Chris Carrawell didn’t want loads of time to acknowledge Paolo Banchero’s expertise.
Carrawell, an assistant coach at Duke since 2018 who performed for the Blue Devils from 1996-2000, remembers seeing him briefly in the summertime of 2019 whereas he was enjoying for the Seattle Rotary within the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.
He knew Banchero was gifted based mostly on the highlights he noticed and since Duke was recruiting him.
Once Banchero enrolled at Duke in the summertime of 2021 and began training, Carrawell noticed why Banchero was a consensus top-four prospect in his highschool graduating class.
“I’m an old-school cat,” Carrawell advised the Orlando Sentinel. “I watch how guys are in one-on-ones. Paolo, when you watch him play one-on-one, he got it. You see the ability to create the shot at that size. You put a smaller guy on him, he’s taking them to the post. You want to put a bigger guy on him, he’s taking them off the dribble. He can play off the elbow. When we’d have competition in practices or after practice, most of the time he was winning the 1s. Throw that into the team setting, he plays team basketball, but when you need a bucket he can get you a bucket.”
Banchero wanted even much less time to point out why he might be the No. 1 choose within the 2022 NBA draft — which got here to fruition in June when the Orlando Magic chosen him.
Banchero’s 22-point, 7-rebound school debut in a impartial website win over Kentucky and 21 factors and 5 rebounds in a win over Gonzaga two weeks later had been moments Carrawell knew Banchero was “different” than his friends.
“It’s the way he was doing it,” Carrawell stated. “Pushing in transition, capturing 3s, the one-on-ones, capturing off the dribble, midrange, catch-and-shoot, end on the rim — everyone’s watching these video games. He was by no means terrified of the second.
“He gets it done. Some dudes you just know the way they move their bodies. The handle at that size. You just know guys who are different. He’s different.”
That “different” is why the Magic drafted Banchero, who’ll make his regular-season debut in opposition to the Pistons on Wednesday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
That “different” is Banchero having the skillset for a go-to offensive possibility in his draft class, one thing the Magic have lacked for the previous decade since Dwight Howard’s departure.
Orlando’s not placing that stress on Banchero — not less than not from Day One.
Unlike many groups who draft at No. 1, the Magic already had a younger core stuffed with potential in place. They have 11 gamers who had been first-round picks since 2017 on their roster, together with seven lottery picks.
Banchero might be the ultimate main piece of the puzzle to take Orlando’s rebuild to the subsequent stage.
“That’s the great part about this team — we talk about doing it by committee,” coach Jamahl Mosley stated. “Yes, he’s the No. 1 choose and there’s rather a lot surrounding that. The nice a part of the group we now have round him is that Markelle [Fultz] has been the No. 1 choose [in 2017], Jalen [Suggs] was the fifth choose [last year], Franz [Wagner] has felt and skilled it.
“You’re not saying put it all on [his] shoulders as a 19-year-old. You say how does [he] best fit into this group that they all understand how good you can be and they’ll help you walk into that.”
Even if he isn’t being considered because the savior of a franchise that’s completed with extra wins than losses simply as soon as since 2012, being the accelerator to a rebuild comes with exterior expectations and stress — each of which Banchero’s conversant in and embraces.
Being a 5-star enjoying at Duke — throughout Krzyzewski’s last season no much less — will do this for a participant. He has the phrase “kNOw pressure” tattooed on his decrease proper arm.
Several folks across the Magic have raved about Banchero’s maturity and talent to remain even-keeled.
“I just felt like at this point I’ve gotten past it,” Banchero stated. “The NBA is so many games, so if you put that amount of pressure on yourself every game you’re going to have 80-plus games of being stressed out and feeling pressured. It’s too many games to worry about that stuff. Whether you play good or bad, move on to the next one.”
Banchero grew all through 5 preseason exhibitions, main the group in scoring (14 factors — 45.1% capturing from the sphere, 27.3% on 3s) to go together with 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals in 24.2 minutes.
He demonstrated better consolation in not less than one space each recreation — working pick-and-rolls, enjoying alongside Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr., determining when to go vs. making a shot for himself and the timing of defensive rotations.
Banchero averaged 17.7 factors (52.9% from the sphere — 37.5% on 3s) and 6.3 rebounds within the last three preseason video games.
“Every game, I’ve made a step in some type of way,” he stated, “continuing to build off that and get more comfortable.”
Whether Banchero will stay as much as the long-term expectations of a No. 1 choose received’t be answered instantly. No. 1 picks who’ve made All-NBA or All-Star groups usually achieve this throughout their second or third season.
“He’s 19 years old,” Carrawell stated. “He’s still learning his body. By the time he’s 23, he’s got a chance to be big-time. I can’t say if in 10 years he’s going to be the best player in his draft class but I know right now he’s the best player. And I know he’s the [most complete] player. IQ, passing, handle, shot creation, all of the intangibles, great teammate, skill level — he can do everything.”
Banchero has related confidence in himself as Carrawell and the Magic have in him. It’s why he isn’t shying from the expectations.
“I just feel like I’m that level of player,” he stated. “None of this was achieved by mistake. That’s the extent I really feel like I’m at. I really feel like I’m among the finest gamers on the earth no matter age or classification.
“When I’m at my best, there are not a lot of people better. That’s the confidence I have.”