- Date & Location: Thursday, June 23 @ Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY
- Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
- How to Watch: ABC (1st round only), ESPN (1st and 2nd round)
The 2021-22 NCAA Basketball season came to a close in April with the Kansas Jayhawks emerging as the NCAAB champions with a 72-69 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. The 2022 NBA Championship race is also over. The hunt for the 2022 NBA Title ended on Thursday, June 16 when the Golden State Warriors claimed their fourth championship in eight years, defeating the Boston Celtics 4-2 in the seven-game series.
With NCAA and NBA basketball court contests on pause, attention turns to the 2022 NBA Draft. The draft takes place Thursday, June 23 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The first five teams selecting in the 2022 NBA draft — in order — are the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and the Detroit Pistons.
Before we look at the top prospects to emerge as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, check out the best odds for the 2022 NBA draft and current betting sites and odds for the upcoming NBA season.
Odds to be first pick in 2022 NBA draft
|1st Overall Pick 2022 NBA Draft|
In January, the race for the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft was a contest between Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero. At that time, Jabari Smith was a distant +1800 according to the odds. With the draft fast approaching, Smith is favored over Holmgren and Banchero to go to the Orlando Magic with the No. 1 overall pick.
The 19-year-old played one year for Auburn. A forward, Smith stands 6-foot-10 and weight 220 pounds. With that frame, he should be able to withstand the NBA game with no problem. Smith averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Tigers while shooting 42.9 percent from the field. He also connected on 42 percent of his 3-point shots. Smith also has good skills on the defensive side of the court.
Smith was a huge part of Auburn’s 19-game winning streak during the 2022 NCAAB season and his overall play helped the team achieve the No. 1 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll for the first team in the history of the Auburn Tigers.
Smith is projected to be a two-way star in the NBA and that upside is what makes him the favorite to go first in the 2022 NBA draft.
There were some concerns about Chet Holmgren at the start of the 2022 NCAAB season. Holmgren checks in at 7-feet tall, but his weight of 195 pounds had some worried that he wouldn’t be able to handle the more physical play of the NBA. Those concerns lessened with Holmgren’s play throughout the season, but the concerns did not evaporate.
Holmgren, who starred as a freshman for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, is 20 years old. The lanky center finished his first and only college season with 14.1 points per game, 9.9 rebounds, 3.7 blocks and 0.8 steals. He hit 60.7 percent of his field goals and 39 percent of his 3-pointers.
Holmgren is a good defensive player and his ability to shoot from the outside make him appealing in the current NBA landscape. However, unlike Smith, he is going to have to prove he can handle the physical rigors of the NBA game. I expect him to get tested in that regard early in the season.
In November, Paolo Banchero was the favorite to be the first pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. He slowly slipped from that position as the NCAAB season wore on. He did not fall far. The 6-foot-10 Banchero helped Duke to make it to the Final Four during March Madness. He averaged 17.2 points per game and connected on 47.8 percent of his field goal attempts while hitting 33.8 percent of his 3-pointers. Banchero added 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.9 blocks and 1.1 steals per game for Duke.
What stood out about the now 19-year-old Banchero as the season progressed was his ability to pass the ball. While Banchero can score from anywhere on the court, his ability to add assists and help the overall offense of his team will make him an appealing pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. He should be able to contribute to whatever team selects him in the draft right away. The expectation is that he will develop into an All-Star caliber NBA player.
Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero are both complete players right now. Chet Holmgren needs to answer questions about his ability to deal with the physical rigors of the NBA schedule and style of play. With that being said, Smith is the most complete player in the 2022 NBA draft and he will go first.
Pick: Jabari Smith to go first overall to the Orlando Magic in the 2022 NBA Draft.
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