NEW YORK – After months of speculation, Duke’s Paulo Panchero was a surprise pick by the Orlando Magic with the overall top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Thursday night at Barclays Center.
Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren was taken second by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. No gone. Third place overall for the Houston Rockets.
In the weeks leading up to the draft, Smith was widely expected to receive the top pick. But The Magic turned things on its head by taking Banchero, who was dressed in a bright purple suit with sequins, along with brighter shoes, as he took to the stage and shook hands with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“I had a feeling, from the information I was told, that he was kind of up in the air,” Banchero told ESPN. Orlando wasn’t sure yet, just let’s be ready for anything.
“I didn’t find out, however, that I was actually picked until about 20 seconds before the commissioner came up on stage. I didn’t even have time to think about it or anything. It kind of happened. I can’t believe it, but I’m ready. I’m ready. “
Among the top five inductees were Iowa forward Keegan Murray, who went to the Sacramento Kings with the fourth pick, and Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, who was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in fifth.
The 6-foot-10 striker averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game across 39 games for the Blue Devils who reached the Final Four before losing to their forever rivals in North Carolina. Banchero, who may be the most prepared NBA player in this draft, will now be seen as the anchor for Orlando’s nascent rebuilding process, which includes guards Galen Suggs and Cole Anthony, forwards Franz Wagner and Jonathan Isaac and quarterback Wendell Carter Jr.
While Banchero was a surprise at No. 1, Holmgren was always expected to go to Oklahoma City with the second pick. The 7-foot-tall Holmgren offered a wide range of skills in his only season in college, averaging 14.1 points on 60 percent of shooting overall and 39 percent of his 3-point range while collecting 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 saves in 26.9 minutes. Over 32 games.
Oklahoma City. Now she has an in-house announcer in line with her promising young district for rising star Shay Gilgus Alexander and Australian Josh Gedi, a sixth overall pick in last year’s draft and a first-team junior pick.
Smith, a sweet 6-foot-10 forward, averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 42 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
After drafting Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher and Usman Garuba in the first round of last year’s draft, the Rockets – who also entered the evening with the 17th pick – continued to rebuild following a move from franchise icon James Harden at the start of the 2021-22 season by picking Smith .
Murray had a second season at Iowa State, averaging 23.5 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 55.4 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from a 3-point range. He will now join the Kings as they attempt to end a 16-year drought and rearrange themselves around goalkeeper De’Aaron Fox and big man Domantas Sabonis under new coach Mike Brown.
Ivey, who has said publicly that going to Sacramento wouldn’t be the “worst” thing to happen to him, would put him on last year’s top pick, Kid Cunningham, in the Pistons backcountry. Like Murray, Ivey had an outstanding second season, averaging 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists at Purdue while boasting impressive athletic performance and straight-line speed.
Also Thursday evening, Arizona’s Benedict Mathurin went sixth to the Indiana Pacers, and the Portland Trail Blazers took Kentucky’s Shydon Sharpe in number six. No. 7 and Dyson Daniels of G League Ignite went no. 8 to the New Orleans Pelicans.