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Paolo Banchero reacts to showing out in Summer League debut vs. Jabari Smith, Rockets

Paolo Banchero Jabari Smith Jr. Magic Rockets

In what’s likely going to be an NBA draft class rivalry for years to come, the Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero outshined the Houston Rockets’ Jabari Smith Jr. in a 91-77 affair.

After the game, the Banchero was asked about facing the pressure as the top pick and the draft leading up to the highly anticipated matchup against Smith and how his mindset was going into such contests.

Via ESPN:

“No pressure. I got it tattooed on me.  No pressure, literally.”

It’s not figure of speech. Paolo Banchero got the words tattooed onto his arm right before he entered his first and only season with the Duke Blue Devils.

“So I’ve always dealt with pressure well, been able to handle it. And I mean, at the end of the day, it’s just basketball. There’s gonna be all the pressure, all the noise in the world, but at the end of the day you got to go out there and hoop against five other guys, so it’s like, ‘What really is it if it’s just basketball?'” Paolo Banchero continued.

Banchero didn’t have a highlight-filled debut similar to Chet Holmgren with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he showed the level of poise and decision-making that points to his potential to become a franchise-altering player for the Magic.

He finished with 17 points on 5-for-12 shooting, to go along with four rebounds and six assists on the night. While the win doesn’t count in the official standings given that it’s just summer league, it’s his potential impact on winning basketball on a starved franchise like the Magic that has the fan base excited.