• Sudeep Tumma

An Intro to the Trio Vying for No. 1 Overall Pick

Updated: Jan 12

There's three distinct freshmen who are creating all the buzz.

This one has a similar feel to 2020. At the top of the ladder, you had three talented freshmen in Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman all looking to be the first name Adam Silver announced on draft night. In 2022, we have a similar dilemma with a simple distinction. Back then, none of those guys were emerging as the clear-cut No. 1 pick. In this draft, we’re looking at three franchise-altering talents who could all easily take the crown.

Jabari Smith: PF, Auburn (Freshman)

Smith was projected to be a lottery pick to begin the year, but he quickly cemented himself as a top-3 pick after nonconference play. He is an excellent jump shooter who can put the ball on the floor and owns a strong face-up game. Smith is shooting 45.3% from deep on five attempts a game. He possesses good length along with his rebounding and playmaking prowess. The 6-foot-10, 210-pound big man needs to add muscle to his frame to unlock his full potential, but his upside on both sides of the ball has NBA teams gushing.

Paolo Banchero: PF, Duke (Freshman)

His ceiling may be the lowest among the three, but Banchero possesses a tantalizing skill set. He’s a three-level scorer who has a great feel for the game and is a good passer. Banchero is an adept ball-handler with a full arsenal of moves in his bag. He’s a maestro from the elbows/high post with a lethal mid-range, but he can still attack you off the dribble and finish through contact. The physical Banchero averages a team-high 17.3 points. At 6-10, 250 pounds, Banchero’s polished game makes him the most NBA-ready player in the draft.

Chet Holmgren: C, Gonzaga (Freshman)

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “he’s too skinny.” It’s true, the 7-0, 190-pound Holmgren needs to get stronger, but don’t be fooled into thinking he isn’t a physical player who won’t lower his shoulder. Holmgren is an uber-skilled perimeter-orientated big man who’s got the ball-handling ability to attack downhill with tremendous touch around the rim. That’s to be paired with savvy passing ability and surefire rebounding. On defense, he’s an elite shot-blocker with 5.2 blocks per 40 minutes. Like Smith, Holmgren’s upside is enticing.

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