1 Stat Compares Paolo Banchero’s NBA Debut To LeBron James

Paolo Banchero, LeBron James, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

With the first pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic selected Paolo Banchero out of Duke. There is a lot of pressure on being the top pick in the draft, as it comes with some huge expectations.

Throughout the pre-draft process, many people thought that Banchero had the most NBA-ready game of this year’s prospects and in his first regular season game, he proved them correct.

The Magic traveled to face the Detroit Pistons for their season opener and he did everything he could to help the team win a game. Banchero finished the game with 27 points to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

He is only the third first-overall pick in NBA history to record at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in his debut.

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The last player to do it was LeBron James and the only other person to accomplish it was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Banchero talked about being in such an elite group after the game.

“It means a lot, I guess,” Banchero said. “Obviously, would have liked to win. But I just wanted to play hard, play for the team, and that happened, so it’s a blessing.”

That is the kind of response you would expect from a seasoned veteran, not someone making their professional debut. Banchero is happy with the personal achievement that he had, but it would have been made that much better had they won the game.

LATEST NBA NEWS: Paolo Banchero, LeBron James & Orlando Magic Updates

Despite the excellent performance, Banchero still found areas of his game that he wished he had performed better in. Despite shooting 11-of-18 from the field, he believes he left some points on the board that could have helped his team win.

“I left a lot of points on the board, like three layups missed, some shots I feel like I could have made, so a lot to work on,” said Banchero. “ But I wasn’t disappointed with the way I played.”

“Credit to my teammates for finding me. It’s always nice to see the ball get in that early, get easy buckets around the rim. That’s how I try to play, inside out. Try to get easy stuff around the basket and expand out and do more stuff throughout the game.”

LATEST NBA NEWS: Paolo Banchero, LeBron James & Orlando Magic Updates

While the Magic came up short last night, they have to be happy about how well Banchero played. He is good enough to be a franchise cornerstone and the team is loaded with other young talents to grow and develop alongside him.