Paolo Banchero has gotten off to a strong start in his rookie campaign. Through nine games, the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft is averaging 21.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists a game. He’s a large, 6’10 forward who can get to any spot on the floor, make tough contested jumpers, and find open shooters around him. It can be funny to remember that Banchero wasn’t considered the top prospect in the Draft, and Orlando waited until the very end to signal he was their guy.
His early success hasn’t translated to many wins in Orlando’s season, but when Golden State visited the Magic on Thursday night, Banchero led his team to a victory over the defending champs. It was a surprising win, and after the game, Draymond Green heaped praise on Banchero and how he can transform his team.
— Al (@GarbageAl) November 4, 2022
“I really love his demeanor,” Green said about Banchero. “That team hasn’t won many games. I think that was their second win of the season. But they are competing, and if you are watching these games, they’re not getting blown out anymore. They’re right there, and they’re learning how to win. And if I’m being honest, I think his demeanor and who he is has a lot to do with that.”
The Magic have wandered through Eastern Conference mediocrity since the Dwight Howard trade. They have drafted some talented players over the years, and the Nikola Vucevic trade netted them both Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner. They had the infrastructure in place to be a respectable team, but they could never get the guy who could lead their franchise back to contention. It’s early, but it appears that Paolo Banchero is that guy, and one of the biggest names in the game agrees.