ORLANDO- One of the most anticipated days on the NBA calendar is fast approaching.
In just over two weeks, a new pool of young talent will enter the league through the 2022 NBA Draft, taking place on Thursday, June 23. With them will come excitement and anticipation from fan bases across the Federation.
While no one can predict exactly how the draft will pan out, we do know that it all starts with the Orlando Magic holding the coveted #1 overall pick and setting the tone for the night.
Magic’s President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman and his staff have worked tirelessly, not just since they received the first overall pick during the draft lottery, but over the years have gathered information and information to help them become a to make full picture of each view in the draft pool.
Over the past few weeks, they’ve interviewed and hosted practice sessions for players with draft projections up and down the board as they prepare for a year of holding overall #1, 32, and 35 picks.
With some of those workouts yet to happen, it’s hard to imagine Orlando’s front office set their first overall pick in stone, but that didn’t stop us from scouring the internet and taking a look at what the media was poking fun at have the magic.
Check out what they say:
The Athlete: Jabari Smith – “Smith is my favorite candidate in the class because he has the combination of skills that are most in demand in the current NBA. He’s an elite shooter, having made 42 percent of 3’s in 2021-22 while possessing enough athleticism and shot creation ability to get to his pull-up jumper. I see him as an efficient scorer with 20+ points per game and a versatile defender who can switch positions.” – Sam Vecenie | Continue reading
Bleacher Report: Jabari Smith – “The magic could be drawn in three different directions on this design. This front office has an affinity for length – see his previous picks from Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba – which makes it hard to overlook Chet Holmgren. This offense, the league’s only attack without a 17-point scorer, needs a focus, which could be an argument for Paolo Banchero. And yet, Jabari Smith seems like the most likely pick here. – Zach Buckley | Continue reading
CBS Sports: Chet Holmgren – “I understand the concerns about Holmgren’s lean build – but he’s such a unique talent that I’d be uncomfortable passing on a 7ft legitimate rim guard who can also bounce him like a guard and reliably do 3-pointers. He is the top talented prospect in this design and should be selected as such.” – Gary Parish | Continue reading
ESPN: Jabari Smith – “Most NBA teams assume that Smith will end up hearing his name here because it fits both the front office philosophy and the coaching staff, which is what they expect from a potential client. He’s also a great fit for a Magic team that’s struggled to distribute ground effectively over the past season. Smith was arguably the most dynamic shooter in college, converting 42% of his 3-pointers despite standing 6-foot-10. -Jonathan Giveny | Continue reading
FOX Sports: Jabari Smith – “He’s not the player ready to help you the most right now, but five years from now the 6ft 10 Smith could be fielding Chris Bosh numbers in Orlando. Magic’s front office under John Hammond has prioritized length for the past several years (Jalen Suggs, Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac).” -Jason McIntyre | Continue reading
beginner wire: Chet Holmgren – “Orlando have often taken the best available player approach and that’s unlikely to change now. They value this prospect as having huge upside potential, which could point to Holmgren. He’s considered perhaps the player with the greatest potential for development under Paolo Banchero.” and Jabari Smith Jr.” – CodyTaylor | Continue reading
The Alarm Clock: Chet Holmgren – “From Giannis Antetokoumpo to Jonathan Isaac, John Hammond and Jeff Weltman have long histories of drafting long-running prospects that stretch back to their days running the Bucks. – Kevin O’Connor | Continue reading
SB Nation: Paolo Banchero – “Banchero has maintained his status as our top prospect since the start of this draft cycle due to his impressive combination of size and offensive ability. At 6’10 and 250 pounds, Banchero has the ball handling and live dribbling passing chokes of a multi-path guard to earn points for himself and his teammates.” – Ricky O’Donnell | Continue reading
SI: Jabari Smith – “Making the first overall pick in this year’s draft is a must for the Orlando Magic, especially since they already have a lot of talented, youthful personalities on their roster. Adding a player like Jabari Smith Jr. who not only has star and potential on both ends of the floor, but also fills an instant scoring gap down the wing is something Magic needs to consider. – Brett Seal | Continue reading
US today: Chet Holmgren – “Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren could play on the Magic with his former high school and AAU teammate Jalen Suggs. Despite being one of the most divisive candidates in this class for being so thin, there’s little doubt that Holmgren has an elite edge. With a wingspan of 7ft 6, he’s the length Orlando’s front office typically appreciates, and he’s a top-tier rim protector that can devour his opponents alive in color. He had little trouble hitting near the basket and he was also one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in the trailer transition.” – Bryan Kalbrosky | Continue reading
Yahoo! Sports: Jabari Smith “Smith is still the safest option at #1 and has done incredible interviews for teams at the top. He’s not the consensus top pick in the draft, but his advantage is incredible with his 3-point shooting (42% average from deep) and footwork in the paint.” -Krysten Peek | Continue reading