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NBA Draft: Paolo Banchero Goes No. 1 to Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic chosen Paolo Banchero, a ahead from Duke College, with the No. 1 total choose within the N.B.A. draft.

Banchero is a 6-foot-10, 250-pound energy ahead, whose mom, Rhonda Smith-Banchero, performed within the W.N.B.A. He was a guard earlier in his basketball profession, and performed each soccer and basketball at O’Dea Excessive College in Seattle.

Within the minutes earlier than his identify was known as, Banchero sat at a desk on the ground of Barclays Heart in Brooklyn displaying no emotion on his face. The Magic have been on the clock and phrase started to unfold that Banchero may be their choose. Cameras crowded round him, however he didn’t outwardly react. Solely when N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver introduced his identify did his expression change.

He lowered his head, seemed up and smiled.

In his one season at Duke, Banchero averaged 17.2 factors, 7.8 rebounds and three.2 assists per recreation and was named the Atlantic Coast Convention’s rookie of the yr.

Three prospects have been thought to have separated themselves on the prime of this yr’s draft: Banchero, Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga and Jabari Smith Jr. of Auburn.

The Magic gained this yr’s draft lottery after ending the season at 22-60, the worst document within the Jap Convention and the second-worst document within the league. Solely the Houston Rockets, who had the third choose on this yr’s draft after a 20-62 season, gained fewer video games than the Magic.

This yr marked the fourth time within the franchise’s historical past that it made the primary total choose. The Magic drafted Shaquille O’Neal with the primary choose in 1992; Chris Webber, whom they instantly traded for Penny Hardaway, in 1993; and Dwight Howard in 2004.

The pairing of Hardaway and O’Neal yielded one N.B.A. finals look, however no championships for the Magic. Howard additionally led the Magic to at least one finals look, in 2009.

Later of their careers, O’Neal and Howard gained championships whereas enjoying for the Los Angeles Lakers — O’Neal in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and Howard in 2020.

Earlier than Banchero, the final Duke participant chosen No. 1 total within the N.B.A. draft was Zion Williamson in 2019. Banchero follows two guards — Anthony Edwards (2020) and Cade Cunningham (2021) — in incomes the excellence of being the highest choose.

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