The draft is finally here. Tonight is the night careers are born and foundations are built. And it all starts in Orlando.
In case you haven't kept up, my hometown Orlando Magic will draft numero uno in tonight's draft. I'll be breaking down the top 5 expected picks and what to watch for, starting now.
1. The Orlando Magic select Jabari Smith
I am a Celtics fan. However, I am a big supporter of anything Orlando. Having been to Amway Center over 100 times, I've seen this team first hand (and I will be in attendance at tonight's watch party at Amway as well). I believe the best fit for the current roster is Jaden Ivey, but he would seem to be a reach at #1. With a returning Isaac, the long sized Magic need someone who can create baskets individually. I can honestly say I prefer Banchero for this roster because of his plug and play readiness, but Smith is a proven shooter, strong to the basket, and a well rounded. Sometimes the safe pick is the right pick.
2. The Oklahoma City Thunder select Chet Holmgren
Holmgren presents the highest range of potential in this draft. By this I mean, he can be a bust or an absolute talent. I think OKC is a perfect fit for Chet and will allow him the space to develop both on the court and at the proper rate. The Thunder have accumulated roughly 184 draft picks over the next few years and have time to grow. Let's see if they decide to keep SGA or start fresh.
3. The Houston Rockets select Paolo Banchero
This is an easy one. Assuming the Magic and Thunder go as predicted, the Rockets have the perfect match in Banchero. Pairing him with rookie standout Green can provide hope for the future. Houston moved on from Christian Wood last week in a trade to Dallas, which all but seals this pick. Good things are yet to come in Texas.
4. The "Sacramento Kings" select Jaden Ivey
Note the quotations around the selection team. The fourth pick presently is held by the Kings, but there is much noise around trade movement leading up to the draft. Will the Kings choose to draft Ivey, the clear pick at #4, and pair him beside Fox? Or will they choose to make a deal and move back in the draft? Rumblings of a deal have been heard from many teams and the Kings are known for poor draft work. Regardless of how this is handled, Ivey is the right choice. Often compared to D Wade (although I wouldn't go that far yet), the Purdue star is the most ready to create off the dribble in this draft. Let's see what unfolds.
5. The Detroit Pistons select....!?
Here's where it gets interesting. I do believe Detroit will take Keegan Murray out of Iowa. I think he fits well with Cunningham and can play the paint on each end of the court. Detroit sending Jerami Grant to Portland officially says the Pistons are all-in on Cade. If they decide to go the dual guard route, they could roll with Shaedon Sharpe of Kentucky or Benedict Mathurin out of Zona. Both viable options at #5. It will all depend on how Detroit wishes to approach their offense, tradition size balance or high pace.
Watch tonight's NBA Draft on ESPN at 8pm Eastern time live from the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, NY