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2022 NBA Draft: How will the top-3 round out?

Where will Smith, Holmgren and Banchero go?

2022 NBA Draft Lottery Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

The Miami Heat’s offseason is just a few weeks old, the NBA Finals just concluded (Congrats, Warriors!) and now 2022 NBA Draft is five days away!

That’s quite the quick turnaround, huh?

The Heat have the No. 27 overall pick. But today, we’ll be pondering where the draft’s presumptive top-3 — Jabari Smith (Auburn), Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga) and Paolo Banchero (Duke) — will be going between the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets to begin their NBA careers.

Since Miami doesn’t currently have any draft odds listed, let’s examine some other draft odds below and see what (fake) bets I’d place via the DraftKings Sportsbook!

The Top-3:

Barring anything unforeseen, there’s a pretty set top-3 for this year’s draft: Smith, Holmgren and Banchero. Between the prospects and the destinations, the only thing we don’t know is who will go where, so let’s dive into some odds!

No. 1 pick: Orlando Magic:

According to DK, there’s two presumptive favorites — Smith and Holmgren — with Banchero on the outside, along with Jaden Ivey, Shaedon Sharpe and Bennedict Mathurin. Here’s the No. 1 overall pick odds for the coveted top-3:

There’s been a lot of dicussion surrounding Smith going No. 1 overall, though that can change in the days, hours and even minutes leading up to the selection. The 6-foot-10 Auburn forward is likely the safest best, though I would dabble a couple dollars into both Holmgren and Banchero as value plays.

The favorite: Smith

What I would bet: Smith

Favorite underdog play: Holmgren

Here’s what SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell said about why Smith is the most likely Magic selection in his best/most likely pick mock draft:

Most of the reporting around Orlando’s thinking at No. 1 has Smith as a slight front-runner over Chet Holmgren. The Magic finished No. 28 in three-point percentage this season, and Smith is an elite shooter at 6’10. As long as Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz, or Cole Anthony can set him up, Smith should be able to knock down shots at a high clip.

No. 2 pick: Oklahoma City Thunder

Given Smith is favored to be the top player selected, Holmgren is the favorite to go No. 2 overall at -160. Among the many needs for Oklahoma City, a center has definitely been one of them. With positional freedom, I think Holmgren would be the pick here if he’s not heading to the other Florida team. That’s not a slight to Banchero (or Ivey), but I think you can argue it’s a two-man race between Holmgren and Smith with Paolo looking outside-in.

The favorite: Holmgren

What I would bet: Holmgren

Favorite underdog play: Banchero (+350)

Here’s what O’Donnell said about Holmgren being the most likely No. 2 pick:

The Thunder are taking a long-term view of rebuilding that places a premium upside, length, and versatility — three boxes Holmgren checks. There’s an easy argument to make that he has the highest ceiling in the draft if everything comes together. He’d be an immediate building block in the front court for the Thunder, and could eventually become the face of the franchise.

No. 3 pick: Houston Rockets

Here is what ESPN’s Jonathan Givony said about the Rockets’ selection in early June.

The Rockets pick third in what many consider to be a three-player draft, making this a relatively easy choice on face value. (Jaden) Ivey’s candidacy is also under consideration here, as the idea of constructing arguably the most explosive backcourt in the NBA is said to be intriguing for Rockets brass.

You can read into that as deeply as you please. I’m not necessarily buying it. Given Banchero’s shot-making and shot-creation prowess, he might too good of a prospect to pass up at three if he’s the one that falls. And if he doesn’t, then you have either Holmgren or Smith falling into your lap — both of whom presumptively replace Christian Wood, who was recently dealt to the Dallas Mavericks. It’s almost a win-win, even though I’m sure Rafael Stone would rather have the top-two selections.

But assuming he falls, Banchero’s the pick here.

The favorite: Banchero (-550)

What I would bet: Stay away; bad value for Banchero

Favorite underdog play: Smith (+1500)

Here is what O’Donnell said about Banchero being the most likely selection at No. 3:

The Rockets have the easiest decision in the draft in a lot of ways. There are three big forwards viewed as the consensus top prospects in the draft, and the Rockets will select the one that’s still on the board when they’re on the clock at No. 3 overall. Banchero and last year’s No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green would form a fantastic offensive foundation. If it happens, Houston’s mission would quickly become finding players who can complement their two young stars.

Other NBA Draft bets to wager:

No. 4 pick: Sacramento Kings

Ivey’s the clear-cut favorite at -400, but this is where the draft officially gets interesting. Does Sacramento trade the pick? And if they do, who do they trade it to and for what? Do they keep the pick? Do they select Ivey? Do they take a flier on Shaedon Sharpe, who didn’t suit up for Kentucky? Do they select Keegan Murray?

I digress, but there’s plenty of fun questions with this pick that could shape the rest of the top-10 and, ultimately, the draft. Here’s the odds for the No. 4 pick below:

No. 4 pick odds
DraftKings Sportsbook

Here’s what O’Donnell voiced about the Kings’ most likely, and best pick in his mock draft:

Why Jaden Ivey is the most likely pick on the board: After the top three forwards, most believe there’s a significant gap between Ivey and the fifth best prospect in this draft. Ivey isn’t a perfect fit next to De’Aaron Fox due to shooting and processing concerns, but it’s likely the Kings can find a willing trade partner for this pick if they’d prefer move down a spot or two and grab someone else. If Sacramento stays put and still doesn’t want to take Ivey, the most likely picks feel like Shaedon Sharpe or Keegan Murray.

Why Jaden Ivey is the best pick on the board: Ivey is our No. 3 overall player in this draft for his absurd burst as a ball handler both in the half court and open floor. We are already on the record saying the Kings should draft him and figure out the fit with Fox later.

The favorite: Ivey (-400)

What I would bet: Sharpe (+650)

Favorite underdog play: Sharpe (+650)

No. 5 pick: Detroit Pistons

The odds for the No. 5 pick below:

No. 5 pick odds
DraftKings Sportsbook

Here’s what O’Donnell claimed the best, and most likely Pistons pick in his mock draft:

Why Keegan Murray is the most likely pick on the board: Murray is reportedly a favorite among front offices, and has been projected as a lock for the top-6 since the lottery order was finalized. Teams appear to view the Iowa sophomore as a safer bet than some of the other choices on the board because of his versatile shooting and solid team defense at 6’8, 220 pounds. Everything with Detroit’s rebuild orbits around Cade Cunningham, and this would give last year’s No. 1 overall pick another potent shooter with the size to compete defensively.

Why Jalen Duren is the best pick on the board: Murray is going to have a good NBA career, but at least in my opinion he lacks the upside of a top-five pick. Duren is our No. 5 prospect because of his tremendous physicality as one of the youngest players in the draft. A 6’10, 250 pound big man with a 7’5 wingspan, Duren combines awesome power around the rim with quick enough feet on the perimeter to master multiple pick-and-roll coverages. I love the idea of pairing Cunningham with a monster athlete who can be a lob target and developing short roll playmaker on offense while captaining the defense.

The favorite: Murray (-175)

What I would bet: Murray

Favorite underdog play: Mathurin (+650)

Which player(s) get picked in the top-10?

Not counting the first five, DK has odds on if other prospects get selected within the top-10. Here are those odds:

Who else will get selected in the top-10?
DraftKings Sportsbook

The favorite: Sharpe (-2500)

What I would bet: AJ Griffin (+210)

Favorite underdog play: Ousmane Dieng (+450), Malaki Branham (+450)

Who do the experts/evaluators have Miami selecting?

Since there’s no DK draft odds for Miami, let’s look at some who a few of the latest mock drafts have the Heat selecting:

David Cobb, CBS Sports: Christian Braun, G, Kansas

Braun is a dynamic forward who can guard 1-4, knock down 3-pointers and get to the basket. By turning down another season at Kansas in which he could have become a superstar, Braun made a bet on himself.

Zak Hanshew, Yahoo Sports: Dalen Terry, G, Arizona

Playing alongside Ben Mathurin at Arizona, Terry stood out as a jack-of-all-trades thanks to his ability to pass, rebound, score and defend. He’s not going to put up 20 a night, but he averaged 10/6/5 and 2.0 stocks per 36 while earning Pac-12 All-Defense honors. Terry shot better than 36% from three as well, so the upside as a 3-and-D wing who can facilitate is obvious. Miami loves players who get after it on defense, so this is a great fit.

Kyle Irving, Sporting News: Trevor Keels, G, Duke

The Heat’s need for a backup point guard became evident when Kyle Lowry went down during the playoffs. While Gabe Vincent did a strong job in his place, Miami could still use some help at the position. Keels is the type of strong and physical guard who could thrive in Heat Culture. He can defend multiple positions at a high level and he has a quick and powerful burst when he attacks the basket. Plus, Keels can knock it down from long range as he showed with some timely 3-point shots during Duke’s run to the Final Four. Keels is well worth a flier in the first round and Miami feels like a great fit.

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee

The Heat could use another shot creator, especially with 36-year-old Kyle Lowry looking a beat slow in the postseason. Like Lowry, Kennedy is at his best shooting off the catch, but he can do more. Chandler is a bit undersized, but he grinds on defense, likely making him a good fit in Miami.

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