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“In a draft without a surefire future All-Star, he seems the one most likely to earn that honor” - John Hollinger believes Auburn star should be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, praises his shooting form

Auburn forward Jabari Smith is expected to be a top pick in the NBA draft.
Auburn forward Jabari Smith is expected to be a top pick in the NBA draft.

The NBA draft will be on Thursday, and the rumblings surrounding the potential first selection have picked up steam. The Orlando Magic have that first pick.

While many expected Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren to be the runaway favorite, another player has been generating buzz lately. That player is Auburn forward Jabari Smith.

Smith was one of the most impressive players in college basketball this year. At 6-foot-10 with the ability to stretch the floor from beyond NBA range, he has the upside to become a dangerous weapon. The Athletic's John Hollinger praised Smith:

“In a draft without a surefire future All-Star, he seems the one most likely to earn that honor.”
Jabari Smith Jr. headlines @johnhollinger’s rankings.Then the surprises start.Top 75 NBA Draft prospects: theathletic.com/3365655/?sourc… https://t.co/z6AeaoyXlL

Jabari Smith heating up as potential top pick in the NBA draft

As the draft approaches, speculation over what the Orlando Magic will do with the first selection continues to circulate. There's been plenty of smoke surrounding the idea of Jabari Smith ending up with the Orlando Magic, and the fit seems to make some sense.

Orlando has a number of talented players but desperately needs to improve its 3-point shooting. One of the most impressive outside shooting forwards in the country last year, Smith possesses the upside of becoming a dynamic two-way weapon. Although Smith is known for his ability on offense, his defensive potential is tremendous.

Auburn PF Jabari Smith says he's only met with the Orlando Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he doesn't have any other meetings planned"I don't see myself falling below No. 2. That was my mindset going into it. That's why I kept it to those two."

Although he's 6-foot-10, Smith has shown the ability to defend multiple positions at a high level with his combination of elusiveness and mobility.

Orlando added an intriguing piece at the center position in Wendell Carter Jr. last year. The fourth-year player found his groove with his new team, with career highs in scoring (15.0 points per game), rebounding (10.5), starts (61) and games played (62). Carter was the No. 7 pick in the 2018 draft.

Orlando has young guards like Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs, as well as impressive forward Franz Wagner, who made the All-Rookie team. Smith could be the missing link for the Magic to take another step forward in their rebuild.

Smith was a consensus second-team All-American as well as the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year. He averaged 16.9 ppg and 7.4 rpg while making 42.0% of his 3-pointers.

Smith's father played center at LSU and was the 45th pick in the 2000 draft (by the Sacramento Kings). He was an NBA journeyman who also played internationally.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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