Last week former Duke basketball freshman forward Paulo Banchero was named the best player to enter the 2022 NBA Draft.
It turned out that Orlando Magic agreed with him.
In a shocking turn of events, the Magic 19-year-old Seattle native was named No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft. 1 selected as a total option. Banchero is the next No. 1 after Zion Williamson in 2019. 1 became the fifth Duke player to be drafted.
“I honestly can’t believe what happened,” Banchero told ESPN after the draft. “I can not speak now.”
It was Orlando’s fifth lottery pick in the last six drafts, and the first number since Dwight Howard was selected in 2004. 1 option.
The 6-foot-10, 235-pound Banchero is as NBA-ready as any player in the draft and will be shortlisted for next season’s NBA Rookie of the Year. He earned the ACC Freshman of the Year honors, anchoring 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists on average as he reached the Duke Final Four.
Banchero showed the draft in a bright purple suit with a shiny watch and bracelets, suede shoes and a “P5” encrusted with diamonds around his neck.
Top pick:Duke’s Palo Banchero is no. Ranked 1st
NBA Draft Tracker:Live results, updates and selection grades so far
Impressively dressed:Banchero shines in the purple rhinestone suit in the draft
Banchero told The Athletic that the purple color of his suit was from the University of Washington (like “I’m sorry!”) After he stayed home and attended the Duke.
“When you get to the playoffs (in the NBA) you have to have a guy who can make and create shots,” Duke assistant Chris Carwell said of Banchero last week. “When the shot clocks down, you have to be able to throw the ball to a guy and make him create something. Paulo can do it now.”
Banchero no. The pros and cons of 1st place magic:
Banchero has all the skills needed to be a rising star in the NBA.
He is a mobile big man, he can drive a basket, post-up, hit the mid-range jumper and has a great ability to attract the double team and find the open man. His physical characteristics cause him to be unbalanced as well as his speed from dribble. Banchero looks set to be one of the biggest upsets any player will ever make in the 2022 draft.
He showed plenty of growth during his only season at the Duke under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krazyzewski and played his best basketball when the spotlight was shining brightly.
He averaged 18.5 points, 7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.6 steals and one block on four NCAA tournament victories.
There is room for improvement when it comes to his 3-point shot. Banchero hit 33.8% of his 3 in the Duke and although it looked good to the big man, the courage to hit those shots would allow NBA defenders to improve if he could not stay consistent.
If Banchero were better in that division, there would be no part of the court where he could not score.
David Thompson is an award-winning reporter for the USA Today network covering NC State and Duke Athletics. You can contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ daveth89.