The Zags’ big man is the top pick in Gary Parrish’s first mock after Tuesday’s NBA Draft lottery
Losing a lot can actually be a good thing in the NBA. On Tuesday night, the Magic were reminded of this fact when the reward for their 22-60 record was a lucky break in the lottery that gave them the right to select first in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Who will Orlando take?
That remains undetermined and is worthy of debate. No matter what anybody tries to tell you, this is not 2003 (LeBron James) or 2012 (Anthony Davis) or 2019 (Zion Williamson), all of which were years when every franchise would have selected the same player with the first pick. In 2022, at least three players — Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith — could reasonably go No. 1, and I’m certain you can find mock drafts with each of them going No. 1. But me? I’ve developed into a Holmgren-believer over the past year and genuinely think the Magic should select him with the No. 1 pick and pair him with former high school teammate and fellow Gonzaga alum Jalen Suggs.
Yes, I know, the center position has never been less valued in the NBA. But awesome centers — like two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, for instance — are still awesome. And Holmgren really could be, and really should be, an awesome center at the NBA level given that he’s a 7-foot rim protector who is so skilled offensively that he can bounce it on the perimeter, play-make and reliably sink shots from the 3-point line. Is his skinny frame a concern? Sure. Nobody would suggest otherwise. But I just think it’s smarter to focus on what Holmgren is rather than obsess about his possible limitations, and if the Magic do that they’ll take this draft’s most-talented prospect with this draft’s first pick..