Not even Larry Bird was drafted #1. Bird was the 6th player drafted in 1978. I’m not going to try to explain this trend because I don’t want to ruffle any feathers. I’m just pointing it out. It is what it it is. I am going to back this 35 year trend and bet that the Magic don’t draft Chet Holmgren first and hope he turns into the next Bill Sharman.
The price on Jabari has dropped quite a bit, he opened at -450 and is now anywhere between -165 and -185 to be drafted first. I like this bet for the following reasons:
1) The above 35 year-old trend. If the Magic have the balls to go against that trend more power to them. People will lose their heads/jobs if the pick does not work out.
2) The Magic tried for several years to build a team around a big, white, skilled Center and that didn’t work out too well. Vucevic was eventually shipped to Chicago, and now we expect them to try the same experiment with a guy who is 7’1 190 pounds?!
3) The center position in the NBA is not nearly as important as it used to be. Yes, there are outliers like Djoker, Ayton, and Embid but for every one of those guys there are 10 failed experiments. And, these big guys are injury prone. James Wiseman anyone?
4) The Magic simply can’t take chances here, despite the upside/potential Holmgren has. John Hammond needs someone who will compliment the roster the Magic have put together and will have immediate impact on the team. Jabari Smith fits that bill a lot more than Holmgren.