Who Will Land the Coveted #1 Spot in the 2022 NBA Draft: Analyzing the Odds for Jabari Smith vs Chet Holmgren

The 2022 NBA Draft: A Look at the Potential #1 Pick

The Orlando Magic’s Fortunate Lottery Win

The Orlando Magic experienced a stroke of luck when they secured the coveted #1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. This marks the fourth time in the franchise’s history that they have been awarded the top pick. Previously, the Magic selected basketball legends Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, and Dwight Howard with this prestigious opportunity.

The Top Contenders for the #1 Pick

The current betting favorite at DraftKings for the #1 pick is Jabari Smith from Auburn, with odds of -125. Smith, a phenomenal freshman sensation, has captured the attention of scouts and fans alike with his outstanding skills on the court. With an impressive average of 17.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, Smith has established himself as a top prospect. His ability to shoot with a remarkable 43.6% accuracy from beyond the arc has drawn comparisons to NBA players like Harrison Barnes and Michael Porter Jr.

Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga is another strong contender for the top pick, with odds of +150. Holmgren, standing at an impressive height of 7 feet, displayed his prowess during his freshman season with an average of 14.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 3.6 blocked shots per game. Despite his lean frame, scouts have recognized his potential and labeled him the “Mini Unicorn,” likening him to the likes of Kristaps Porzingis.

The Battle Between the Magic and the Thunder

As the Magic mull over their decision for the #1 pick, there is an intriguing question lingering in the minds of fans in central Florida – will they select Jabari Smith or Chet Holmgren? Both players possess immense talent and undoubtedly have a bright future ahead of them in the NBA. The Oklahoma City Thunder, who secured the #2 pick, will have a straightforward choice: selecting the player that the Magic do not choose. However, if Duke star Paolo Banchero enters the mix, the Thunder will be faced with yet another decision.

Blue Bloods: Other Key Prospects

Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin from Duke

Duke University has established itself as a powerhouse for developing top basketball talent. This year, they boast two exceptional players – Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin. Banchero, tall at 6 feet 10 inches, has been dubbed the “Italian Jayson Tatum” by my brother during Duke’s impressive run in the 2022 March Madness tournament. With remarkable averages of 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, Banchero has drawn comparisons to esteemed players like Chris Webber and Julius Randle. Similarly, Griffin has caught the attention of scouts, who see glimpses of Jaylen Brown and Jimmy Butler in his playing style.

Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe and Tyty Washington

Known as “One and Done U,” the University of Kentucky continues its tradition of producing top-tier prospects. Shaedon Sharpe, a 6-foot-6 guard, stands out as a unique case. Despite not playing a single game for Kentucky, he has decided to declare for the 2022 NBA Draft, displaying his confidence in his abilities. Tyty Washington, a 6-foot-3 guard, has already demonstrated his skills on the court, with an average of 12.2 points and 4.1 assists per game as a freshman. Washington draws comparisons to former UK-star Immanuel Quickley, who currently plays for the New York Knicks.

Seniors with Strong Potential: Ochai Agbaji from Kansas

Ochai Agbaji from the University of Kansas breaks the mold of “one and done” players by showcasing the talent and experience of a senior. Despite being relatively rare in today’s NBA draft landscape, Agbaji has impressed scouts with his performances. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged an impressive 19.8 points, shooting an astonishing 41.1% from beyond the arc. His consistent shooting and senior leadership make him an intriguing prospect for teams in the lottery.

Big Ten Sophs: Rising Stars

Jaden Ivey from Purdue

The Big Ten conference boasts a trio of outstanding sophomores who have captured the attention of NBA scouts. Jaden Ivey, a 6-foot-4 guard from Purdue, has shown incredible potential with his average of 17.2 points per game during his sophomore season. His ability to light up the scoreboard reminds viewers of Victor Oladipo, with some even comparing him to Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell. While Ivey is ranked fourth on the DraftKings board, his odds of +4000 to secure the #1 pick indicate that he is still considered a long shot.

Keegan Murray and Johnny Davis: Wisconsin’s Gems

Wisconsin is home to two impressive sophomore prospects in Keegan Murray and Johnny Davis. Standing at 6-foot-8, Murray has turned heads with his impressive average of 23.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game during his sophomore season at Iowa. Scouts have drawn comparisons between Murray and established NBA players such as TJ Warren, Al Horford, and Pascal Siakam. Meanwhile, Davis, a 6-foot-5 guard, has demonstrated his defensive tenacity and has often been likened to Khris Middleton.

Long Shots and International Talent

Exploring the G League and International Prospects

Turning our attention to the NBA developmental league, commonly known as the G League, we find a couple of players who are considered long shots for the #1 pick. Dyson Daniels, Marjon Beauchamp, and Jaden Hardey are all expected to be selected in the first round, but their chances of being chosen as the top pick remain slim. The G League often serves as a valuable stepping stone for players looking to showcase their skills on a professional level before entering the NBA draft.

Nikola Jovic: The Rising International Star

While international players are making a significant impact in the NBA, identifying rising talents from overseas remains a crucial aspect of the draft. One player to keep an eye on is Nikola Jovic, a British-born Serbian player whose odds of +80000 to secure the #1 pick may seem unlikely. However, Jovic’s rapid rise on mock draft lists and his recognition as the top international player by NBA general managers cannot be overlooked. Standing at 6 feet 10 inches, Jovic possesses guard skills coupled with an impressive growth spurt. Comparisons to Italy’s Danilo Gallinari highlight his potential as a future overseas superstar.


In the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic find themselves in a fortunate position with the #1 pick. The decision between top contenders Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren presents an exciting challenge. However, they must consider the possibility of a dark horse emerging, such as Paolo Banchero or another surprise selection. Alongside these prominent prospects, rising talents from colleges across the country, international players, and G League sensations are eager to secure their places in the NBA ranks.


1. When and where will the 2022 NBA Draft take place?

The 2022 NBA Draft is scheduled to take place on June 23 at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.

2. How many times has the Orlando Magic won the #1 pick?

The Magic have now won the #1 pick in the NBA Draft four times in their history.

3. Who are some notable players previously selected with the #1 pick by the Orlando Magic?


Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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