With the first pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic select…Paolo Banchero, Duke University.
Banchero, a 6-foot-10 forward, averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game as a freshman with the Blue Devils while having a 48-34-73 shooting split.
The Seattle native is joining a Magic side that finished last in the Eastern Conference with a 22-60 record, but it is a roster filled with numerous young players.
Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, last year’s lottery picks for Orlando at No. 5 and No. 8 respectively, are among the key youngsters leading the way, though Suggs is looking to improve on a rough shooting campaign.
Sophomore guard Cole Anthony led the team in scoring with 16.3 points per game while Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba enjoyed resurgent campaigns in the frontcourt positions. Adding Banchero to the equation allows more versatility for Orlando as all three big men can space the floor, with Banchero’s playmaking abilities bringing extra juice.
With the selection, Banchero became the fifth player out of Duke to go No. 1 overall. He joins Art Heyman (1963), Elton Brand (1999), Kyrie Irving (2011) and Zion Williamson (2019) in the list.
The Magic also have a second-round pick later in the draft, picking at No. 32.