NEW YORK — After months of hypothesis, Duke’s Paolo Banchero was a shock choice by the Orlando Magic with the highest total choose within the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday evening.
Gonzaga middle Chet Holmgren was taken second by the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder, and Auburn ahead Jabari Smith Jr. went No. 3 total to the Houston Rockets.
Within the weeks main as much as the draft, Smith had been extensively anticipated to land the highest choice. However the Magic turned issues the other way up by taking Banchero, who sported a brilliant purple swimsuit with sequins, together with even brighter sneakers, as he took to the stage and shook palms with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
The 6-foot-10 ahead from Duke averaged 17.2 factors, 7.8 rebounds and three.2 assists per recreation throughout 39 video games for the Blue Devils, who reached the Closing 4 earlier than shedding to their without end rivals in North Carolina. Banchero, who is likely to be probably the most NBA-ready prospect on this draft, will now be regarded to because the anchor of Orlando’s nascent rebuild, which incorporates guards Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony, forwards Franz Wagner and Jonathan Isaac and middle Wendell Carter Jr.
Whereas Banchero was a shock in going first off the board, Holmgren was all the time anticipated to go to Oklahoma Metropolis with the second choose. A 7-footer from Gonzaga, Holmgren flashed a big selection of expertise in his lone season in faculty, averaging 41.1 factors on 60 % capturing total and 39 % from 3-point vary whereas grabbing 9.9 rebounds and blocking 3.7 pictures in 26.9 minutes throughout 32 video games.
Oklahoma Metropolis, which entered the evening with a second lottery choice (twelfth total) and with a number of firsts in every of the following a number of drafts, now has an inside anchor to go together with its promising younger backcourt of rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Australian Josh Giddey, the sixth total choose in final yr’s draft and a primary workforce All-Rookie choice.
From there, Houston took Smith, the sweet-shooting 6-foot-10 ahead from Auburn who averaged 16.9 factors and seven.4 rebounds whereas capturing 42 % from behind the 3-point arc.
After drafting Jalen Inexperienced, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher and Usman Garuba within the first spherical of final yr’s draft, the Rockets — who additionally entered the night with the seventeenth choice — continued their rebuild within the wake of shifting on from franchise icon James Harden at the beginning of the 2021-22 season by choosing Smith.