In most NBA offseasons, it usually isn’t much of a secret which player will be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. But the 2022 draft appears to be an exception, as there are three legitimate contenders for the top selection.

Without a clear standout, top college big men Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero all have a chance to go to the Orlando Magic at the top of the first round.

Smith, Holmgren and Banchero each left after their freshman season. All three players were the favorite to be the No. 1 pick at some point during the 2021-22 college basketball season.

Smith is the latest favorite to be picked first overall by the Magic. The 6-foot-10 forward from Auburn has -160 odds at BetMGM to be taken No. 1.

Holmgren, a 7-footer with a lanky frame, is the biggest threat to Smith with +150 odds to go atop the draft. It wouldn’t be surprising if Orlando ended up taking a shot on the center from Gonzaga.

Some might consider the No. 1 pick to be a two-player race, but Banchero is still in the conversation with +700 odds. Not only did Banchero have the highest scoring average (17.2 ppg) of the three players, but his team went the furthest in the NCAA Tournament. Banchero had 20 points and 10 rebounds when Duke was eliminated from the Final Four.

Holmgren is considered to have the highest ceiling of any player in the class. He averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in 26.9 minutes per game for Gonzaga. Holmgren shot 39.0% from 3-point range.

Smith has a similar ability to stretch the floor and is viewed as more NBA-ready than Holmgren. Smith averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Smith made 42.0% of the 5.5 three-pointers he attempted each game.

Shaedon Sharpe is a distant fourth with +10000 odds to go first. Smith, Holmgren and Banchero are expected to go to the Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, in some order, in the top three picks. The Sacramento Kings have the No. 4 overall pick.

In 2009, Blake Griffin became the last player who wasn’t a freshman to be picked first overall. Deandre Ayton is the only center in the last six drafts to be selected No. 1.

Orlando officially goes on the clock Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Jabari Smith Auburn Tigers
Jabari Smith #10 of the Auburn Tigers reacts in the final seconds of the second half against the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 20, 2022 in Greenville, South Carolina. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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