Lakers make move as trade chaos tipped for ‘wild’ NBA draft after No. 1 confusion – LIVE

American college star Jabari Smith Jr. is strongly tipped to be picked as the Orlando Magic’s top pick when the 2022 NBA Draft takes place on Friday [AEST]†

Smith, 19, who excelled for the Auburn University Tigers during his only season as a college player this year, has emerged as the bookmaker’s favorite to be picked first in Thursday’s annual battle for the best collegiate talent .

The six-foot power forward impressed the Tigers in a college season in which he averaged 16.9 points per game along with 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists.

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“He’s going to be a lottery picker!” † 06:08

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The teen has a rare combination of size and shooting feel, with deadly accuracy from three-point range and an athleticism likely to make him a defensive asset to any team that eventually recruits him.

There were suggestions Thursday afternoon that Paolo Banchero could instead be selected first and that the Houston Rockets could move to No. 1.

That came after Banchero faltered in favoritism in the betting markets to be taken with the first overall pick, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday morning that the order in which the top three prospects will be listed is “increasingly fixed”.

Smith’s biggest rival for the No. 1 pick is expected to be Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga University, who stands an imposing 2,80 m tall.

The 20-year-old Bulldogs star also offers a combination of elite ball handling and footwork and is also an accomplished shot blocker. Holmgren was averaging 14.1 points per game with 9.9 rebounds for Gonzaga.

If Orlando Holmgren doesn’t pick with first pick, he will almost certainly go to the Oklahoma City Thunder with second pick.

James Jones, an assistant coach for the US team at last year’s Under-19 World Cup in which Holmgren played, describes him as a “Kevin Durant-type player.”

“He has a great instinct. He’s the kind of guy who can do several different things,” Jones told AFP.

“He’s not one kind of player, he can do many different things, very versatile.

“As a kid, leader, hard worker, great person, very friendly, very outgoing and very committed to becoming the best basketball player he can.”

“He’s kind of like Kevin Durant’s player in terms of his skill level, to be able to do some of those things. He is clearly not Kevin Durant. But he has that skill, a similar set of skills.”


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Other talent at the top of Thursday’s draft includes Paolo Banchero of Duke University, who is tipped by the Houston Rockets with the third pick.

Jaden Ivey, who averaged 17.3 points per game for Purdue, could also be high in the draft, with the Sacramento Kings looming as a possible destination for the 20-year-old.

From an Australian perspective, all eyes will be on Dyson Daniels, who is projected as a top-10 slot in Friday’s draft.

The Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans are considered a great opportunity to draft the Australia, although both can be traded in as well, adding an extra element of intrigue.

In draft daily news, the Los Angeles Lakers have made a move to acquire the Magic’s 35th pick, who will receive a future second-round pick and money in return.

The Lakers have made seven second-round draft picks in the past decade, with Talen Horton-Tucker being the only one currently on their team.

That is expected to be just the first of many trades on a chaotic draw day.

“Many transactions,” Wojnarowski continued ESPNs Draft Preview when prompted for a bold prediction.

“Listen, commerce is the new free agency this time of year. You see fewer and fewer players with an impact going to free agency. They sign extensions, and then they go to the transfer portal when they want out and ask for an exchange.”

The Ringers Chris Vernon predicted in the latest episode of ‘The Mismatch’ podcast that this is going to be a ‘wild’ draft.

You can follow all the latest developments from the ‘wild’ draft below!

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