The end of the college basketball season will see many eyes cast their way towards the 2022 NBA Draft.
One of those is BetOnline, who have released odds considering each of the top three contenders. It seems pretty unanimous that either one of Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr., Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren or Duke’s Paolo Ranchero will be taken with the first overall pick.
Anything outside of that trio would come as a pretty significant shock given that no other player has really threatened to break into the top three during the course of the season. The order of picks one, two and three has changed regularly in the eyes of many and the outcome of the draft lottery could well be the decisive factor.
At the time of writing, the teams with the worst six record in the NBA are the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers, all of whom are jockeying for position to give themselves the best possible chance of a high draft pick. No team has managed to tank as successfully as Indiana or Portland of late, who have both lost each of their last eight games in the NBA regular season.
All will be waiting with bated breath to see how the fate of the lottery plays out. Each of the 14 lottery teams have the following odds to get the number one pick:
- Team 1 > 14.0%
- Team 2 > 14.0%
- Team 3 >14.0%
- Team 4 > 11.5%
- Team 5 > 11.5%
- Team 6 > 9.0%
- Team 7 > 7.5%
- Team 8 > 4.5%
- Team 9 > 4.5%
- Team 10 > 4.5%
- Team 11 > 1.8%
- Team 12 > 1.7%
- Team 13 > 1.0%
- Team 14 > 0.5%
As for the actual odds of who goes first, BetOnline has ranked the top three contenders like so:
Jabari Smith Jr. -110
Despite most of the talk being between Chet and Paolo at the start of the year, Jabari Smith Jr.’s performances over the course of the season have led to him being the favourite to go first in this year’s draft. The 6 ft 10 in forward has had a stellar year at Auburn, averaging 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in 34 games. Arguably the most attractive statistic Smith has put up is shooting 42% from three-point range, with the mechanical consistency in his jumpsuit being particularly rare for a player who is still just 18-years-old. He would make a terrific compliment to Detroit Pistons point guard Cade Cunningham and fans in the Motor City will be praying to get back-to-back number one picks in successive drafts to pair those two together.
Chet Holmgren +160
Chet Holmgren is one of the most difficult prospects to assess coming out of college in some time. He has excellent feel for the game and is a terrific passer, although his lack of physical strength and size as a big man ultimately means he is likely to be a work in progress coming into the professional game. On the face of it, he has a much lower floor than the more NBA-ready talents that Jabari and Paolo look to be, but it could be argued that his ceiling could well exceed the other two options. Should one of the franchises who believe in his potential land the first pick in the draft lottery, he could well jump ahead of Smith and be taken first.
Paolo Banchero +300
The chances of Paolo Banchero going first in this draft look to have faded are to be believed. Banchero was the talk of this year’s draft class at the start of the season as the lead player at Duke, but there some inconsistent performances have left some to cool off of him going first. A terrific natural talent, Banchero is incredibly smooth as a player, but questions surrounding the consistency of his jumpshot and his concentration on defense have been held against him. Still, there is no doubt that this is a gem of a talent and in the right situation could be nurtured into a perennial All-Star level player. There is plenty of intrigue surrounding all three of these players, although there is the feeling that there is a drop off from 2021 draft class that has produced immediate talents such as Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Scottie Barnes, Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga and Josh Giddey, among others.