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NBA Draft:2022 Orlando Magic make Duke’s Paolo Banchero the No.1 pick

The Orlando Magic selected Duke’s Paolo Banchero with the first pick in the 2022 NBA draft. They were able to do this because they had three good choices.

Banchero, who is only 19, is the 13th freshman in a row to be picked first overall. He is the fifth Duke player to go first overall, and the second in the last four drafts.

The No. 1 Pick, Banchero, is a surprise:

The No. 1 pick, Banchero, is a surprise: Most mock drafts had Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren going 1-2. He was expected to go in the top three.

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“This is one of my favorite times in life. I’m really happy. As a member of the Orlando Magic, I couldn’t be happier. Banchero said, “This isn’t even a dream.” “This seems like a dream to me. I always wanted to play in the NBA, but being picked first overall is crazy. “

Right after he walked on stage and shook hands with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, he felt sad. During his interview on ESPN, he was at a loss for words for a moment.

Banchero said, “I’ve never cried tears of happiness in my life, and I told everyone I wouldn’t cry no matter what pick I got.” It just hit me. I was unable to stop it.

Oklahoma City took Holmgren with the second pick, and Houston took Smith with the third pick.

The Magic didn’t have a formal workout or interview with Banchero, but they talked to him more than once and felt good about what they learned, a person who was familiar with the decision to pick him first told USA TODAY Sports. The person asked to remain anonymous because he was not allowed to talk about the process in public.

Banchero, who is 6 feet 10 inches tall and 250 pounds, might be the most NBA-ready of the possible No. 1 picks because of his size, strength, poise, and skills that he uses on both ends of the court.

In his only season at Duke, he averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.1 steals. He shot 47.8% from the field and 33.8% from 3-point range. Banchero is versatile enough to be the main player who handles the ball or the person who sets up plays. Banchero is a good scorer inside the 3-point line, and even though he needs to improve his accuracy on 3-pointers, he has the skills to become reliable from that distance.

It was Orlando’s fifth lottery pick in the last six drafts and its first No. 1 pick since Dwight Howard in 2004.

Now, the Magic need to get their rebuilding project moving in the right direction. They moved on from Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier and focused on a group of young players like Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs, Wendell Carter Jr., Mo Bamba, Markelle Fultz, and Jonathan Isaac.

But because of injuries, the Magic haven’t been able to play their best players.

The Magic likes how big and flexible they are, and Banchero makes that even better. Jeff Weltman, the president of basketball operations for the Magic, and John Hammond, who was in charge of the Bucks when they picked Giannis Antetokounmpo, were ahead of the curve when it came to players with impressive physical traits like length and wingspan.

Banchero said, “I think I’ll fit in well.” “There’s a lot of talent in The Magic. They go down a long way. They also have a lot of fast forwards like Wendell, Franz Wagner, and myself. Adding myself, I think that will cause a lot of trouble for teams.

Those are three 6’9″, 6’10”, and 6’11” guys with a high IQ who can dribble, pass, and shoot. I think that will give us a big advantage and make it hard for other teams to plan. “