Who does Orlando take with the first pick now?

The dice will be cast next night, then we will know which talents will end up with which teams. We also played through the draft once with a mock.

It’s almost impossible to predict the order of a draft. Too many dominoes can fall on draw day, which is possibly the busiest day on the NBA calendar aside from the start of free agency.

And yet we all enjoy making predictions about which player will end up on which team. We are also trying this exercise again this year and have drawn up our own mock draft.

But first, a few words to explain the picks. It’s not about who the best players are, that’s why we have our big board with the best 25 players of the draft, but rather about putting yourself in the shoes of the GMs of the respective teams and deriving the plausible choice from that.

If you also want to take a closer look at the prospects, you can do so too. In the past few days we have taken a closer look at the best guards, forwards and bigs in the linked articles.

For the sake of clarity, we also do without trades. There will be, last year alone there were five in the first round on draft day. But now to our mock draft, which covers the first 30 picks.

Pick 1: ORLANDO MAGIC – Jabari Smith (PF, Auburn)

Not an easy pick for the Magic, who could really use a creating guard or forward. Instead, the top three prospects are all Big Men, which poses a complicated question for Magic. Do they take the best player available or the one that best fits the system?

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The clear answer should always be the first variant in a rebuild, at the same time Smith fits in perfectly with Orlando’s style with his shooting and his defense. We also choose Smith because he seems to be the safer pick. But we don’t really feel comfortable with the choice.

Pick 2: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – Chet Holmgren (PF/C, Gonzaga)

This makes the decision easier for OKC. GM Sam Presti is known for his penchant for distance, and Holmgren fits that mold perfectly. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey there is already enough playmaking, with Holmgren the required rim protector is now coming, which also has spacing as a bonus, which has been a big problem with the Thunder in recent years.

Pick 3: HOUSTON ROCKETS – Paolo Banchero (PF/C, Duke)

Stay for the Rockets Banchero, they won’t be sad about it. With the wood trade to Dallas, the Texans have already made room in the rotation. The rebuild should succeed with a core of Jalen Green, Banchero and Center Alperen Sengün. That’s a lot of offense (and very little defense), but Houston should have enough patience after many good years.

Pick 4: SACRAMENTO KINGS – Jaden Ivey (G, Purdue)

The Kings are very different. GM Monte McNair is entering his final year on the contract and Sacramento is still waiting for its first playoff appearance since 2006! With the pressure mounting in the California capital, there is much speculation about a trade for a veteran player. In our scenario, however, the Kings remain conservative and take the best player off the board. Ivey and De’Aaron Fox together sounds difficult, but if in doubt, a trade can help later.

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