The NBA Draft order is set. Let's break down the potential landing spots for Jabari Smith.
The Orlando Magic won Tuesday night's NBA Draft lottery, meaning they'll get the first shot at either selecting or passing on the 6-foot-10 phenom from Auburn.
Jabari Smith (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Heading into Tuesday night’s NBA Draft lottery, the talk all across the basketball world was that the race for the No. 1 overall pick would ultimately come down to which specific team won the selection.
Depending on who you trust, the top prospects in the 2022 draft are Auburn forward Jabari Smith, Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren, Duke wing Paolo Banchero and Purdue guard Jaden Ivey. Smith and Holmgren have gotten the most consistent buzz for No. 1 overall. The Vegas odds lean toward Smith right now, but some more recent money has gone toward Ivey.
And while it’s true that who goes No. 1 will depend on which franchise won the lottery — there isn’t a clear-cut, can’t-miss top prospect in this class, so to speak — it’s also true that it didn’t truly matter who got it for Smith.
He fits every team. That’s what happens when you’re 6-foot-10, arguably the best pure shooter in the draft class and posted impressive defensive and rebounding numbers for the outright SEC champions.
Tuesday night’s lottery drawing ended with the Orlando Magic landing the No. 1 overall pick, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Houston Rockets, the Sacramento Kings and the Detroit Pistons.
It’s extremely unlikely, if not completely impossible, for Smith to fall outside of those top five picks. There could be some blockbuster trades and a changing of the pecking order, but even if teams had ultra-specific reasons to prefer Holmgren, Banchero and Ivey over Smith, sliding down to No. 5 would be absolutely stunning.
With that in mind, for today’s newsletter, let’s take a closer look at the five most likely landing spots for Smith following the NBA Draft lottery. (If a trade changes up the top five, we’ll come back and edit this.)
For Auburn fans who will want to watch Smith in the league, adopt a new team or just simply hope for the best for a generational Tiger, this breakdown will go through what you need to know about the teams, the needs, the fits and the chances of selection in the race to land Smith.