The Magic hold the keys to the draft with the No. 1 pick, and are said to be doing their due diligence on three possibilities — Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren, Auburn power forward Jabari Smith and Duke center Paolo Banchero.
While it remains a mystery who the Magic will take, rival teams expect them to go with Smith, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN. At least, they do with the draft still about a month away.
Clearly, Orlando could go in any direction, as there is no clear-cut favorite for No. 1. But one thing we do know is that for the first time in a long time, the draft is supposed to consist of three straight bigs in the first three picks.
That’s a lot different for an NBA that has become focused on wing players and guards.
As an aside, NBA execs believe that after Smith, Holmgren will be selected No. 2 overall by the Thunder, Givony noted, leaving Banchero at No. 3 for the Rockets.
Of course, this is all guesswork by rival execs. Just last week, a report surfaced that the Magic were leaning toward taking Holmgren.
And there’s Banchero, who believes he should be No. 1.
“I feel like I’m the No. 1 pick in the draft just because I’m the best overall player,” Banchero said on ESPN, via Eurohoops. “I feel like I check all the boxes. Whether that is being a great teammate, being able to be a star player, or doing whatever the coach needs.”
Whatever the case may be, it appears this draft is wide open, and it will all start with what Orlando decides.