ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed this on Thursday morning as teams finalize their draft boards:
As team boards finalize today, the 1-2-3 of the NBA Draft is increasingly firm, per sources: Jabari Smith to Orlando, Chet Holmgren to Oklahoma City and Paolo Banchero to Houston.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
While this Woj tweet seems rather innocuous and just confirming the inevitable, it comes on the heels of Paolo Banchero being elevated to the favorite to go No. 1 to the Orlando Magic at a number of sportsbooks, including FanDuel. This screenshot was taken just moments after Woj tweeted the expectation that it will be Smith going to the Magic:
Not long after this, FanDuel took down these NBA Draft odds, obviously in response to the Woj tweet.
You have to wonder what the driving force was behind the Banchero No. 1 hype. Does Vegas know something everybody else doesn't? Are we in for a curveball on Thursday night? That would seem absolutely wild at this point given all the signs have been pointing to Smith at No. 1 in this NBA Draft for quite some time, but never say never in the NBA.
Whatever happens, the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets will all be adding a top prospect to their respective rebuilds. As mentioned, these three players have long been the consensus top three, so whatever order they do go in, these teams should be happy. Many view the real “start” of this draft at No. 4 with the Sacramento Kings, who have been involved in a lot of trade rumors.
Of course, it sure would be fun if there are fireworks and things go haywire at the very top of the 2022 NBA Draft. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: FanDuel's new No. 1 pick odds now have Smith at -6000, Banchero at +550 and Holmgren at +2300.