NBA Draft

Magic take Duke’s Paolo Banchero with No. 1 overall pick in draft

Reuters
Magic take Duke’s Paolo Banchero with No. 1 overall pick in draft

TOP CHOICE. Paolo Banchero shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the No. 1 overall pick.

Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Duke University star Paolo Banchero looks to turn around an Orlando Magic squad that had a lackluster season

NEW YORK, USA – The Orlando Magic selected Duke forward Paolo Banchero with the first overall pick of the NBA Draft at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Thursday, June 23 (Friday, June 24, Manila time).

The 6-foot-10 Banchero averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a freshman last season for Duke. He also contributed defensively with 41 steals and 36 blocked shots.

Banchero is the fourth Duke player to be the No. 1 overall pick. The others are Elton Brand (1999 by the Chicago Bulls), Kyrie Irving (2011, Cleveland Cavaliers), and Zion Williamson (2019, New Orleans Pelicans).

“I don’t even know what to say. I can’t believe what just happened, honestly,” said the 19-year-old forward, who helped lead the Blue Devils to the Final Four this year.

Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren went to the Oklahoma City Thunder as the No. 2 overall pick, and Auburn forward Jabari Smith headed to the Houston Rockets as the third selection.

“I wanted to be in the NBA but I didn’t know I would be here,” said Banchero.

While draft night shocks are rare, Orlando’s selection surprised many – including Banchero himself – with some experts having predicted sharpshooter Smith would take the top spot.

This was the fourth time the Magic selected first overall in the NBA Draft. Orlando drafted Shaquille O’Neal in 1992, Chris Webber (traded to the Golden State Warriors) in 1993, and Dwight Howard in 2004.

The Magic went 22-60 last season, the second-worst record in the NBA. Orlando won the right to pick first in the draft lottery.

Holmgren, who stands at 7 feet, said he would use his size to help the Thunder, who were 24-58 last season.

“I can use my length and my quickness to cover a lot of ground and take up space,” he told reporters.

Smith was billed by many draft experts as the probable No. 1 overall pick but didn’t seem the least bit dismayed about going third. He will have a chance to make an immediate impact with the Rockets, who were a league-worst 20-62 last season.

“I can fit any NBA system with my shooting ability and my love for defense,” Smith said. “I can come right in and make an instant impact.”

Smith, who averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Tigers, is the highest-drafted player in Auburn history. Chuck Person (1986, Pacers) and Chris Morris (1988, Nets) both went fourth.

Rounding out the top five, the Sacramento Kings picked up Iowa forward Keegan Murray and the Detroit Pistons took Purdue’s Jaden Ivey.

The draft, which kicked off a week after the Golden State Warriors collected their fourth NBA title in eight years, featured a strong cohort of international talent.

Canadians Bennedict Mathurin and Shaedon Sharpe were selected sixth and seventh by the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively.

Australian Dyson Daniels went eighth to the New Orleans Pelicans, Polish-American Jeremy Sochan went ninth to the San Antonio Spurs, and the New York Knicks selected Frenchman Ousmane Dieng 11th.

2022 NBA Draft selection, first round:

  1. Paolo Banchero – Orlando Magic
  2. Chet Holmgren – Oklahoma City Thunder
  3. Jabari Smith – Houston Rockets
  4. Keegan Murray – Sacramento Kings
  5. Jaden Ivey – Detroit Pistons
  6. Bennedict Mathurin – Indiana Pacers
  7. Shaedon Sharpe – Portland Trail Blazers
  8. Dyson Daniels – New Orleans Pelicans
  9. Jeremy Sochan – San Antonio Spurs
  10. Johnny Davis – Washington Wizards
  11. Ousmane Dieng – New York Knicks
  12. Jalen Wiliams – Oklahoma City Thunder
  13. Jalen Duren – Charlotte Hornets
  14. Ochai Agbaji – Cleveland Cavaliers
  15. Mark Williams – Charlotte Hornets
  16. AJ Griffin – Atlanta Hawks
  17. Tari Eason – Houston Rockets
  18. Dalen Terry – Chicago Bulls
  19. Jake LaRavia – Minnesota Timberwolves
  20. Malaki Branham – San Antonio Spurs
  21. Christian Braun – Denver Nuggets
  22. Walker Kessler – Memphis Grizzlies
  23. David Roddy – Philadelphia Sixers
  24. MarJon Beauchamp – Milwaukee Bucks
  25. Blake Wesley – San Antonio Spurs
  26. Wendell Moore – Minnesota Timberwolves
  27. Nikola Jovic – Miami Heat
  28. Patrick Baldwin Jr. – Golden State Warriors
  29. TyTy Washington – Memphis Grizzlies
  30. Peyton Watson – Oklahoma City Thunder

– Rappler.com