Where the top 14 picks will go


Where the top 14 picks will go

The magic is on the clock.

For the fourth time in franchise history, Orlando has the No. 1 pick and the team could take all of the time through June 23 to decide on their pick.

There is no clear No. 1. There are three high profile prospects, all of whom can speak for themselves.

The Post spoke to three talent assessors and they all agreed that you can’t go wrong with the top three strikers Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero. It was believed that there would be no definite decision on draft day.

“It’s pretty wide open. I really think you could shoot it,” said one scout. “It all depends on what you are looking for. They all bring something different to the table.”

It sets the stage for an engrossing five weeks of guessing and debate after the NBA Draft Lottery decides the order Tuesday night.

The Post offers a prediction of how the top 14 will fare:

Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith
Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith
AP; Getty Images

1. Orlando Magic

Jabari Smith, Auburn (F, 6-10, 220 pounds)

The Magic has only won one season in the last decade and can’t afford to bet on Holmgren, tempting though he may be. Smith is the safer choice: an elite shooter that offers rim protection and is very similar to standout Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley in terms of versatility and two-way potential.

2. Thunder from Oklahoma City

Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga (F, 7-0, 195 pounds)

For his size and skill, Holmgren is a unique talent. He shoots it from deep, he’s a defensive threat, and he fits perfectly into the modern, distanced NBA. The Minnesotan is the first collegiate player in 28 years to make more than 40 3-pointers and block more than 100 shots in a season. The Thunders are in no hurry with their tedious rebuild, so he’ll have time to build up.

3. Houston missiles

Paolo Banchero, Duke (F, 6-10, 250 pounds)

The well-rounded banchero would be #1 in some drafts, a multi-level scorer and secondary playmaker emerging from a Final Four run with Duke. He joins Jalen Green, who was the Rockets’ second pick a year ago, to provide them with an impressive scoring tandem for years to come.

4. Kings of Sacramento

Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona (G, 6-6, 210 pounds)

This will be the first big surprise of the draft: the point guard-heavy kings go with the better fit. At worst, Mathurin is profiling himself as a 3-and-D prospect, and that could sell him short. He is physically very talented and has improved a lot in the last year.

5. Detroit piston

Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky (G, 6-6, 200 pounds)

He’s the mystery man of this draft, a highly respected shooting guard who spent part of the year in Kentucky after arriving in Lexington in early January but didn’t play. Pairing him alongside last year’s draft No. 1 Cade Cunningham gives the sad Pistons an exciting duo to build around.

6. Indiana Pacers

Jaden Ivey, Purdue (G, 6-4, 195 pounds)

The South Bend, Ind. native gets to stay close to home with the Pacers and give their backcourt an instant boost. As an electric athlete, Ivey will thrive at the next level when he has more space to work. Over time, we’ll wonder how he dropped to six.

Jaden Ivey
Jaden Ivey

7. Portland Trailblazer

Keegan Murray, Iowa (G/F, 6-8, 225 pounds)

Damian Lillard is getting an instant contributor to his side – as long as he stays, and there are signs he will – in the Iowa star. Murray is a big winger who shoots high from distance, was fourth in the nation a year ago and is a better defender than advertised.

8. New Orleans Pelicans

AJ Griffin, Duke (G, 6-6, 222 pounds)

Consistency is a question, not talent for the White Plains native. Griffin shot almost 50 percent from deep for Duke as a ready-to-go rookie and possesses the raw athleticism that should make him much more than just a spot-up shooter.

9.San Antonio Spurs

Jeremy Sochan, Baylor (F, 6-9, 230 pounds)

He defends, can play in multiple positions and has underrated playmaking ability. Sounds like a Gregg Popovich type player.

10. Washington Wizards

Jalen Duren, Memphis (C, 6-11, 250 pounds)

Duren is raw offensively, but he’s already an accomplished rim protector and finisher around the basket who can make a difference on the defensive end and hold his own in color from a strength standpoint.

TyTy Washington Jr., Kentucky (G, 6-3, 197 pounds)

The Knicks have needed a point guard for years, and there’s clearly no secret to their affinity for Kentucky players. A good size for a point guard, Washington is a capable marksman and his relentless engine will endear him to Tom Thibodeau in an instant.

12. Thunder from Oklahoma City

Malaki Branham, Ohio State (G, 6-5, 180 pounds)

One of the youngest players in the draft, the Ohio State Marksman was identified by a scout as a sleeper, a lookout with high ceilings and plenty of room for growth.

13. Charlotte Hornet

Johnny Davis, Wisconsin (G, 6-5, 194 pounds)

The Big Ten Player of the Year gives the Hornets more shooting and scoring on the wing, another weapon at LaMelo Ball’s disposal. He’s rebounding well for his size, and his 3-point shooting, up just 30 percent last season, will improve since he’s not asked to create his own shot nearly as often.

14th Cleveland Cavaliers

Ochai Agbaji, Kansas (G, 6-5, 215 pounds)

The Cavaliers still need more offensive firepower to continue their rise in the rough Eastern Conference and the veteran Agbaji would be a microwave goalscorer off the bench.

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