The 2022 NBA Draft concluded with some surprising picks by teams. The draft projections for the first pick of the draft changed constantly with players like Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith doing the rounds, but ultimately it was Paolo Banchero who was selected with the first pick of the draft.
The 6'10" forward was one of the top prospects for a reason. Averaging about 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in his college career, Banchero showed extreme promise in his game. The 6'10" forward also was played as a guard earlier, making him a proficient ball handler as well a decent playmaker. All of these factors made Banchero one of the most versatile players in the draft.
Given the number of talents the former Duke forward showed, it was not a surprise that the Magic selected the 19-year-old. While we did see the 6'10" forward get emotional after his selection to the NBA, many fans found out that the Magic indeed were not the favorite team of Banchero rather, it was the Lakers.
In a tweet back in 2018, Banchero posted GO Lakers on his Twitter, which has raised some eyebrows of the Lakers faithful. The 19-year-old moving to the Lakers might be a move written in the stars, it seems. The last two Number 1 picks the Orlando Magic have had, eventually joined the Lakers.
In 1994 it was Shaquille O'Neal who was the No. 1 draft pick. While O'Neal had some great seasons with the Magic, his best showing was clearly with the Lakers, where he won three titles in a row.
The other top pick who is in the same boat was Dwight Howard. Howard arguably had his best of the seasons with Orlando, even making it to the NBA Finals with the team, but eventually, things fell apart for the big man. Joining the Lakers twice, in 2012 and then in the 2019-20 season, Howard was a rotational piece in the lineup but successfully won his first NBA title ever.
While Lakers fans will be hopeful that Banchero follows suit, the forward will be focused on the task at hand. With a bunch of guards like Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs alongside him, the Magic has a decent young core. If the trio mesh well, Orlando might have something special in their cards.