Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero Want To Avoid Magic In NBA Draft

Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, NBA Draft Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

With only a few days left before the 2022 NBA Draft, we are starting to see how the top of the draft board may take shape. For a majority of the pre-draft process, there have been three players that have emerged ahead of the rest of the class.

Jabari Smith out of Auburn has been seen as the likeliest player to go first overall to the Orlando Magic. Chet Holmgren out of Gonzaga and Paolo Banchero out of Duke have been right behind him throughout the process, while Jaden Ivey out of Purdue has been right behind them.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the order breaking that way would make Holmgren and Banchero happy. In his recent intel report, he shared that their respective camps were trying to steer them away from the Magic.

“With the No. 1 pick Thursday night, league executives widely project Auburn forward Jabari Smith to be the Magic’s choice. Among Smith and fellow top prospects Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero, Smith and his representatives have long expressed the most enthusiasm about joining the Magic, sources told B/R. Holmgren’s and Banchero’s camps have operated with greater desires to land elsewhere, according to league personnel familiar with both players.”

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The second overall pick in the draft is owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the Houston Rockets will be selecting third. Those could be the teams that Holmgren and Banchero want to be steered toward, for whatever the reason may be.

Out of the three teams, the Orlando Magic have the toughest path to playing time for big men. They already have Jonathan Isaac and Wendell Carter Jr. in the mix, while the Thunder have a pretty barren depth chart up front. The Rockets recently agreed in principle to a trade with the Dallas Mavericks that will see Christian Wood leaving town, so they will have a ton of playing time available in the frontcourt alongside Alperen Sengun.

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This is a regular practice for players and their reps trying to steer toward specific teams. However, at the end of the day, if a team wants a specific player, they will land them. Ultimately they don’t have too much control of where they will land outside of withholding medical records or not taking part in workouts.