June 24, 2022

Orlando Magic stun 2022 NBA Draft prognosticators, take Paolo Banchero with first pick

The Orlando Magic were given a rare opportunity last night, picking first in the NBA draft for only the fourth time in their beleaguered existence.  While their choice to take Duke forward Paolo Banchero wasn't exactly out of left field, it did fly in the face of the consensus that many draft-watchers and experts were predicting.

Experts had pretty well settled on the idea that the Magic would take Auburn's Jabari Smith, even if the Magic were in the interesting position of picking first in a draft with no clear-cut, undeniable number ones.  Every other time the Magic have had the pole position, the first pick has essentially been made for them. In 1992, they took Shaq. The following year, all eyes were on Chris Webber. Even their last number one, coming nearly 20 years ago, was locked on Dwight Howard the moment it was announced.

Still, Banchero is by no means a reach at no. 1. The 6'10 forward was the  ACC Rookie of the Year and first-team all-conference in his lone season in Durham. He joins recent draft successes Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs on the moribund Magic, who are clearly hoping to turn things around with a strong core of young players.
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