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NBA Draft: Paolo Banchero Goes No. 1 to Orlando Magic

  • June 24, 2022

Holmgren, 20, is a rail-thin, seven-foot-tall center who grew up in Minneapolis and was named Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball in 2021. He was a high school teammate of Jalen Suggs, whom the Magic drafted fifth overall in 2021. They each spent one season at Gonzaga.

Holmgren led Gonzaga to a 28-4 record and averaged 14.1 points per game while making 60.7 percent of his field-goal attempts. He also averaged 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. Gonzaga entered the N.C.A.A. tournament as the No. 1 overall seed, but was upset in the round of 16.

In the days before the draft, rumors circulated in media reports that Orlando had decided to select Smith first overall. As Smith waited for his name to be called on Thursday, he looked disappointed. When finally Silver announced his name, another prospect, Louisiana State’s Tari Eason, leaped out of his seat to clap for Smith.

Smith, 19, spent one season at Auburn after a distinguished high school basketball career in Georgia. He played for the same Amateur Athletic Union team as another No. 1 pick by the Magic: Dwight Howard. Smith’s father, also named Jabari Smith, spent parts of four seasons in the N.B.A. in the early 2000s.

Jabari Smith Jr. was named the Southeastern Conference’s freshman of the year and a second-team all-American this past season. Smith is a 6-foot-10 power forward with the ability to shoot from the perimeter. He made 42.9 percent of his 3-pointers and averaged 16.9 points per game at Auburn.

The first surprise of the night was the selection of Murray by the Kings at No. 4, given the expectation that Banchero, Holmgren and Smith would go in some order in the top three. The spectators at Barclays Center erupted at the announcement.

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