After twists and turns in expectations, Magic draft Paolo Banchero No. 1

Paolo Banchero at 2022 NBA Draft
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Update: The Magic drafted Paolo Banchero No. 1.


The rumblings about the Magic drafting Duke’s Paolo Banchero No. 1 just won’t die.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported earlier in the day Orlando would make the long-expected choice of Auburn’s Jabari Smith No. 1 (with Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren going No. 2 to the Thunder and Banchero No. 3 to the Rockets). But counter-reporting by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN says Banchero is actually in the mix at No. 1.


This close to the draft, I’d be SHOCKED if the Magic hadn’t already made up their minds. At least days ago. This is almost certainly just about uncovering their plan, not them deciding on it.

With the draft televised by ESPN, this is as direct as Wojnarowski gets about an unannounced selection. At this point, it’d be surprising if Orlando didn’t draft Banchero No. 1.

Apparently, the betting markets actually knew something. There are still some questions about about how and why the Magic disguised their intentions.

And what happens next.

If Banchero goes No. 1, that’d leave Oklahoma City with a surprising choice at No. 2: Smith or Holmgren? Houston could still get the third of the consensus top-three prospects at No. 3 — but apparently not the one originally expected to fall.