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Jabari Smith Jr. Listed as Favorite for 2022 NBA Draft’s Top Pick

Auburn's Jabari Smith Jr. is currently the favorite to be the NBA Draft's top prize.

In one of the tightest races to become the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick in recent years, Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. seems to have taken a slight lead with just five days to go til the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery.

Smith, a 6-foot-10 sharpshooter with stout defensive instincts, set the basketball world ablaze this season by shooting 42% from three-point land in his lone college season.

Smith is listed as a -110 favorite at Vegas Insider and Bodog.

Despite his hot start, it’s still a bit surprising that Smith is the favorite due to Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero closely in tow.

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Both sites have Holmgren following at +155 and +160, respectively. With a seven-foot frame and guard like reflexes and handles, Holmgren put a stellar season with the Zags. In the Thunder’s case specifically, it’s hard no to see general manager Sam Presti salivating over the idea of pairing facilitator Josh Giddey with a post-threat and defensive anchor.

Then there’s Banchero, who may just be the most NBA-ready prospect available. Banchero is looming around +300, and very could be the best bang for bettors buck. In a 6-foot-10 frame with guard skills and physicality, he’s definitely not out of the conversation.

After Banchero there’s a steep drop-off to Jaden Ivey at around +3000. One step further is Shaedon Sharpe at +5000, and following him are Johnny Davis and Keegan Murray at +15000.

The 2022 NBA Draft is set to take place on Thursday, June 23 in Brooklyn, New York.


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