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Big Shoes to Fill

The Orlando Magic have held the number one pick on four occasions. Selecting Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal in 1992, trading for Penny Hardaway, Dwight Howard and now this year. Three of the greatest players in Magic History all selected or received through this coveted spot. Unfortunately, to have the opportunity to pick a player like this, you need a poor record and some great luck. However, without the type of star player offered through this type of selection, you’re cast to mediocrity. Orlando has had great success with their #1 picks, and on June 23rd, the Orlando Magic made their fourth number one selection.

After much speculation over where the pre-draft top 3 players would be selected, the Orlando Magic surprised everyone with selecting Paolo Banchero, Forward from Duke. While his ability and potential are not questioned for the first overall selection, the Magic were very quiet with their motives throughout this process. Banchero was +1600 odds to be selected first according to MGM as late as the Sunday going into draft week.

PROS

This selection offers them the best potential scoring threat in this draft. A 6’ 10” forward who can do everything on the offensive end, as he is too big for guards and too fluid and skilled for most big men. This combination reminiscent of elite scorers like Carmelo Anthony, Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant. He can score on all three levels, a rarity in the NBA, scoring 17 PPG in college while shooting a very solid 47.8% from the field. This is necessary for the Magic as they were second to last in Points per game last season. He is also a sneakily good passer, second on this year’s Duke team in assists. While 3.18 assists do not jump off the page, he was a primary ballhandler and used the attention from his scoring ability to help distribute to teammates.

CONS

I can see him instantly becoming the leading scorer on this team, however his ability to become a star in the league relies on his 3-point development and his ability to defend. While he has great size and a 7-foot wingspan, he was not great at moving his feet to cut off drives, opting to reach instead. However, he uses this size incredibly well while rebounding and offensively. As he averaged nearly 8 rebounds a game this season.

O’Neal and Howard both entered the league poised to be the next dominant big man. A new age big man has entered the NBA, mirroring Howard’s height with a silky shooting stroke. Paolo plans on being the alpha on a young Orlando Magic team who sneakily chose the best scorer in this draft class.

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