There was much speculation heading into the 2022 NBA Draft, with many draft experts not entirely sure who was going to be the top overall selection.
It was reported hours before the draft by NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski that the Orlando Magic were likely going to take Auburn forward Jabari Smith with the first overall pick.
Being the top overall selection comes with huge responsibilities and expectations, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue thus far for Banchero through the Magic’s first two NBA Summer League games.
It appears Paolo Banchero may have circled this one vs. Jabari Smith Jr. pic.twitter.com/4igKqOeeiI
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) July 8, 2022
Paolo Banchero’s 6’10 look a LOT different than Jabari Smith’s 6’10.
— IG: BDahtTV (@BDAHT) July 8, 2022
Paolo Banchero with the smooth stepback over Jabari Smith.
8 points on 3-3 shooting thus far for the No. 1 pick. pic.twitter.com/fqNwsIpvop
— Michael Shapiro (@mshap2) July 8, 2022
Banchero did not disappoint, finishing the game with 23 points along with six assists and four steals, while providing a number of highlight plays in the process.
He showed off his excellent back-to-the-basket game in the first quarter, blowing by his defender for a monster dunk.
Number 1 draft pick Paolo Banchero abusing the rim early 😤pic.twitter.com/mrVuzLyfp5
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 9, 2022
He then showed off his defensive prowess, getting a steal and then finishing it off with a 360 dunk that certainly got the attention of fans in the arena.
Paolo with the 360 SLAM 😤pic.twitter.com/tdtGATx65g
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) July 9, 2022
Banchero then blew by Murray for an easy layup in the second quarter.
Paolo Banchero just makes it look so easypic.twitter.com/WXnOVzKypi
— Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler) July 9, 2022
Many have taken notice of Banchero’s performance throughout the game, and seem very excited about what the future could look like in Orlando moving forward.
Paolo Banchero got game. Great footwork and patience
— Ced (@cedfunches) July 9, 2022
*immediately places a Paolo Banchero To Win Rookie of the Year ticket*
— OddsChecker (@OddsCheckerUS) July 9, 2022
My initial scouting report on Paolo Banchero:
• superb court vision
• enthusiastic playmaker/passer
• strong, w/room to improve
• NBA-ready court presence/confidence
• confident ballhandler
• attacks mismatches well, w/fluidity
• 3-pt shooting stroke is OK but needs reps
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) July 9, 2022
Tuned in just in time to see Paolo Banchero thrown down a 360 on a fastbreak and Keegan Murray answer right back with a clean three. The first round of the rookie battle is fun.
— Alex Kramers (@alexkramers) July 9, 2022
Paolo Banchero has been impressive in just about every way, everything but rebounding. Just blocked a couple shots in the past few possessions. But the thing that stands out is how competitive he's been, much more so than described leading up to the draft.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 9, 2022
While there is obviously still plenty of time to go in Banchero’s career to go, he certainly looks like he not only belongs in the NBA but is also worthy of being the top overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft to this point.
The Magic have made the playoffs in just two of the last ten years, but things may finally be looking up if Banchero can keep up his impressive play.