Wednesday was a night to remember for Orlando Magic star Paolo Banchero, who made history by being the first rookie since LeBron James to open his NBA career with at least 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
Despite the Magic’s heartbreaking loss, Banchero expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be in The King’s company, adding it “means a lot.”
Even though he put in a strong performance with 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, there was obvious dissatisfaction on his face. Paolo Banchero did everything in his power to ensure that his side won the game, which ended with a score of 113-109 in favour of Detroit.
Banchero, the top overall pick in the 2022 draught, more than met the bar. The former Duke standout bullied the Pistons, using his powerful physique to regularly get to the cup and finish. At one point, he even featured Cory Joseph in a poster with a brutal dunk:
PAOLO BANCHERO POSTER DUNK pic.twitter.com/lsDQSa3K69
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) October 20, 2022
There, Banchero appears to be a mature man. Banchero went 11 for 18 from the field and 5 for 7 from the charity stripe, doing all of his damage inside. He didn’t attempt a single three-point shot, despite the fact that we are aware of his ability to make triples.
It’s also significant to note that, other from LeBron James and Paolo Banchero, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the only other player to record these kinds of stats in their initial NBA appearances:
Since 1969, only three No. 1 overall picks have dropped 25+ PTS, 5+ REB, and 5+ AST in their NBA debut.
Paolo Banchero pic.twitter.com/IFmdWyBUT0
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) October 20, 2022
a portent of Banchero’s future? It might be. For the first time in many years, Orlando has cause for optimism thanks to a promising core that includes Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, and Banchero.
In his NBA debut against the Pistons, Paolo Banchero reacts to going “all LeBron James.” The piece originally appeared on ClutchPoints.