Two Player Race For First Overall Pick in 2022 NBA Draft

A few weeks into the 2021-22 NCAA Division I men’s basketball season, there were two young men favored to be selected with the first pick in the 2022 NBA entry draft. Those players were Duke’s Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren.

In the early stages of the season, Banchero was a clear favorite to be picked first overall. With a good portion of the season in the rearview mirror, Holmgren is now the favorite for the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft.

Before we look at the players who could go first during the 2022 NBA Draft, make sure to check the best NCAA basketball betting sites and what teams are the best bets to win in NBA sportsbooks.

Odds to be first pick in 2022 NBA draft

To Be Drafted 1st in 2022Bovada
Chet Holmgren-105
Paolo Banchero+105
Jaden Hardy+700
Caleb Houstan+1100
Peyton Watson+1600
Jabari Smith+1800
Patrick Baldwin Jr.+2000
AJ Griffin+2000
Jaden Ivey+2000
Nikola Jovic+2000

Chet Holmgren is the new favorite

In November, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren was listed at +105 to go first overall in the 2022 NBA entry draft. There were — and still are some concerns about Holmgren’s frame and his ability to play in the NBA, but those worries seem to not be as substantial as they were before the season. Holmgren is 7-feet tall and he weighs 190 pounds. However, Holmgren has impressed in his play with the Bulldogs, who are the No. 2 ranked team according to the most recent AP poll. Holmgren has averaged 13.6 points per game with 8.5 rebounds and 3.4 blocks for Gonzaga.

If an NBA team wants a big man who can play well on defense, Holmgren is a strong candidate.

Chet Holmgren TO GO FIRST IN 2022 NBA DRAFT
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Paolo Banchero slips

Duke’s Paolo Banchero was the -105 favorite to go first in the 2022 NBA draft in November. He has slipped a bit to +105, but he could still be the first pick depending on the wants of the team with the first overall selection.

Banchero leads the Blue Devils, who are the No. 9 team in the latest AP poll, in scoring with 17.9 points per game and 7.9 rebounds.

Banchero is six-foot-10 and 250 pounds, so he shouldn’t have any issues with playing a physical game in the NBA. The one thing that might hold Banchero back is his passing and his lack of assists. His 2.7 assists per game puts him fourth among Duke players. NBA teams will want to see that number improve.

Paolo Banchero TO GO FIRST IN 2022 NBA DRAFT
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Jaden Hardy holds

In November, Jaden Hardy was the only NCAA player outside Banchero and Holmgren who is under +1000 to go first in the 2022 NBA Draft. He is still the only player under +1000 not named Banchero or Holmgren. The 6-foot-4-inch 19-year-old did not go the NCAA route. Instead, he is playing in the NBA G League where he has averaged 17.7 points per game with a field goal percentage of 35.1 percent.

The G League saw two players taken in the first 10 picks of the 2021 NBA Draft with Jalen Green going at No. 2 and Jonathan Kuminga going at No. 7.

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Our Pick

This largely depends on what a team is looking for. If the club who wins the 2022 NBA draft lottery wants defense first, then they will probably go with Holmgren. If the team is looking for a potential offensive star, then Banchero will be the likely pick.

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Trent Reinsmith

Trent covers UFC and MMA for MTS. He has written for USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively among others. He has been involved with MMA since he and some friends threw some money together to purchase the pay-per-view of UFC 1, and the rest is history.

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