Smith, Holmgren and Banchero: the NBA looks for its new stars in the draft

Only a week has passed since the Golden State Warriors champions were proclaimed and the NBA is already looking to the future with a draft which will be held this Thursday and in which three names sound very strong: Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn), Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga) and Paolo Banchero (Duke).

The Barclays Center in New Yorkwhere the Brooklyn Nets play their games, will host this Thursday from 8:00 p.m. local time (24:00 GMT) a draft in which the Orlando Magic have the coveted first pick.

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The first 15 to choose were decided in the traditional lottery.

The second pick in the 2022 draft will go to the Oklahoma City Thunderthe third position will correspond to the Houston Rockets and fourth place will be held by the Sacramento Kings.

Detroit Pistons (fifth pick), Indiana Pacers (sixth), Portland Trail Blazers (seventh), New Orleans Pelicans (eighth, via Los Angeles Lakers), San Antonio Spurs (ninth), Washington Wizards (10th), New York Knicks (11th ), Oklahoma City Thunder (twelfth, via Los Angeles Clippers), Charlotte Hornets (thirteenth) and Cleveland Cavaliers (fourteenth) complete the order of the first positions.

The 2022 draft is running as a key moment for rebuilding Orlandowhich was the worst team in the Eastern Conference last season with a dismal record of 22-60.

In addition, the Magic have not qualified for the playoffs in the last two years, they have only played in the playoffs twice in the last ten years and they have not passed the first round since the 2009-2010 season.

This is the fourth time the Magic have had the first pick in the draft. In the previous three they selected Shaquille O’Neal (1992), Chris Webber (1993, but was traded to the Golden State Warriors) and Dwight Howard (2004).


for weeks, three names are the ones that have stood out above the rest of the young promises to lead this draft.

In the first place of the predictions of ESPN and of the majority of specialized media appears the forward Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn), that if he were chosen by the Magic he would be the successor of Cade Cunningham (Detroit Pistons), who was the number one pick in the 2021 draft.

At 6-foot-2 and 19 years old, Smith is considered the best shooter of the class of 2022 and in his only season in college basketball he has boasted versatility and scoring appetite achieving 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds on average per game with a fabulous 42% shooting from the triple.

Everything indicates that the Thunder, a franchise that has spent years accumulating draft picks and promises for the future disdaining the present, will choose Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga), no doubt one of the most unique players of the draft in recent times.

His physique is striking (2.13 tall, more than 2.25 wingspan and less than 90 kilos in weight), but this 20-year-old center has fallen in love with the scouts of the NBA for his combination of defensive intimidation (average 3.7 blocks per game), attacking talent (both inside and on the perimeter) and uncanny agility despite his size.

With averages of 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, Holmgren was key for Gonzagawho entered the NCAA’s March Madness as number 1 in the ranking but ended up falling in the round of 16 (a round also called the ‘sweet sixteen’).

Finally, the Houston Rockets seem to have their eyes on paolo bancheroof Italian roots and 19 years old who comes with the always prestigious Duke Seal, with whom he played this season’s Final Four in legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski’s ‘last dance’ before his retirement.

no longer Christian Wood in their ranks, the Rockets could get a lot out of this powerful and athletic forward who averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in his only college basketball year.

In the fourth position it sounds Jaden Ivey (Purdue) for the Sacramento Kings although nights like Thursday always bring surprises and unexpected transfers between the franchises, which makes the draft one of the most exciting days in the NBA despite the fact that there is nothing at stake on the court.

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