Jabari Smith remains the betting-market favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft — and he might actually become the first pick. We’ll see later this month. But there’s still been no definitive reporting that states Orlando is 100% settled on the former Auburn star. So I’m keeping Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren at the top of this mock draft (for now) based on the idea that I genuinely believe he should be — not necessarily that he will be, but that he should be — the first player off the board.
I just believe in his upside.
Is the body a concern? Sure, I guess.
But the body didn’t prevent Holmgren from being the top-ranked high school player in his class. And it didn’t prevent him from being a top-shelf freshman for a team that was the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. So I’m going to trust that the body also won’t prevent him from being a future NBA All-Star thanks to an incredibly unique skill set that allows him to rim-protect on defense and shot-create on offense. Even most NBA Draft analysts who have Smith projected to go ahead of Holmgren acknowledge they believe Holmgren is the biggest-upside prospect available. I agree with them on that point. And that’s why, ultimately, I’ll still be a little surprised if the Magic pass on Holmgren when it comes time to announce a pick on June 23.