As Matt Moore of Action Network details, several oddsmakers have significantly moved their betting lines on Paolo Banchero in recent days, signaling that he’s no longer considered as much of a long shot to be this year’s No. 1 overall pick. However, executives around the NBA still widely expect Jabari Smith to be the first player off the board, reports Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
According to Fischer, Banchero was scheduled to meet with the Magic on Monday, but sources close to the Duke forward remain skeptical that he’s receiving serious consideration at No. 1. Fischer suggests that Smith and his representatives have been the most enthusiastic about landing in Orlando, while Chet Holmgren and his reps are thought to prefer the Thunder, since they believe there’s a stronger infrastructure in Oklahoma City to support the big man’s development.
As for Banchero, sources tell Fischer that he’d be happy to end up with the Rockets. The Seattle native has connections with general manager Rafael Stone, who is also from Seattle, and likes the idea of forming a dynamic offensive duo with Jalen Green.
At No. 4, the Kings remain a wild card, according to Fischer, who adds the Spurs to the list of teams interested in moving up in the lottery. The Spurs and Pacers are believed to be eyeing Keegan Murray, while the Wizards and Knicks are targeting Jaden Ivey, Fischer notes.
The Pistons were previously identified as a team exploring a trade up to No. 4, but Fischer suggests Detroit has “projected a strong confidence” that Ivey will be available at No. 5 if Sacramento keeps its pick, since teams drafting behind the Kings are preparing for them to select Murray.
Here’s more on the 2022 NBA draft, which is now just two days away:
- Teams drafting behind the Pelicans (No. 8) believe they’re a candidate to trade down, according to Fischer, who identifies the Thunder (No. 12) as a potential trade partner for New Orleans. Fischer says rivals suspect the Pelicans like Dyson Daniels and Bennedict Mathurin, so if at least one of them is still on the board at No. 8, they may be more inclined to hang onto the pick.
- There’s a “strong possibility” the Rockets will look to further expand their Christian Wood trade with the Mavericks, which isn’t yet official. Dallas’ side of the deal would presumably remain unchanged, but Houston could tweak the structure of the trade by including another team and additional pieces. Fischer suggests a move related to the No. 17 pick could be folded into the transaction.
- Sam Vecenie of The Athletic has heard from agents that many teams drafting in the second round – even in the 30s – are calling to see if certain prospects will agree to two-way contracts. That could result in some players who project as second-rounders ultimately going undrafted if they don’t want to accept a two-way offer.
- Vecenie adds that many of the picks in the 30s are candidates to be traded, since teams without picks are pursuing those selections. The Lakers are among the clubs said to be very much in the market for a second-rounder.