NBA mock draft 1.0: What do the Pelicans do with the No. 8 pick?

The NBA draft is less than one month away. 

On June 23, the Orlando Magic will have to make a decision: Do they select Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith or Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick? This year, the top-three players are all big men, according to many talent evaluators.  

Thanks to the Anthony Davis trade and the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles last season, the New Orleans Pelicans have the No. 8 pick. They have already met with more than 15 prospects. They will have a prime opportunity to add a talented young piece next to their core. 

Here is our best guess at what each team will do in the lottery.

1. Orlando Magic — Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga, forward/center

Orlando’s decision makers have long been enamored with length. Chet Holmgren, a 7-foot big man who blocked 117 shots in 32 games at Gonzaga, fits that mold. Holmgren can handle the ball, finishes at the rim well and protects the basket. He’ll be a star if his thin frame holds up.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder — Jabari Smith, Auburn, forward

The Thunder has two building blocks in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. What Oklahoma City needs next to them is shooting. Jabari Smith is an incredibly gifted shot-maker. At Auburn, he converted 3s at a 43.5% rate on more than five attempts per game. On paper, a Gilgeous-Alexander-Giddey-Smith trio fits well together.

3. Houston Rockets — Paolo Banchero, Duke, forward…

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