Duke star Paolo Banchero made headlines last week after going first in the NBA Draft this year. The 6′ 10″ 250-pound forward will start his next chapter in Orlando as the face of the Magic.
Already, he has earned the support of Mavericks superstar, Luka Doncic.
Doncic gave Banchero his flowers after Slovenia defeated Italy 91-90 in the friendly match.
"I think he's an amazing player," Doncic said. "He has a great head coach, I know him very well, so I know he's gonna get the opportunity to him to prove himself ... I wish him all the luck."
Of course, without playing a single game in the NBA, there's no way to tell how Banchero's game will translate to the pros. All we can do is hope for the best and see how it plays out in the 2022-23 season.
Still, league executives have always viewed Paolo as the most NBA-ready of all the prospects.
“They have a young crew and see me fitting right in with my playmaking skills and putting me anywhere on the floor,” Banchero said on a Zoom media availability call. “Putting us together and trying to create something is a plan they have.”
Several executives consider Banchero the most NBA-ready of the top prospects in this year’s draft class.
"You know there's a lot of guys, obviously there's a couple that I really try to take things away from, that's LeBron, Jayson Tatum, Giannis, Carmelo, just guys who got a similar physical build," said Banchero. "But I also feel like I'm unique in my own ways and I feel like I take parts of all their games and try to put it into mine and add my own flavor to it."
As a team perpetually stuck in the Eastern Conference bunker, the Magic desperately need a star to turn their situation around. Paolo could be that guy for them, but the team will have to be patient and careful with his development as a player.
Hopefully, his career pans out, and Banchero goes on to become a true stud for the Magic.