By TIM REYNOLDS
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Paolo Banchero has been insisting for weeks that he believes he’s the most productive prospect within the NBA draft.
The Orlando Magic consider him.
The first select in Thursday’s draft introduced the primary gentle wonder, when the Magic selected the Duke ahead with the No. 1 variety — after weeks of hypothesis that Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. or Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren may well be those atop Orlando’s checklist.
“I will be able to’t imagine what simply came about, in truth,” Banchero mentioned, after embracing his mom — Rhonda Smith-Banchero, a former WNBA participant.
Believe it. The Magic are making a bet a large a part of their long term at the 19-year-old.
“I sought after to be within the NBA, however I didn’t know I’d be right here, guy,” Banchero mentioned. “I actually, in truth, didn’t.”
Banchero averaged 17.2 issues in his lone school season, in conjunction with 7.8 rebounds and was once a third-team Associated Press All-American. There have been roars from the group at Amway Center — Banchero’s new house court docket — when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver introduced simply previous 8 p.m. that the Magic have been at the clock.
It didn’t take lengthy for the Magic to ship within the respectable phrase. Banchero is heading to Orlando, with plans for his respectable welcome at his new house on Friday.
Silver is a Duke grad. And as is custom for the commissioner, he gave Banchero a handshake and heat include after the brand new No. 1 select placed on a Magic hat and took the level for his large second.
Banchero joins a tender core in Orlando that already contains 2017 peak general select Markelle Fultz, a couple of top-eight selections from the 2021 draft in Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony — the No. 15 select in 2020.
Orlando additionally has the No. 6 selections from the 2017 and 2018 draft, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba. It’s conceivable that once subsequent season begins Orlando may have as many as six lottery selections, 9 top-16 choices and 12 first-rounders on its roster.
This was once the fourth time that Orlando made the No. 1 variety. If historical past holds true, Banchero goes to have an extended occupation on this league.
The Magic took Shaquille O’Neal with the highest variety in 1992. Chris Webber was once the No. 1 select by means of Orlando in 1993, and he were given traded that very same evening for Penny Hardaway and a bundle of long term selections that finally resulted in Vince Carter and Mike Miller. And in 2004, the Magic decided on Dwight Howard with the primary select.
Miller has his fingerprints in this select as neatly: He’s been running with Banchero in fresh weeks, getting him able for the NBA grind.
Now, it’s Banchero’s flip to be the prized rookie, after Orlando made up our minds to select him over the 2 different extremely touted applicants for the No. 1 select — Smith and Holmgren.
Banchero additionally become the thirteenth consecutive participant to get drafted No. 1 general after only one yr of faculty.
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