Monday, June 27, 2022

2022 NBA Mock Draft: Auburn’s Jabari Smith is new top pick by Magic, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren slips to No. 2

2022 NBA Mock Draft: Auburn's Jabari Smith is new top pick by Magic, Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren slips to No. 2

A new No. 1 emerges as intel rolls in, but Holmgren doesn’t fall far in Kyle Boone’s latest NBA Mock Draft

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At long last, the 2022 NBA Draft process is beginning to give us clarity. With the draft order for every pick officially finalized and the NBA Draft Combine in the rearview mirror, how next month’s draft may look like is starting to take shape. Now’s when we start making projections and start taking into account team need, fit and intel about which team may or may not favor specific prospects.

Now’s when the real fun begins.

Our latest mock draft projections for every first-round pick takes all of that into account and features a new No. 1 for the first time this year. The new No. 1 in my mock draft is Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr., who has consistently been a top-four player on the mock draft all year and a top-three player on the Big Board. Smith bumps Gonzaga 7-foot center Chet Holmgren to the Thunder at No. 2.  Early guesses are the Magic favor Smith’s sharpshooting safety over Holmgren, whose upside comes with some risk given his skinny frame.

This Orlando front office is the same one that picked Giannis Antetokounmpo and Mo Bamba, I should add, so the idea of passing on First Team All-Wingspan in Holmgren is something I’ll have to see to believe. But if they do indeed favor Smith over him, as is reflected below, Holmgren won’t fall far. With the Oklahoma City Thunder securing the No. 2 overall pick and in dire need of frontcourt help, he goes to the Thunder at second overall. 

Both big men in some order are destined to go No. 1 or No. 2 in some order in this draft based upon betting odds and early intel. If Orlando goes with Smith, OKC picks Holmgren. If the Magic go with Holmgren, the Thunder pick Smith. For now, we’re operating under the assumption the former transpires. 

Here’s how the rest of the first round as such may follow. 

Eye On College Basketball

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