NBA Draft: Paolo Banchero Enters No. 1 to Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic chosen Paolo Banchero, a striker from Duke University, who was ranked No. 1 total within the NBA draft.

Banchero is a 6- and 10-foot, 250-pound ahead, whose mom, Rhonda Smith-Banchero, performed within the WNBA. She was an early defender in her basketball profession and in addition performed soccer and basketball at High School of O’Dea in Seattle. .

Minutes earlier than his identify was known as, Banchero sat at a desk on the ground of the Barclays Center exhibiting no emotion on his face. The magic was on the clock and information began circulating that Banchero is perhaps their nominee. Cameras swarmed round him, however he didn’t reply outdoors. It was solely when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver introduced his identify that his look modified.


He bowed his head, seemed up and smiled.


In his one season at Duke, Banchero averaged 17.2 factors, 7.8 rebounds and three.2 assists per recreation and was named Atlantic Coast Conference of the 12 months.

Selected for the remaining 5 finest: Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga at No. 2 to Oklahoma City Thunder, Jabari Smith Jr. of Auburn to Houston Rockets at No. 3, Keegan Murray of Iowa to Sacramento Kings at No. 4 and Purdue’s Jaden Ivey to Detroit Pistons at No. 5.

Three prospects had been thought of to separate on the peak of this 12 months’s draft: Banchero, Holmgren and Smith.

Holmgren responded with a nod and a crafty smile after listening to the Banchero identify being known as first. When Silver talked about his identify, Holmgren set free a large smile, standing to shake palms and hug for a very long time along with his household.


“I bought a thousand emotions to categorical this time,” Holmgren mentioned throughout an interview that was introduced on the sphere. “It’s surreal and all the pieces I anticipated.”


Holmgren, 20, is a slim seven-foot-tall railway station who grew up in Minneapolis and was named Mr. Basketball. of Minnesota in 2021. He was a fellow scholar of Jalen Suggs High School, to whom Magic positioned fifth total in 2021. Each spent one season in Gonzaga.

Holmgren led Gonzaga to a 28-4 document and averaged 14.1 factors per recreation whereas making 60.7 p.c of his goal-scoring makes an attempt. He additionally scored 9.9 objectives on common and scored 3.7 per recreation. Gonzaga entered the NCAA event as the first total winner, however was angered within the sixteenth spherical.

A number of days earlier than the draft, rumors circulated within the media that Orlando had determined to elect Smith first usually. As Smith waited for his identify to be known as on Thursday, he appeared determined. When Silver lastly introduced his identify, one other candidate, Tari Eason of Louisiana State, jumped out of his seat to applaud Smith.

Smith, 19, spent one season in Auburn after a highschool basketball profession in Georgia. He performed for a similar Amateur Athletic Union staff as one other quantity 1 nominee for Magic: Dwight Howard. Smith’s father, also called Jabari Smith, spent 4 seasons within the NBA within the early 2000s.

Jabari Smith Jr. he was named the primary participant of the 12 months on the South-East Conference with the second all-American staff this previous season. Smith is a 6-10 foot ahead participant able to taking pictures from the sidelines. He scored 42.9 p.c of his 3 factors and a median of 16.9 factors per recreation at Auburn.

The first shock of the night time was Murray and the Kings’ nomination at quantity 4, contemplating that Banchero, Holmgren and Smith would enter in a sure order within the prime three. Spectators at Barclays Station exploded within the advert.


Murray is Hawkeye essentially the most elected Hawkye in class historical past. The 6-8-foot-tall striker received the all-American staff final season and completed fourth within the Division I League scoring 23.5 factors per recreation. He led the Hawkeyes to a 26-10 document and a first-round look within the NCAA event.


Ivey spent two seasons in Purdue earlier than asserting the draft. He scored a median of 17.3 factors, 4.9 objectives and three.1 assists per recreation in his second season.

The Magic received this 12 months’s lottery draft after ending the season at 22-60, the worst document within the Eastern Conference and the second worst document within the league. Only the Houston Rockets, who had been third within the draft this 12 months after the 20-62 season, have received fewer video games than Magic.

This 12 months marked the fourth time in franchise historical past that it made its first total alternative. The Magic organized Shaquille O’Neal with the primary alternative in 1992; Chris Webber, with whom they as soon as traded Penny Hardaway, 1993; and Dwight Howard in 2004.

Hardaway’s alliance with O’Neal has borne fruit instantly within the NBA finals, however there isn’t a Magic Championship. Howard additionally led Magic to one remaining, in 2009.

Later of their careers, O’Neal and Howard received the title whereas enjoying for the Los Angeles Lakers – O’Neal in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and Howard in 2020.

Prior to Banchero, Duke’s final No. 1 total decide within the NBA draft was Zion Williamson in 2019. The Banchero follows two defenders – Anthony Edwards (2020) and Cade Cunningham (2021) – incomes the mark of being the most effective nominee.


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