After a wild 24 hours in the betting markets, things have apparently settled and Jabari Smith now seems destined to be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. I do not believe it’s what I would do if I were running Orlando’s franchise because I’d likely take a big swing on Chet Holmgren, i.e., the prospect I think has the highest upside in this draft. But that doesn’t mean taking Smith is ridiculous and/or destined to be a mistake. There’s a lot to like there and, at worst, it’s hard to imagine him being anything other than a switchable forward and high-level shooter who produces in the NBA for more than a decade, health permitting.
I like him a lot.
But, yeah, I’m still more of a believer in Holmgren actually becoming the star from this draft because of his unique skill-set that most have faith in but some find filled with red flags. Are there red flags? Sure, I guess. His body is the biggest concern. But worrying about Holmgren’s body more than you drool about his elite rim-protecting and play-making and shot-making ability at 7-foot-1 seems like a mistake to me. He’s not a sure thing, I acknowledge. But if he becomes what his biggest supporters believe he can become, Holmgren should — maybe not immediately, but in time — emerge as the prize of the 2022 NBA Draft that is now just hours from unfolding.