NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Paolo Banchero thinks he could be the No. 1 pick. Jabari Smith Jr is sure that he will not go after the second innings. Chet Holmgren would be happy with someone.
First-year players are considered among the top three available for the NBA draft. In what order they are chosen remains to be seen.
The Orlando Magic will determine who will be drafted first on Thursday. He would then have the right to choose the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.
Smith, who led Auburn to an unprecedented No. 1 ranking, says he has a slight edge but is impressed by the other two candidates.
“I think I’m right, simply because of my ability to hit both ends of the floor and my ability to shoot and turn things at a young age,” Smith said. “That’s why I think I’m No. 1. Those guys were amazing to watch the whole season, how selfless they are and what a contribution they have made to their teams.”
Assuming that everyone is selected in the first three places, the mystery will begin in the following selections.
The Sacramento Kings have fourth, with last season’s Rookie of the Year, Toronto forward Scotty Barnes. They could have players like Purdue guard Jaden Ivey or Iowa forward Keegan Murray. It is not clear which route the kings will take – or even if they will draft or trade their place.
Whatever the Kings do, Magic will be on top for the fourth time. They have done well with tall men, picking Shaquille O’Neill and Dwight Howard first. If they decide to repeat that path, either Smith or Holmgren could be chosen.
less than normal
This year’s draft will have 58 picks, not the usual 60. The Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat lost their second-round picks due to their early involvement in free-agent talks.
Kentucky had six players drafted in 2012 and 2015, the most by a school since 1989. Mike Krzyzewski, who recently retired as coach at Duke, believes the roster he parted with could have picked up five draft picks in the first round. Banchero will be joined by Mark Williams, AJ Griffin, Wendell Moore and Trevor Kielce.
Australian Dyson Daniels and Canadian Benedict Mathurin, who played with Arizona, could become the second and third NBA Academy graduates to be selected. Australian Josh Giddy was sixth for the Thunder last season and was selected in the rookie second team.