Oh, Paul! Magic Select Banchero with first overall pick in 2022 NBA Draft

ORLANDO – Moments after the Orlando Magic received the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft in the Chicago lottery, agent Mike Miller approached Magic coach Jamahl Mosley to congratulate him and offer a simple message: “I have the number one guy for you.”

After extensive research, tons of movie studies, countless interviews, and countless drills, Orlando came to the conclusion that Miller, who coincidentally won the 2001 NBA Rookie of the Year honor with the franchise, was right.

And with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Magic selected dynamic forward Duke Paolo Banchero on Thursday night.

“I can’t believe what happened,” Banchero said moments after being selected. “I never imagined this would happen. I wanted to be in the NBA, but I didn’t know I would be here. I really honestly don’t. This is unbelievable. I can not talk now.”

There’s no questioning the offensive ability of the 1.80m, 110kg forward, Miller’s aforementioned client. His blend of coordination, cunning, finesse, fluidity, power and vision make him an absolute force on the offensive side of the court. For a franchise that has been looking for a number one offensive option for some time now, they may have found their answer at number 1.

Banchero becomes the fourth first overall pick in franchise history. His back-to-back pulls of the main ping pong ball during the team’s childhood allowed them to select future Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal first overall in 1992, and then engineer a draft night trade, sending Chris Webber to Golden State. to Penny Hardaway and three future first-round picks in 1993. These moves instantly turned the Magic into a 50-win club and helped propel them to their first Finals appearance in 1995.

In 2004, luck was once again on Orlando’s side as he picked up the first pick and subsequently drafted Dwight Howard. The perennial All-Star center won three consecutive NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards for the Magic and led them to two consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances, including a 2009 trip to the NBA Finals.

The organization put its faith in Banchero to help them get there once again.

“He’s a freak,” Duke assistant coach Amile Jefferson, who played for the Magic from 2018 to 2020, said on the Mostly Magic podcast. “His ability to handle the ball, handle, pass, his feel at that size; it just doesn’t happen. I spoke to someone a while ago and I’m like when you play (NBA) 2K, you maximize (your player’s) height, maximize how big they are, and then you give them a jump, handles, feel and pass. And he is like that, almost like that kind of player created. He’s got all the tools and the size, and you’re like, you don’t see that. An aberration, even for the new age.”

Unlike many former first generals, Banchero is joining a core that is certainly not lacking in talent. The group currently features multiple lottery selections including Markelle Fultz (1st Overall – 2017), Jalen Suggs (Fifth Overall – 2021), Jonathan Isaac (Sixth Overall – 2017), Mo Bamba (Sixth Overall – 2018), Wendell Carter Jr . . (seventh overall – 2018) and Franz Wagner (eighth overall – 2021) to accompany other promising youngsters like Cole Anthony, RJ Hampton and Chuma Okeke.

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