HomeSportsN.B.A. Draft Preview: A Deep Field Could Yield Surprise Stars

N.B.A. Draft Preview: A Deep Field Could Yield Surprise Stars

When the Orlando Magic hand their draft card to N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver, on Thursday night at Barclays Center, they’ll settle a debate that has raged in draft circles for the better part of a year: Who should be the No. 1 pick?

The front-runner is Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, a rail-thin but nail-tough seven-footer who can shoot, dribble, pass and defend with aplomb. But there are equally strong cases to be made for the Auburn big man Jabari Smith, who spent this past season sinking seemingly impossible shots, and for Duke’s Paolo Banchero, a creative shotmaker who is as polished in the paint as he is on the perimeter.

“All three guys are incredibly talented,” said Jonathan Givony, founder of the scouting service DraftExpress an N.B.A. draft analyst at ESPN. “This draft has really great players at the top and really good depth, too.”

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