Smith, Holmgren Leading List for NBA Draft Top 10 Prospects

Auburn's Jabari Smith Remains Favored for Top Pick in NBA Draft

Orlando Magic isn’t Tipping its Hand Heading into the NBA Draft

The Detroit Pistons went with Cade Cunningham with the first selection in the 2021 draft. There wasn’t a wrong decision for Detroit to make as the top four picks (Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, and Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes) all made significant impacts. Let’s take a look at the NBA draft top 10, 2022.

When looking at the NBA draft top 10 prospects this year, Auburn’s Jabari Smith continues to lead the way followed by Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren.

The NBA Draft will be held on June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. After Orlando, the rest of the top 10 picks are held by Oklahoma City, Houston, Sacramento, Detroit, Portland, New Orleans (from the Los Angeles Lakers), San Antonio, Washington, and New York.

Auburn’s Smith is Still the One

The odds of Smith going first to Orlando have moved slightly going from -275 to -250. He was at -175 when the deadline came for players with remaining eligibility to return to college.

Orlando has done its due diligence by bringing in Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero for visits. There could be a surprise come draft night, but it is looking more and more like the 6-foot-10 Smith could land in Orlando to play alongside last year’s lottery pick Jalen Suggs.

Orlando has some good young talent and Smith would provide some versatility in the frontcourt. He would make sense as the top option among the top 10 prospects in the NBA Draft.

Opinions Vary on Gonzaga’s Holmgren

There are some NBA Draft analysts who think the 7-foot Holmgren could have a higher ceiling than Smith. Others are concerned about how he will hold up physically in the NBA.

With Drew Timme at Gonzaga, Holmgren never got to show what we could do as the No. 1 offensive option during his only college season. The shot-blocking potential as well as the ability to score from the perimeter make Holmgren an intriguing option.

The odds of Holmgren going to Orlando with the first pick went from +170 to +145 in the last week. It is looking more likely that he lands in Oklahoma City with the No. 2 overall selection.

Banchero Still a Distant Third

Paolo Banchero is the latest Duke player ready to make the jump to the NBA. The odds have gone from +1400 to +850 for him to go first in the draft in the last week so perhaps he is making a late charge. It seems more likely that he goes to Houston with the third pick. With the Rockets trading away Christian Wood, there will be an immediate opportunity to play significant minutes as a rookie.

Being the third overall selection worked out pretty well for former Duke stars Jayson Tatum and R.J. Barrett. There were some rumblings about perhaps Purdue guard Jaden Ivey being a candidate in this spot when it comes to the NBA Draft results. It would be surprising to see Houston go that route now.

Ivey, Sharpe Likely Go Top Five

Not all the top prospects are 6-foot-10 or taller. Purdue’s 6-foot-4 Jaden Ivey and the 6-foot-5 Shaedon Sharpe, who enrolled at Kentucky but never appeared in a game for the Wildcats, are players thought to be the best perimeter scorers available in this draft.

Rumors have been heating up about teams looking to trade with Sacramento to move into the No. 4 spot so they can land Ivey. He certainly won’t have much of a wait on Thursday.

There’s a boom or a bust aura around Sharpe, who was the No. 1 rated player in his recruiting class. He didn’t have the ability to show what he could do against NCAA competition, however, his skill set is going to result in Sharpe not needing to wait very long to hear his name called.

Both Ivey and Sharpe come in at +1000 to be the top pick according to the NBA Draft odds.

A Logjam in Picks 6-8

The best thing about drafts is that players with such diverse skills can draw a similar amount of interest.

Duke’s A.J. Griffin, Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin, and Keegan Murray of Iowa all come in at +20000 to be the top selection. Their odds to go first overall haven’t moved in the last week. They are strong candidates to be selected within the top 10 picks in the 2022 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-6 Griffin was just the fifth-leading scorer for Duke and he struggled in a season-ending loss to rival North Carolina during the NCAA tournament.  His shooting numbers (49 percent from the field, 45 percent from 3-point range) were pretty solid and it is possible that he sneaks into the top five.

Mathurin is the second Canadian native on this list to join Sharpe. Mathurin, also 6-6, didn’t shoot the ball particularly well during the NCAA tournament. He did display the ability to get to the foul line en route to averaging 22.5 points during the NCAA tournament.

Speaking of scoring ability, the 6-foot-8 Murray scored at least 20 points in 14 of his last 16 games. Like Ivey, Murray made impressive strides from his freshman to sophomore season and is now set to be a lottery pick and perhaps even land in the top 10.

Davis and Duren Round Out Top 10

It could be a memorable night for the Big Ten with three of the top 10 prospects coming out of that conference.

Davis, who was Wisconsin’s leading scorer, is another top draft prospect who had a difficult NCAA tournament. He was 12 of 36 from the field, including 4 of 17 from 3-point range in the two games. The film of his 37-point explosion against Purdue is proof that he can score against elite competition.

The 6-foot-11 Duren was a highly touted recruit who had some ups and downs in his lone season at Memphis. His ability to score in the lane and block shots could translate well to the next level.

No matter who you love, the one certainty is that bettors are going crazy with this years NBA Draft Top 10 possibilities; this draft is going to be a good one.

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