Soon the Orlando Magic will be on the clock. I have some prop designs for you. Here are some of my good recent drafts, in case you’re a little worried: I used those exact words to refer to Luka Doncic as ‘The Next Big Thing’. Also managed a 1-2-3 pick order parlay from Anthony Edwards-James Wiseman-LaMelo Ball in 2020. Somehow, the Brooklyn Nets, who design Pepperdine product Kessler Edwards, named in the second round last year. Do what you want with this information.
All odds courtesy of Barstool Sportsbook
Best value bets/predictions for picks 1-5
1. Orlando Magic – Chet Holmgren (+550) / Prediction: Jabari Smith (-435)
2. Oklahoma City Thunder – Paolo Banchero (+300) / Prediction: Chet Holmgren (-345)
3. Houston Rockets – Jaden Ivey (+550) / Prediction: Paolo Banchero (-335)
4. Sacramento Kings – Paolo Banchero (+1700) / Prediction: Jaden Ivey (-143)
5. Detroit Pistons – Benedict Mathurin (+140) / Prediction: Keegan Murray (+135)
Personally, I’d pick Chet overall if I had the power in Orlando, but the Magic have no idea what the heck they’re ever doing. As Reags reported earlier this week, the odds were starting to decline versus Auburn’s Jabari Smith as No. 1 overall. It’s gone now, and when the odds are that slim, it’s basically a safe bet. Despite the questionable state of her forecourt, it’s hard to imagine that Smith isn’t Orlando’s choice.
It’s too bad I didn’t post this earlier as my initial prediction for Holmgren on OKC was -149. Thunder GM Sam Presti is the ultimate galaxy brain dude, and I can’t imagine the amount of advanced analysis he goes through to conclude Chet is the man. OKC already has two playmakers in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, adding a potential permanent contender for Defensive Player of the Year in the wiry, 7-foot Holmgren. Again I would take him #1.
If I were the Rockets, I’d rather pick Jaden Ivey than hook my wagon to Kevin Porter Jr., but it seems everything points to Paolo Banchero being the pick. Rather than extending Porter in a year, Houston can have more cap flexibility and two legitimate perimeter cleats to build around in Ivey and Green since the former’s ceiling is higher than Porter’s anyway. Oh, don’t think that will happen.
Anyway, I just love the Kings. They always do shit that doesn’t make sense. Tricking yourself into an early deal with Tyrese Haliburton was the latest feat. Sacramento already has some leading guards in De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell. So what? Wouldn’t trust them to take Jaden Ivey with them.
How sick would a +1700 hit be though!?!? Such incredible value when all that theoretically needs to happen is for the prohibitive favorites to fall to 1-2 (Smith and Holmgren) this way and Houston simply overtakes Banchero. FYI: The Kings can act out of #4, making the Ivey pick make more sense for someone else.
Finally, after Jerami Grant was traded to Portland, Iowa’s Keegan Murray is the favorite for Detroit. That seems like the ideal move unless the Pistons want more perimeter scoring firepower alongside Cade Cunningham, which is entirely possible. Bennedict Mathurin (+140) is a definite possibility, but the better hedge flyer is Dyson Daniels at +1000.
Top plays for the over/under draft position market
I’ll be dating two prospects each from a couple of blue-blooded college basketball powerhouses.
Shaedon Sharpe under 7.5 (+147) – A few examples of one-and-done players with small sample sizes who had no problem playing in the NBA are Kyrie Irving and Darius Garland. The difference with Sharpe is him didn’t play along Everyone in Kentucky and chose to sit out the season to prepare for the pros. Some might see this as a red flag. I think his talent is too great to pass up. Before I knew ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was reporting that Portland was interested in Sharpe at No. 7, it seemed like a logical fit. He can play the 2 or the 3 and immediately step in as a capable sidekick alongside Damian Lillard. This is the clear area the Trail Blazers should be targeting after trading for Grant in the draft lottery. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported The Blazers could trade the seventh pick for Raptor’s wing OG Anunoby. I love how Sharpe would fit in Toronto too. Nick Nurse was able to get the best out of him.
AJ Griffin under 11.5 (+114) — Griffin’s game has a bit of a rush, making it difficult to contain. As he prepares to pull up that long jumper with unorthodox form, Griffin can suddenly knock you out of dribbling and either make the right pass off of it or finish closer to the edge. He can score from anywhere on the floor, has a high basketball IQ and a wingspan of 7ft, giving him immense defensive advantage and versatility. You’re telling me he could almost slip out of the lottery? I doubt it. Spurs at 9, Wizards at 10, or Knicks at 11 all seem like a good match for Griffin.
Mark Williams under 13.5 (+150) — I originally wanted Nikola Jovic Over 20.5 here at -114, but in less than two days his line rose to Over 22.5 at -167. So we’re going with the Duke Center instead. Williams has a wingspan of 7ft 7 and probably would have become more of an offensive force if Banchero wasn’t such a strong guy and the Blue Devils weren’t so stacked with scoring talent. I love the idea of Williams going to the Hornets in 13th overall to be an elite rim guard for them who can still walk the floor with LaMelo Ball and co and be a highly efficient paint scorer. Oh, and Williams is a damn good passer too.
TyTy Washington Jr over 19.5 (-124) — This was spiced up a little the other day by -114. I like Washington’s floor as a prospect, but his lack of dynamic inside-out scoring ability and mediocre athleticism by NBA standards lead me to believe he’ll be a power/second-unit guy. While he can work the ball off, I think he’s better suited as a pass first floor general, which is kind of a dying breed in the modern NBA.
Predictions for more exotic draft specials
International players selected in Round 1 (OU 2.5) — I mentioned Jovic… I think he hears his name in the top 30 picks. New Zealander Ousmane Dieng could go into the lottery. I would be stunned if he dropped into the second round. Aside from those two, I’m having a hard time seeing anyone get the nod, so let’s bottom at +115.
Number of Kansas players drafted in Round 1 (OU 1.5) — I’m not sure it will be a popular pick, but the reigning national champions should produce at least two first-rounders in Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun. You are awarded +105 odds for playing the over. Could also.
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