.


The 2022 NBA Draft holds much excitement and anticipation as several talented freshmen prospects vie for the coveted number one pick. Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero have emerged as the frontrunners, each showcasing unique skill sets and potential. While Smith currently holds the edge in the odds, the final decision will ultimately depend on the evaluations and preferences of the NBA teams. As the draft approaches, fans, scouts, and analysts eagerly await the unveiling of the next generation of NBA stars.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How are the odds determined for the NBA Draft picks?

The odds for the NBA Draft picks are determined by various factors, including a player’s performance throughout the season, evaluations by scouts, and projections by experts. Bookmakers also consider public sentiment and betting patterns when setting the odds.

2. How does the NBA Draft lottery work?

The NBA Draft lottery determines the order of selection for the teams that did not make the playoffs.

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Doug I. Jones

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