2022 NBA Draft Futures: Will Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren or Paolo Banchero Go No. 1?

Updated June 30, 2022
Updated June 30, 2022By Dan Favale
Who will be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft?
The No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA draft may no longer be a mystery.

With the 2022 Finals now firmly in the rear view, the best sites for NBA betting will squarely shift their focus to offseason lines. And the first big event on the calendar will be the 2022 NBA Draft futures.

This year’s prospect pageant will be taking place on Thursday, June 23. And in advance of the draft, everyone is wondering who the Orlando Magic will take with the No. 1 pick. Their choice ostensibly comes down to the three players: Jabari Smith of Auburn, Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga, and Paolo Banchero of Duke.

While mock drafts and big boards around the internet have slotted the three big men in all different orders, a clear favorite has emerged among the trio when looking at the betting odds on who will go No. 1 in the 2022 NBA draft:

Who Will Go No. 1?Bovada
Jabari Smith-500
Chet Holmgren+300
Paolo Banchero+1400

Coming out of the 2022 March Madness Tournament, it was thought the first-overall prospect would be a toss-up between any one of the aforementioned three. And yet, the above odds make it seem like Jabari Smith is the no-brainer favorite. Is that accurate? That’s what we’re here to figure out.

But first, with a little ways to go before the 2022 NBA Draft actually gets underway, you’ll want to double-check these basketball betting lines for any last-minute changes. And if you need to find a sportsbook to use for 2022 NBA Draft betting, you needn’t go any further. We have everything from reviews of the best online betting sites in the United States to the top betting sites for BitCoin users.

How Jabari Smith Jr. Came to be the 2022 NBA Draft Favorite

Jabari Smith Jr. (-500) has become a heavy favorite in recent weeks because multiple reports have cited the Magic remain locked in on selecting him. Orlando needs an infusion of offensive talent, and Smith is the most polished offensive player among the top-three prospects. He can attack off the dribble, finish through contact, drain spot-up jumpers and hit off-the-bounce shots. There is some serious playmaking potential, at both the 4 and 5 spots, as well.

Still, the Magic’s roster situation complicates matters. They already have two cornerstone bigs in Jonathan Isaac and Wendell Carter Jr. Smith. Smith has the offensive range to play with either, but it isn’t clear whether all three can play at the same time.

Many experts are also concerned that Smith won’t be able to hold up on switches in the NBA long term. And knowing how much Orlando’s front office has historically prioritized versatility on that end, his limitations could theoretically be a deal-breaker.

Jabari SmithTo be selected No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft
-500
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Don’t Discount Chet Holmgren Going No. 1

Draft nerds seem to really want the Magic to select Chet Holmgren (+300). We understand where they’re coming from.

Despite being a big man in size, Holmgren is billed as a transcendent and positionless defender—someone who can terrorize opponents around the rim and anchor a system as the backline protector but who will also hold up guarding ball-handlers and smaller players on the perimeter. That type of talent is rare. It is even rarer when partnered with a tantalizing offensive package.

Most view Holmgren as a career center, which would make him an awkward fit with Carter. But he’s not some plodding big.

Holmgren should be able to defend centers, power forwards, small forwards, and even some guards. He also has three-point range on offense, so while playing next to Carter would preclude him from being the primary screener and roller for stretches, the Magic wouldn’t have to worry about cramping their floor balance.

Chet HolmgrenTo be selected No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft
+300
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Can Paolo Banchero Convince Orlando Magic to Take Him in 2022 NBA Draft?

Paolo Banchero (+1400) has been considered an afterthought option for the Magic. We’re not sure why.

Perhaps it’s because many don’t believe he’ll be able to hold up defensively at the 5, which ostensibly means he could be a one-position player. We don’t buy it. Banchero has the mobility to help out around the rim. If he gets stronger, he will be able to tussle with larger 5s.

And even if he doesn’t, Banchero won’t be limited to playing just the 4. He has the offensive ball-handling skills and off-the-dribble shot-making of a wing. And knowing just how badly the Magic need self-starters on the offensive end, he’s worth a second and third look if they’re not already in love with him.

Paolo BancheroTo be selected No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft
+1400
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2022 NBA Draft Prediction: So…Who Goes No. 1?

Jabari Smith Jr. feels like the right call here in the end.

Mind you, we’re basing this on what we think will happen, not what should happen. Banchero feels like the best fit for the Magic among these three bigs.

But the NBA draft isn’t about fit when you’re selecting this high. You’re supposed to go best player available. And truthfully, that would be Chet Holmgren. We just aren’t sure whether the Magic trust his offense relative to their current roster.

Jabari seems to straddle the line between drafting for fit and talent. He is extremely plug-and-play at the offensive end, but his ball skills are potentially glitzy enough to be the primary on a really good team—so glitzy, in fact, they overshadow his defensive concerns. Coupled with the overwhelming amount of reporting that says the Magic have zeroed in on him, it doesn’t make sense to roll with Holmgren or Banchero right now.

SBS Prediction: Jabari Smith (-500)

Jabari SmithTo be selected No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft
-500
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About the Author

Dan Favale
Dan Favale

Dan is a versatile sports betting writer who can address a wide range of topics, from presidential elections to changes in federal and state sports betting legislation. He is also an NFL expert and regularly provides insightful picks and analysis for the league. With his extensive knowledge and experience, Dan is well-equipped to tackle any subject related to sports betting and keep his readers informed and up-to-date.

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