Orlando Magic Daily Big Board 3.0: Orlando Magic have sat with the prospects

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Jabari Smith, Auburn Tigers
Auburn Tigers forward Jabari Smith (10) celebrates after making a three point basket during the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C., on Friday, March 18, 2022. Auburn Tigers lead Jacksonville State Gamecocks 39-27 at halftime. /

Orlando Magic Daily Big Board 3.0

Who goes No. 1?

player. 525. . F. Tigers . Jabari Smith Jr.. 1

The big question facing the Orlando Magic — the big question for this entire NBA Draft — is who will go No. 1?

There is a legitimate three-player race — although, to many, it is quickly becoming a two-man race (indeed, the Magic are expected to have Chet Holmgren in next week with no word yet when or whether Paolo Banchero will arrive in Orlando).

Trying to differentiate between the three prospects is a seemingly impossible task at the moment. No one is envying the position the Magic are in even though it comes with an incredible amount of power.

So why is Jabari Smith seemingly the top prospect at the moment?

It is a combination of a number of things.

The first place to start is his floor. Some want to use this as a detraction. No team should draft a player for what he is now or what his downside is.

But Smith’s downside is pretty good. He is a long and rangy defender with a strong 3-point shot. If that is all he is in the league, that will still be a high-level role player. It seems pretty certain that he will do at least that pretty quickly upon entering the league.

But that of course is just the starting point for him. And that is the part that is ultimately exciting about Smith and why he is projected as the top pick in the draft.

The rest of the equation is about what he can do and he should be able to do a lot.

Smith is already a pretty gifted shooter, but it is his ability to hit tough shots over defenses that has him slated to go No. 1. He punished smaller defenders on the block with killer turnaround jumpers. He has a step-back 3-pointer and can hit shots off the dribble.

The next steps for him — and what could be the difference between him being a star like Khris Middleton or a superstar like Jayson Tatum — is figuring out how to get to the basket and learning that star-like killer instinct.

By all indications, Smith wants to put in the work and has a bit of that killer confidence in him.

This is why he is ultimately the top guy on everyone’s board.