Magic rookie Paolo Banchero gets brutally honest on having a target on his back as 2022 no. 1 pick
It looks like Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero is ready to embrace the challenge and pressure that comes with being the no. 1 overall pick of his draft class.
As he gears up for the upcoming Las Vegas Summer League, Banchero opened up about being the top overall selection of the 2022 NBA Draft and the target that’s put on his back because of it. The former Duke star, however, is not backing down and wouldn’t want it any other way.
Besides, he’s already used to being targeted since he has been a major prospect since high school and college.
“I’ve kinda always had a target on my back since high school. Going to Duke, it was the same thing. I was a projected top pick so every guy I went against wanted to get the best of me. It is going to be the same thing in summer league and it is going to be the same thing in the NBA. I just gotta be ready for it and accept the challenge,” Banchero said, per Cody Taylor of USA Today.
While Paolo Banchero going no. 1 came as a surprise to some–especially since he was battling with Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr. for the top pick–there is no denying that he has the talent and skills to make a major impact right from the start.
In his one-and-done season in Duke, he averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steal per game, along with nearly one block per contest. He has good size and moves well for a big man, bringing a ton of his offensive upside to the Magic. While he has room to improve defensively, he has proven to be a great all-around player.
It remains to be seen how the Magic will utilize him, but the good thing is Banchero is hungry and motivated to show everyone why he’s no. 1 in his class.