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NBA Draft 2022 Rumors: Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Top Choices for Magic at No. 1

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVMay 19, 2022

Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

Auburn's Jabari Smith and Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren are reportedly the clubhouse leaders to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick in June's NBA draft.

"This is the draft lottery of the power forwards and three very different players," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast. "We'll see how this shakes out, but certainly I think Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga and Jabari Smith of Auburn... I think the consensus right now is those are really the two players competing for No. 1 with the Magic."

The Orlando Magic won the No. 1 overall pick in the draft at Tuesday's lottery. This is the first time the Magic have won the lottery since 2004 when they selected Dwight Howard.

The team previously won the Shaquille O'Neal lottery in 1992 and then again a year later, which saw them select Chris Webber and then trade him as part of a deal for Penny Hardaway.

Holmgren spent most of the early part of the draft process as the consensus No. 1 pick but has been caught by Smith in many circles.

Smith emerged as one of the best shot-makers in the country during his freshman campaign at Auburn, all while showing elite versatility on the defensive end. His switchability on defense, combined with his range and smooth shooting stroke at 6'10", make him a near-ideal modern 4.

Holmgren arguably has the highest upside of any player in this class. He's a lanky 7-footer with excellent rim-protection skills, guard-like handles in the open court and the ability to stretch the floor with a three-point shot. That said, there are significant concerns about his lack of bulk, which impacts him as a finisher near the rim and against stronger bigs who can muscle him in the paint.

If Holmgren were guaranteed to add 35 pounds without losing any of his quickness and guard skills, he would be the No. 1 pick. Smith is a player with a more straightforward projection, and that could be attractive to a Magic team desperate to find a building-block talent for their rebuild. 

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