August 14, 2022

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As NBA groups finalize their boards forward of Thursday evening’s NBA draft, sources have advised...

As NBA groups finalize their boards forward of Thursday evening’s NBA draft, sources have advised ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the order of the highest three picks is “more and more agency,” with Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. going to the Orlando Magic at No. 1, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder at No. 2, and Duke’s Paolo Banchero to the Houston Rockets at No. 3.

The 6-foot-10 Smith labored out with the Magic earlier this month and was the consensus betting favourite to be chosen first total as of Wednesday evening. Magic president Jeff Weltman indicated Monday that the group was nonetheless undecided on its plan for the draft, saying “it’s nonetheless early within the course of.”

Smith admitted he was “nervous” heading into his exercise with the Magic however mentioned it was “enjoyable to get out right here and push myself and get by way of it.”

Smith, 19, averaged 16.9 factors and seven.4 rebounds in his lone season at Auburn, capturing 43% from the sphere and 42% from 3-point vary. In opposition to groups that have been ranked within the Related Press prime 25 when dealing with Auburn, Smith averaged 20.8 factors and 6.4 rebounds.

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The 7-foot Holmgren additionally met with the Magic final week and praised the franchise, saying the group is led by “nice folks.”

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That is the fourth time that Orlando can be making the No. 1 choose. The Magic took Shaquille O’Neal with the highest choice in 1992. Chris Webber was the No. 1 choose by Orlando in 1993, and he obtained traded that very same evening for Penny Hardaway and a package deal of future picks that have been finally become Vince Carter and, later, Mike Miller. And in 2004, the Magic chosen Dwight Howard with the primary choose.

The No. 1 choose Thursday will be a part of a younger core in Orlando that already contains 2017 prime choose Markelle Fultz, a pair of top-eight picks from the 2021 draft in Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony — the No. 15 choose within the 2020 draft.

Banchero, who helped lead Duke to the Remaining 4 in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season, surged previous Smith to emerge Thursday morning because the consensus betting favourite for the No. 1 choose, earlier than sportsbooks eliminated odds from their boards.

Smith’s odds had improved to -275 as of Wednesday earlier than being handed by Banchero, who was listed by Caesars Sportsbook at -200 to be chosen first total. Smith was the second-favorite at +140 at Caesars, whereas Holmgren was +1,100 on Thursday, earlier than sportsbooks started taking odds off the board.

“It’s the weirdest draft market I believe I’ve ever booked,” Fenstermaker, a veteran Nevada bookmaker, advised ESPN’s David Purdum on Wednesday.

Since Sunday afternoon, there had been extra bets on Banchero to be the highest choose than there had been on every other NBA market supplied at Caesars Sportsbook. On-line sportsbook PointsBet additionally reported a surge of betting curiosity on Banchero to go No. 1.

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ESPN’s David Purdum and The Related Press contributed to this report.

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