Teams around the NBA are holding pre-draft workouts this week leading up to the big event coming up in less than two weeks. The Orlando Magic landed the number one pick and are expected to choose either Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith Jr. from Auburn. Paolo Banchero of Duke is ranked as the top player in this year’s NBA Draft.
Smith completed his workout with the Magic on Thursday and has another scheduled with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who hold the second overall pick. The workout was closed to the public, with only personnel from the team allowed to attend. Many of the Magic players turned out to watch Smith showcase his skills, including Mo Bamba and Cole Anthony.
The 19-year-old Smith averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in his only season with the Tigers. He also shot 42% from three-point range and 43% from the field overall. In addition, Smith was a standout on the defensive end, which could be the difference in him becoming the top selection by the Magic.
The NBA Finals continue on Friday night with the Golden State Warriors attempting to tie the series against the Boston Celtics in Game 4. Here’s what’s expected for tonight’s important matchup.
Celtics Now Favored To Win Championship
At the start of the NBA Finals, Golden State was the favorite to win their fourth title in the last seven seasons. However, since the Celtics stole Game 1 in San Francisco and successfully defended their home court in the first game in Boston, they are now favored to take the title over the Warriors as we move to Game 4.
Most experts agree that at this point, the series is still up in the air. However, even if Boston takes a 3-1 lead after tonight, the Warriors still have a chance to win the championship with their potent offense that can run any team out of the gym on any given night.
They also boast the league’s second-ranked defense that can shut down most teams when they play well. However, Golden State would have to defy the odds if they lose tonight, and be only the second team ever to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals. This is a feat accomplished against them by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
Warriors Face Uphill Battle
The Warriors were dominated by Boston in the paint in Game 3 and need to figure out how to counter that in tonight’s matchup. The Celtics outrebounded Golden State 47-31 on Wednesday, with their starters pulling down 40 of them. Coach Steve Kerr must come up with a new formula to deal with the big men on the Celtics, which will be complicated with their smaller lineup.
Boston is looking for its second straight win at home, which they only accomplished once in the playoffs during their sweep of the Brooklyn Nets in the first round and are just 6-4 at TD Garden in the postseason. A win in Game 4 could give them the confidence to continue their outstanding play on the road, where they are 8-3, and help them wrap up the series in five.
Golden State holds the NBA record with one win on the road in 26 consecutive playoff series. If they don’t continue that streak in tonight’s game, they may not even make it to Game 6 in Boston, where they would have a second chance to add to the record with a win.
Boston will get the win to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.