The Orlando Magic made Paolo Banchero the No.1 overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft a few weeks ago. In his first appearance with the team, Banchero showed why he had been the top selection in the latest draft.
From the jump, Banchero was seemingly out to prove his top-pick status and did so with all manner of shots as the Magic won 91-77 vs the Houston Rockets in the opening night of the Las Vegas Summer League.
Banchero had 17 points, four rebounds and six assists, delivering some great basketball highlights and showing his all-around repertoire. The Italian forward went up against Jabari Smith Jr., who was the projected No.1 pick before the Magic select Banchero.
Smith had a somewhat quiet night (10 points, seven rebounds, three assists) but also offered some great moments. On the other side, Banchero finished with 5-of-12 shooting, 2-of-3 from 3-point range and 5-of-5 from the free throw line.
“I can be a go-to guy and impact winning at the same time, not a guy who’s gonna hurt the team,” the Magic rookie said. “You know, I feel like I’ve got the ball in my hands a lot, and provide scoring, assisting, rebounding for the team,” he continued.
The Duke product hit a couple of 3-pointers -one on a catch-and-shoot opportunity on the wing and the other on a difficult step-back from the top of the key over Smith. Another Magic rookie led the team in scoring as the second-round pick Caleb Houstan scored 20.