The NBA draft gets underway on Thursday night and the one of the biggest questions for hoops fans is: Where will Chet Holmgren land?
That prediction, plus every other pick in the first round, are below:
1. Orlando: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga, 7-0
The Magic shouldn’t overthink this pick. Holmgren’s combination of size, skill and rim protecting are unmatched coming into the league. They also have a chance to reunite him with last year’s draft pick and former high school teammate Jalen Suggs.
2. Oklahoma City: Jabari Smith, Auburn, 6-10
The Thunder haven’t been fortunate enough to see a 6-10 talent like Smith in their organization since Kevin Durant left. His outside shooting at that height is reminiscent of a young KD, but he’s built to secure their frontcourt for years to come.
3. Houston: Paolo Banchero, Duke, 6-10
Leading Duke to the Final Four in the last season of Coach K’s legendary career, Banchero made a case to be No. 1 with averages of 18.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in the NCAA Tournament.
4. Sacramento: Jaden Ivey, Purdue, 6-4
Ivey would be the highest-drafted Big Ten player since Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. was the fourth pick in the 2018 draft. Comparisons to Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant seem realistic when it comes to athleticism at his position.
5. Detroit: Keegan Murray, Iowa, 6-8
The Hawkeyes will have their first NBA first-round pick since 1998 with Murray, who was arguably the most improved player in the country. Raised his scoring average from 7.2 as a freshman to 23.5 points as a sophomore last season.
6. Indiana: Dyson Daniels, NBA G League Ignite, 6-7
Daniels has been on the NBA’s radar as a big combo guard, but scouts didn’t realize how big he would become. The Australia native reportedly grew 2 inches since joining the NBA G League developmental team.
7. Portland: Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona, 6-6
Arizona’s first-year coach Tommy Lloyd saw Mathurin become arguably the best shooting guard in college hoops as the Wildcats made a Sweet 16 run.
8. New Orleans: Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky, 6-5
Sharpe was the top-ranked high school player in the 2022 class before reclassifying to attend Kentucky last season. He sat out the season, but his draft stock didn’t decline.
9. San Antonio: Ousmane Dieng, New Zealand Breakers, 6-10
Dieng, a native of France, had some underwhelming stats in the National Basketball League (8.9 points and 3.2 rebounds), but his ability to play on the perimeter at his size is intriguing.
10. Washington: A.J. Griffin, Duke, 6-6
Griffin played in the shadow of Banchero’s massive talent, but the Blue Devils freshman still had five 20-point performances and shot 44.7% from 3-point range last season.
11. New York: Johnny Davis, Wisconsin, 6-5
A favorite to win NCAA player of the year at one point last season, Davis carried the Badgers on his back to a Big Ten title and earned conference player of the year honors.
12. Oklahoma City: Jeremy Sochan, Baylor, 6-9
The 19-year-old Polish talent stands out with his dyed blonde hairdo but a strong finish to the season, including 15 points and 11 rebounds vs. North Carolina, made him lottery material.
13. Charlotte: Jalen Duren, Memphis, 6-11
The Tigers opened the season with two top NBA prospects as freshmen, but Duren proved more worthy of that distinction than his former teammate Emoni Bates.
14. Cleveland: Malaki Branham, Ohio State, 6-5
He’s the most unlikely first-round pick of this year’s freshmen in the draft, but nobody performed better in the clutch than this Buckeyes sharpshooter.
15. Charlotte: Ochai Agbaji, Kansas, 6-6
A decade ago, Agbaji would’ve been a possible top-10 pick after leading his team to the NCAA title. But the 22-year-old Jayhawks senior has age working against him.
16. Atlanta: Tari Eason, LSU, 6-8
Quietly one of the SEC’s most consistent players, Eason scored in double figures in 17 of his last 18 games, including four straight 20-point efforts.
17. Houston: Mark Williams, Duke, 7-2
Good luck finding a player more impactful as a rim protector than Williams, who had 22 games with at least three blocks, and added 16 total blocks in the NCAA tourney.
18. Chicago: Jalen Williams, Santa Clara, 6-6
Not even 6-feet tall as a junior in high school, Williams was a late bloomer, but he blossomed at the right time, averaging 18 points and shooting 40% from 3.
19. Timberwolves: TyTy Washington Jr., Kentucky, 6-4
Wildcats have a solid track record for producing guards, including Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, DeAaron Fox and Tyler Herro.
20. San Antonio: Nikola Jovic, Serbia, 6-11
With a name similar to Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, this tall and lengthy wing has trouble avoiding comparisons to the two-time MVP, but his game speaks for itself.
21. Denver: Blake Wesley, Notre Dame, 6-4
Wesley led the Irish in scoring and his all-around play as a freshman helped them reach the program’s first NCAA Tournament since 2017.
22. Memphis: Kennedy Chandler, Tennessee, 6-0
One of the nation’s top freshmen, Chandler topped the Vols in scoring, assists and steals, but his biggest accomplishment was leading them to the SEC Championship.
23. Philadelphia: Jaden Hardy, NBA G League Ignite, 6-4
Hardy passed up playing college ball to play in the NBA G League. He was once considered the top offensive prep prospect in the country, so someone will draft him on that potential.
24. Milwaukee: Walker Kessler, Auburn, 7-1
College basketball’s top shot blocker had two games with double-digit swats this season and should fit into the Bucks nicely.
25. San Antonio: MarJon Beauchamp, NBA G League Ignite, 6-5
Two years ago, Beauchamp was an offensive standout at Yakima Valley College in Washington, but his success with the NBA G League attracted NBA scouts.
26. Dallas: Kendall Brown, Baylor, 6-7
The former standout at Minnesota’s East Ridge left his home state for prep school in Kansas and developed into a prototypical wing in the NBA with his athleticism and versatility.
27. Miami: Dalen Terry, Arizona, 6-7
Terry saved some of his best games for last with breakout performances in the Pac-12 championship game and NCAA Tournament.
28. Golden State: Jake LaRavia, Wake Forest, 6-8
The Warriors have a few young talented wings, but they might not be able to resist drafting LaRavia, who can defend and play multiple positions.
29. Memphis: Patrick Baldwin Jr., Milwaukee, 6-10
Baldwin was a projected lottery pick coming out of high school, but he might drop with inconsistency against midmajor competition as a freshman.
30. Oklahoma City: Max Christie, Michigan State, 6-6
Christie could’ve used another year under Hall of Famer Tom Izzo to grow into a star, but his outside shooting is ready for the NBA.
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