Paolo Banchero has been setting records in his first season in the NBA and his latest one puts him in rare company. On Saturday, the Orlando Magic rookie finished with 33 points and 16 rebounds in the team’s 126-123 OT loss to the Sacramento Kings. Despite the loss, Banchero became only the second teenager since LeBron James to put up a 30 point, 15 rebound game.
Despite the loss, Paolo Banchero became the second teenager to record 30 points and 15 rebounds in a game in NBA history.
The other player: LeBron James pic.twitter.com/Mw1PevnOpW
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) November 6, 2022
The Magic have started the season 2-7, but Paolo Banchero is one of the clear frontrunners for the Rookie of the Year Award. He has scored in double digits every game so far and his 33 points on Saturday is his season-high. On the season, he’s putting up 21.8 points per game, 7.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.0 blocks while shooting 44.4 percent from the field.
He’s got a strong combination of size and skill and is among the league’s most versatile players as a rookie. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft, Banchero spent one season at Duke University before declaring for the draft.
In the Magic’s opening day game against the Detroit Pistons, Banchero accomplished another feat not done since LeBron James was a rookie. He finished that game with 27 points, nine rebounds and five assist becoming the first player since James to put up a 25 point, five rebound, five assist statline in an NBA debut.
The Magic may not be one of the top teams in the league this season, but Banchero is certainly a player that can be built around. For a franchise that has not had much success lately, Banchero is a breath of fresh air.