In an ongoing partnership with DraftKings bookmakerwe will look at the favorites to take each place in the top 5, as well as what I think is the best choice.
The first general choice is Orlando Magic
Odds-wise, there’s a widespread two-man race for the top pick in this draft between Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, both big men, though Smith is much more perimeter-oriented. better than Holmgren, who is positioned as a generational defender in the center position, mainly due to the duration and timing.
Holmgren would have been my choice if I ran the show in Orlando, and that’s partly because he spent time playing in high school alongside last year’s top 5 Orlando pick guard Jalen Suggs, who also played one year in Gonzage. Holmgren visited Orlando a week before the draft.
However, Smith Jr. Great performance in Orlando; his only other practice during the draft process will be with Oklahoma City, who has the second pick. His strong training leads many to believe that he will be the best, which is why he is considered the favorite.
Let’s make some money and choose a value that is still very realistic.
Final bid: Chet Holmgren (+125)
The second general choice is Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC is very lucky in the sense that they seem to be pretty high ahead of Smith Jr. and Holmgren, so if they stick to the two-man race themselves, they just have to pick who’s left after picking Orlando.
However, there are rumors that lend themselves to some pretty cool choices:
Just because of the value of Ivey’s pick, as well as the uncertainty at the top, this might be the best call if you’re looking for a big payout.
Final bid: Jayden Ivey (+2000)
The third general choice is Houston Rockets
Houston is also in a pretty good position, picking up three. They already have some young, experienced quarterbacks, such as 2021 second overall pick Jalen Green, as well as Kevin Porter Jr. and former Arizona first round pick Josh Christopher.
And they’re lucky enough that they almost guaranteed themselves a chance to land one of three star-caliber frontcourt prospects, most likely Paolo Banquero, who should pair well with last year’s first-round striker Alperen Sengun. It is hard to imagine that they are going in a different direction.
Final bid: Paolo Bankero (-550)
Fourth general choice – Sacramento Kings
This is where things start to get funky. reports make it unlikely that the Kings will stay at 4 and make that choice themselves, but even if they do, it’s a pretty strange situation for them.
Assuming the top three are three forwards and that becomes chalk, Ivey is clearly the best player available here, though his hesitant eye for shooting doesn’t look great next to De’Aaron Fox, who basically doesn’t shoot, let alone both of them. I like to go down and work from there, which can clog the court.
However, there has been a lot of talk in league sources that the Kings should – and probably will – forget about relevance and just take on Ivey’s incredible talent, so that’s what we’ll do here.
Final Bet: Jayden Ivey (-400)
Fifth overall choice – Detroit Pistons
It’s a place that I really like for Sharp because a couple next to Cade Cunningham makes too much sense. However, Detroit has a lot of options here as Cunningham can fit most archetypes easily; others I like include Dyson Daniels (+800), AJ Griffin (+2000) and Johnny Davis (+4000).
Final bid: Schaedon Sharp (+550)
DraftKings provides odds for a few more categories, so here are my favorite values for each:
- Top 10: Jalen Duren (+100), AJ Griffin (+210) and Usman Dieng (+450).
- Bennedikt Mathurin project position: More than 6.5 (-135), that is, after the 6th place.
- Nikola Jovic or A.J. Liddell selected first: Jovic (-130).
- Team’s first choice: Cleveland Cavaliers – Malachi Branham (+400).
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