Jun 23, 2022; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Paolo Banchero (Duke) shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number one overall pick by the Orlando Magic in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic ended weeks of speculation on Thursday, selecting Paolo Banchero from Duke with the No. 1 pick of the 2022 NBA Draft.

In some years, the No. 1 pick is clear, but that was not the case this year. Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. and Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren were both candidates for the top spot, as well. But in the minutes leading up to the draft, Banchero became the leading candidate. Shortly after the draft began, the Magic made things official, selecting the Duke freshman first overall.


The hoops world had a lot to say about the 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward going first overall. Feelings were mixed.

Given that Banchero was far from a consensus No. 1 pick, he’ll be under a tight microscope early in his career. This will be especially true if Holmgren, Smith, or both excel.

That said, there’s a lot to like about Banchero.

Banchero earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors, was a part of the ACC All-Rookie Team, and was a second-team All-American for the 2021-22 season. In his one season at Duke, Banchero averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

He does have some areas to improve upon, namely shooting and scoring efficiency. Scoring efficiency Banchero made 47.8% of his field goals, 72.9% of his free throws, and 33.8% of his three-pointers in his one year at Duke.

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