The first moves of draft day have been made and it may not be the only one.
The Los Angeles Lakers acquired the 35th pick from the Magic, who get a future second-round pick and money in return.
In other news, the Sacramento Kings traded their 49th pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for cash considerations and the draft rights to Aleksandar Vezenkov.
NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski predicted “a lot of trades” would be made and the biggest of the day could involve an Australian.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported the 76ers are trying to acquire Eric Gordon and are using Matisse Thybulle as an asset.
The Blazers are said to be willing to make a straight-up deal for Thybulle but sources told Pompey that Sixers president Daryl Morey wants to strike a three-team deal to get Gordon.
The Sixers have the No. 23 pick in this year’s draft and have been aggressively shopping it around according to reports. Philadelphia has also been linked to PJ Tucker recently.
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ULTIMATE GUIDE: Everything to know ahead of the 2022 NBA draft
As for the draft itself, US college star Jabari Smith is strongly tipped to be chosen with the top pick by the Orlando Magic on Friday [AEST].
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski though is hearing whispers there could be a surprise decision to shake up the draft order.
“There is a chance tonight everybody’s draft boards may get blown up,” he said.
“I’m told Paolo Banchero is very much in the mix to be the number one overall pick tonight along with Jabari Smith.”
The 19-year-old Smith, who excelled for Auburn University’s Tigers this year during his only season as a college player, has emerged as the bookmaker’s favorite to be decided first on Thursday’s annual scramble for the top collegiate talent.
The 6ft 10in power forward impressed for the Tigers in a college season that saw him average 16.9 points per game along with 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
The teenager has a rare combination of size and shooting touch, with deadly accuracy from three-point range and an athleticism likely to make him a defensive asset for any team that ends up recruiting him.
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Smith’s biggest rival for the No.1 pick is expected to be Gonzaga University’s Chet Holmgrenwho stands an imposing 7ft tall.
The 20-year-old Bulldogs standout also offers a combination of elite ball-handling and footwork as well as being an expert shot-blocker. Holmgren averaged 14.1 points per game with 9.9 rebounds for Gonzaga.
If Orlando fail to pick Holmgren with the first choice, he is almost certain to go to the Oklahoma City Thunder with the second pick.
James Jones, an assistant coach with the US Team at last year’s Under-19 World Cup that Holmgren played in, describes him as a “Kevin Durant kind of player.”
“He has great instincts. He’s the kind of guy that can do multiple different things,” Jones told AFP.
“He’s not one kind of player, he can do a lot of different stuff, very versatile.
“As a kid, leader, hard worker, great person, very friendly, very outgoing, and very dedicated into becoming the best basketball player he can.”
“He’s a Kevin Durant kind of player in terms of his skill level, to be able to do some of those things. He’s obviously not Kevin Durant. But he has that skill, a similar skill set.”
Other talent in the top echelon of the draft includes Duke University’s Paolo Bancherotipped to be taken by the Houston Rockets with the third pick.
Jaden Iveywho averaged 17.3 points per game for Purdue, could also feature high in the draft, with the Sacramento Kings lurking as a possible destination for the 20-year-old.
From an Australian perspective, all eyes will be on Dyson Danielswho is projected as a lock for the top-10 in Friday’s draft.
The Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans are considered a strong chance of drafting the Australia, although both could also trade down, adding an extra element of intrigue.
2022 NBA Draft order
1. Orlando Magic
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
3. Houston Rockets
4. Sacramento Kings
5. Detroit Pistons
6. Indiana Pacers
7. Portland Trail Blazers
8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Los Angeles Lakers)
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Washington Wizards
11. New York Knicks
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Los Angeles Clippers)
13. Charlotte Hornets
14. Cleveland Cavaliers
15. Charlotte Hornets (from New Orleans)
16. Atlanta Hawks
17. Houston Rockets (from Brooklyn)
18. Chicago Bulls
19. Minnesota Timberwolves
20. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto)
21. Denver Nuggets
22. Memphis Grizzlies (from Utah)
23. Philadelphia 76ers
24. Milwaukee Bucks
25. San Antonio Spurs (from Boston)
26. Houston Rockets (from Dallas)
27. Miami Heat
28. Golden State Warriors
29. Memphis Grizzlies
30. Denver Nuggets (from Oklahoma City)
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