Paolo Banchero was picked by the Orlando Magic with the first overall choice in the NBA Draft in June, and thus far, he has lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him going into the 2022–23 season. In reality, Banchero performed something that players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James didn’t manage in three games. Banchero’s effort against the Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, and Detroit Pistons helped him become the only rookie in NBA history to score at least 20 points in each of his first three games.
Banchero, 19, scored 27 points against Detroit in the first game of his career while shooting 11 of 18 from the floor. He also had nine rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. He then outperformed Atlanta with a 20-point, 12-rebound effort. In addition, he had three blocks and two assists. The Duke product scored 23 points, five rebounds, three assists, and another block against Boston on Saturday night.
Banchero’s skill set is exceptionally refined for a rookie at 19, and he physically seems ready to compete at the NBA level. He’s already requesting the respect of his peers after three games. Boston and Orlando’s star forward Jayson Tatum decided to switch onto Banchero defensively late in the first half of the game after the young player seemed to be settling in on the offensive end.
I felt like they were just too comfortable initially, so I decided to guard [Banchero],’ Tatum said, according to the source. “I take pride in defense, as we all do… And when an NBA player is comfortable and hits shots, they start playing confidently, and then you’re in for a ballgame. That is how you appreciate someone; I won’t allow it to be simple; I’m entering the contest. Whether a person is 19 or 30, you must attack them. During my first year, no one was patient with me.
It’s a reasonably significant tribute to Banchero, who seems set up for a very successful career, to have one of the league’s top players switch onto you in October’s first half of a regular season game. Banchero has indicated that he wants to win Rookie of the Year this season, and he will have an excellent chance of doing so if he continues to play and perform the way he did the past three games.