The first draft day moves have been made and this may not be the only one.
The Los Angeles Lakers acquired the 35th pick from the Magic, who gets a future second-round pick and cash in return.
In other news, the Sacramento Kings traded their 49th pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for cash consideration and the draft rights of Aleksandar Vezenkov.
NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski predicted that “a lot of trades” would be made and the biggest of the day could involve an Australian.
The Philadelphia Investigator Keith Pompey reported that the 76ers were trying to acquire Eric Gordon and using Matisse Thybulle as an asset.
The Blazers are reportedly open to a straight deal for Thybulle, but sources have told Pompey that Sixers president Daryl Morey is interested in a three-team deal to get Gordon.
The Sixers have the No. 23 pick in this year’s draft and have bought him aggressively according to reports. Philadelphia has also been linked to PJ Tucker recently.
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ULTIMATE GUIDE: Everything you need to know ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft
As for the draft itself, the American college star Jabari Smith is strongly tipped to be selected with the first pick by the Orlando Magic on Friday [AEST].
ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski is however hearing rumors that there could be a surprise decision to shake up the draft decree.
“There’s a chance tonight that everyone’s draft boards will be destroyed,” he said.
“I’m told Paolo Banchero is very much in the game to be the first choice tonight along with Jabari Smith.”
Smith, 19, who excelled for the Auburn University Tigers this year in his only season as a college player, has become the bookmaker’s favorite to be picked first in Thursday’s annual race for top college talent.
The 6-foot-10 forward impressed the Tigers in a college season that saw him average 16.9 points per game, 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
The teenager has a rare combination of size and shooting touch, with deadly accuracy from three points and an athleticism likely to make him a defensive asset to any team that eventually signs him.
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Smith’s biggest rival for the No. 1 pick should be Gonzaga University Chet Holmgrenwhich is 7 feet tall.
The 20-year-old Bulldogs star also offers a combination of ball handling and elite footwork, as well as being an expert shot blocker. Holmgren averaged 14.1 points per game with 9.9 rebounds for Gonzaga.
If Orlando fails to pick Holmgren with the first pick, it’s almost certain to go to the Oklahoma City Thunder with the second pick.
James Jones, assistant coach of the USA team at last year’s Under-19 World Cup which Holmgren played in, describes him as a “Kevin Durant type of player”.
“He’s got good instincts. He’s the kind of guy who can do many different things,” Jones told AFP.
“He’s not a type of player, he can do a lot of different things, very versatile.
“As a kid, leader, hard worker, great person, very friendly, very outgoing and very determined to be the best basketball player he can be.”
“He’s a Kevin Durant type player in terms of skill level, to be able to do some of these things. Obviously he’s not Kevin Durant. But he has that skill, a similar set of skills.
Other talents in the top echelon of the draft include Duke University’s Paolo Bancherotipped to be taken by the Houston Rockets with the third pick.
Jaden Iveywho averaged 17.3 points per game for Purdue, could also top the draft, with the Sacramento Kings a possible destination for the 20-year-old.
From an Australian perspective, all eyes will be on Dyson Danielswho is projected as a lock for the top 10 in Friday’s draft.
The Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans are seen as a strong chance to draft Australia, although the two could also trade, adding an extra element of intrigue.
Order of the 2022 NBA Draft
1. Orlando Magic
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
3. Houston Rockets
4. Kings of Sacramento
5. Detroit Pistons
6. Indiana Pacers
7. Portland Trail Blazers
8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Los Angeles Lakers)
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Wizards of Washington
11. New York Knicks
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Los Angeles Clippers)
13. Charlotte’s Hornets
14. Cleveland Cavaliers
15. Charlotte Hornets (from New Orleans)
16. Atlanta Hawks
17. Houston Rockets (from Brooklyn)
18. Chicago Bulls
19. Minnesota Wolves
20. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto)
21. Denver Nuggets
22. Memphis Grizzlies (from Utah)
23. Philadelphia 76ers
24. Milwaukee Bucks
25. San Antonio Spurs (from Boston)
26. Houston Rockets (from Dallas)
27. Miami Heat
28. Golden State Warriors
29. Memphis Grizzlies
30. Denver Nuggets (from Oklahoma City)
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