Jabari Smith Jr. is widely expected to be taken by the Orlando Magic as the top overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Smith has all the confidence in the world that his name will be the first one to be called in the Draft, which is understandable, given the seemingly endless stream of mock drafts projecting him as the No. 1 pick.
“I’ll be surprised if I’m not taken No. 1,” Jabari Smith Jr., the consensus top overall pick out of Auburn, told Yahoo Sports. “It’s just my competitive nature mixed with my unselfishness and my ability to just shoot the ball, defend multiple positions and care about winning. I don’t care about stats. I feel I can help any team right away. But I feel I’m the No. 1 pick.”
A product of the Auburn Tigers basketball program, Smith’s top competition for the Magic’s pick are Chet Holmgren of the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Paolo Banchero of the Duke Blue Devils.
The 6-10 Smith has been leaving NBA scouts salivating mostly because of his excellent blend of size, ability to defend multiple positions, and elite 3-point accuracy. In his first and only season in Auburn, he averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.0 blocks across 34 games, while also shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 42.0 percent from behind the arc.