In 2022, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft might be a former Auburn player who’s set to become one of the best players in history-and it could happen if he gets drafted by none other than LeBron James and his team, Los Angeles Lakers!
The “number 1 draft picks nba 2021” is a question that has been asked many times. The number one pick in the 2022 NBA draft might be Auburn’s Jabari Smith, and who might select him.
The argument about who will be the No. 1 selection in the NBA draft in 2022 is heating up, and the field of prospective possibilities is expanding. Since the start of the 2021-22 college basketball season on Nov. 9, most of the focus has been on Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero, a focus that only grew when the two teams met in a head-to-head matchup in Las Vegas on Nov. 26.
But there’s a third talented freshman prospect in the mix: Auburn’s 6-foot-10, 220-pound power forward Jabari Smith, who has led the Tigers to the No. 1 overall seed in Joe Lunardi’s latest NCAA tournament Bracketology projection and has grown in popularity among NBA talent evaluators since the start of the season. What are the qualities that have propelled Smith (15.8 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game entering Saturday’s game against No. 12 Kentucky) to the top of the draft board? Which NBA lottery clubs would be interested in a guy with Smith’s specific skill set? What is Smith’s next-level competition, what is his ceiling, and what is his floor? All of these questions were explored by NBA draft gurus Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz before of Saturday’s matchup:
Bulls against. Bucks, Friday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m.
Wednesday, January 26th, 7:30 p.m., Knicks vs. Heat At 10 p.m., the Suns will face the Jazz.
7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 28: Lakers vs. Hornets At 10 p.m., the Knicks will face the Bucks.
All timings are in Eastern Standard Time.
Executives say Holmgren is difficult to scout since he plays in a relatively weak WCC and isn’t a prominent option on a veteran team headed by a national player of the year contender, fellow big man and team cornerstone Drew Timme. Holmgren will need to shine in the NCAA tournament to dispel concerns about his frail frame, perceived lack of alpha-style mentality offensively, and the fact that he’s a full year older than Smith, after a good but not great out-of-conference schedule that included pedestrian games against Texas and Texas Tech.
Banchero will be examined equally in the NCAA tournament for his defense, rebounding, and ability to play winning basketball on both sides of the floor, since he plays in an unusually weak ACC that is presently expected to garner just one more at-large spot than the WCC.
In summary, there’s still a lot to play for, and any of those three may be a strong contender for the top spot. Givony, Jonathan
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These are more nitpicks than catastrophic defects for a player of Smith’s ability, as many of his shortcomings will be resolved as his career progresses by adding strength, experience, and polish. Because he’s fiercely competitive, incredibly gifted, youthful, and allegedly coachable, it’s easy to picture him progressing quickly over the next several years. On Saturday, it’ll be intriguing to watch how Smith handles Kentucky’s length and toughness, since that’s the sort of long-armed, veteran frontcourt NBA clubs will use to assess where Smith sits at this level of his growth. Givony, Jonathan
In the NBA, who is Smith’s counterpart? In terms of the type(s) of player(s) Smith may become, what is his ceiling / floor?
When we’re talking about possible No. 1 choices like Smith, I believe it’s vital to be a bit more subtle with comparisons than normal. So, let’s go down components of Smith’s game with several players, then return for some big-picture forecasts.
Smith’s shooting profile reminds me of Michael Porter Jr., a shot-making forward who can play the three or four positions and gets a lot of his scoring by rising over smaller opponents for jump jumpers (almost 70 percent of his attempts right now). Smith, like Porter, can shoot the ball on the move, maybe even off screens down the future, thanks to his high release and ability to make shots from all angles without requiring perfect balance. Smith would flourish next to a center who can handle and pass, similar to MPJ’s play with Nikola Jokic, igniting the 18-year-movement old’s shooting out of handoffs and big-to-big combo screens.
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