Put up-lottery NBA Draft projections for Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Walker Kessler

The order is set for next month’s NBA Draft after the Orlando Magic exited Tuesday night’s draft lottery with the No. 1 overall pick.

The Magic were awarded the top pick, while the Oklahoma City Thunder followed grabbed the second selection, by the Houston Rockets at No. 3 and the Sacramento Kings at No. 3 4. The NBA Draft is still more than a month away, with the draft combine starting Wednesday in Chicago. Plenty can happen between now and when the draft commences June 23, but it’s safe to say one of those four teams will use their first pick on Auburn All-American Jabari Smith.

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Smith, the reigning national Freshman of the year, is in the conversation to go No. 1 overall in next month’s draft. He would be the first player in Auburn history to be selected with the top pick, and even if he isn’t selected first overall, Smith is widely expected to be the highest-drafted player in program history. The Tigers have had four players drafted in the top-five all-time: Charles Barkley was the fifth pick in 1984, Chuck Person was the No. 4 pick in 1985, Chris Morris was the fourth pick in 1988, and Isaac Okoro went fifth overall in the 2020 draft.

Smith will be the 10th first-rounder to come through Auburn, but he likely won’t be alone. Fellow All-American and reigning National Defensive Player of the Year Walker Kessler is also expected to be selected in the first round next month. It would be the first time in school history that the Tigers have two players picked in the first round of the same draft and the second consecutive season that Bruce Pearl’s program has produced multiple draft picks after Sharife Cooper and JT Thor both went in the second round a year ago Smith and Kessler, who formed the most formidable frontcourt in the country last season, would also become the third and fourth first-rounders to come out of Auburn during Pearl’s tenure, joining Okoro and Chuma Okeke.

Now that the NBA Draft order is set, here’s a look at where leading draft analysts project Smith and Kessler to be selected next month.

Note: Allen Flanigan and Dylan Cardwell are still currently in the draft pool and have until June 1 to withdraw their names and return to Auburn for next season. Neither player appeared in any of the mock drafts used for this exercise.

ESPN

— Smith: First round, No. 1 overall to the Orlando Magic

— Kessler: First round, No. 23 overall to the Brooklyn Nets (via the Philadelphia 76ers)

The Athletic

— Smith: First round, No. 1 overall to the Orlando Magic

— Kessler: First round, No. 20 overall to the San Antonio Spurs (via the Toronto Raptors)

The Ringer

— Smith: First round, No. 2 overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder

— Kessler: First round, No. 22 overall to the Memphis Grizzlies

CBS Sports

— Smith: First round, No. 3 overall to the Houston Rockets

— Kessler: First round, No. 18 overall to the Chicago Bulls

Sports Illustrated

— Smith: First round, No. 1 overall to the Orlando Magic

— Kessler: First round, No. 19 overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves

Tankathon

— Smith: First round, No. 2 overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder

— Kessler: First round, No. 23 overall to the Brooklyn Nets (via the Philadelphia 76ers)

Bleacher Report

— Smith: First round, No. 1 overall to the Orlando Magic

— Kessler: Second round, No. 34 overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder

Sporting News

— Smith: First round, No. 2 overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder

— Kessler: First round, No. 29 overall to the Memphis Grizzlies

USA Today/FTW

— Smith: First round, No. 2 overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder

— Kessler: First round, No. 24 overall to the Milwaukee Bucks

SB Nation (one-round mock)

— Smith: First round, No. 3 overall to the Houston Rockets

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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