2022 NBA Draft Night: Top Picks, and more

On June 23, 2022, Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jabari Smith Jr. heard their names called among the top draft picks in the 2022 NBA Draft. Who was it, in the end? Read on to get the latest scoop on what draft predictions were, insights from the evening, and who was the overall #1 pick.

2022 NBA Draft overview

There wasn’t a consensus on who this year’s number one NBA draft pick was, though Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jabari Smith Jr. were always considered the top prospects. We’ll break down what each player would bring to the Orlando Magic — the team with the first pick in this year’s draft. After the Magic made their pick, the other two players were most likely the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets, who owned the second and third draft selections.

Top 3 2022 NBA Draft Picks

Almost all NBA Draft analysts agreed that Banchero, Holmgren, and Smith Jr. stood out compared to other players in the 2022 NBA Draft. While experts predicted they’d be the top three picks, they never agreed on the order. Experts on The Ringer, ESPN, NBC Sports, and CBS Sports all had different predictions. Let’s take a look.

1. Paolo Banchero

Standing at 6′ 10″, Paolo Banchero is big and quick. In fact, he dominated the competition throughout his freshman year at Duke University in 2022. He was also named 2022 ACC Freshman of the Year, voted to the ACC First Team, and voted second-team All-America by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 2022.

Banchero also made history in his one year at Duke University. The Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) ruling by the Supreme Court in 2021 let college players make money through things like brand partnerships and more. Banchero became the first collegiate player to appear in the popular video game NBA 2K series. And last September, before even playing his first collegiate game, Banchero signed a deal with trading card manufacturer Panini America. When the partnership was announced, it was also the first of its kind for a collegiate player. Then, in a February 2022 Instagram post, Banchero announced his partnership with JD Sports.

2. Chet Holmgren

In November 2021, Banchero’s Duke beat then number one Gonzaga, led by fellow potential number one draft pick Chet Holmgren. Holmgren scored 16 points that night and grabbed seven rebounds, but Banchero dominated the first half before suffering cramps in the second half.

Holmgren and Banchero are used to being compared to each other. They were the top two high school recruits going into the 2021-22 college season. ESPN, Basketball Recruiting’s Rivals 150, and 247 Sports put Holmgren, who’s taller and has more range, ahead of Banchero in the 2022 NBA Draft as their top pick.

3. Jabari Smith Jr.

The third player most commonly predicted to be the number one draft pick is Jabari Smith Jr. He played his college ball at Auburn University. His father played for four years in the NBA and taught him about basketball as a young child. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl called Smith Jr. the best player he ever coached

Rounding out the top 3 picks

As always, the hype is on the first few picks. But there was always an expectation for several other players, such as Jaden Ivey, Johnny Davis, Keegan Murray, and Shaedon Sharp, to garner top spots and enjoy solid careers in the NBA.

In the end, who was the #1 NBA Draft Pick?

In the end, the Orlando Magic took their pick, and they chose – Pablo Banchero! And let us tell you, he showed up in style. Most predictions weren’t too far off, with the top picks coming from our run-through above.

We were lucky enough to host some of these guys at our JD Times Square location the day before the Draft, and chat through plans for Draft night, and some of their favorite picks for style, must-have kicks in their rotation, and more! Check out below for the scoop on some of the convos we had, alongside Bleacher Report, with Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jaden Ivey ahead of their appearance in the Draft.

Best dressed predictions for Draft night?🧐


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Where do you think you’ll end up?👀


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Must-have kicks?🤔


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