Report: Smith, Holmgren, Banchero expected to be top 3 picks in draft
The Orlando Magic are expected to take Auburn forward Jabari Smith with the first pick in Thursday's NBA draft, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
With the second pick, the Oklahoma City Thunder are reportedly eyeing Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren, while the Houston Rockets are targeting Duke forward Paolo Banchero with the third selection.
"I'll be surprised if I'm not taken No. 1," Smith said to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. "It's just my competitive nature mixed with my unselfishness and my ability to just shoot the ball, defend multiple positions, and care about winning. I don't care about stats. I feel I can help any team right away. But I feel I'm the No. 1 pick."
Smith averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 points, two assists, 1.1 steals, and a block in his lone season with Auburn.
The Magic hold the first pick in the draft for the fourth time in their history. In 1992, they used their first-ever top pick to select Shaquille O'Neal. The following year, they selected Chris Webber first overall before trading him to the Golden State Warriors for Penny Hardaway. The duo led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 1995.
Dwight Howard, Orlando's No. 1 overall selection in 2004, played eight seasons with the franchise, leading it to the Finals in 2009 and winning three consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards from 2009-11.
Holmgren recorded 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.7 blocks, and 1.9 assists per game in his freshman season with Gonzaga.
This is the Thunder's highest draft position since 2007 when they picked former MVP Kevin Durant with the second selection.
Banchero averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.1 steals in his first season with Duke.
Houston will pick in the lottery for the second straight season after taking Jalen Green second overall last year. Green made the All-Rookie first team after averaging 17.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 67 games.
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