Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero already has his eyes on his next objective: ‘I want to be an All-Star’ – Basketball Insiders


It was almost a year ago that Paolo Banchero was selected as the No.1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, as the Seattle native had been part of Duke for a year before turning pro at age 19. Now, it’s been a week since the foward conquered the 2022/23 Kia Rookie of the Year award. 

“It feels great,” the Magic star said about taking home the Wilt Chamberlain award. “I had my eyes on the award the whole year, and I just wanted to be able to look back and say I won it.”

At the beginning of the season back in October, Banchero proved his might ever since the first ball he recieved on a NBA court. It was the fourth quarter against the Pistons, and he saw an open lane and drove the ball straight into the rim, elevating over rival Cory Joseph, and delivering a poster dunk.

That night, the young player ended the game with 27 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks, joining LeBron James who was the last rookie to post a similar stat line in his rookie debut in 2003.

After his first match in the league, he never looked back, averaging 20 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per contest. You know, there’s a reason why he recieved 98 out of the 100 possible first-place votes for Rookie of the Year, as he led all first-year athletes in isolation points per game (2.8) and post-up points (1.5).

Now that he owns this worthy honor, he’s joined Shaquille O’Neal (1992-93) and Mike Miller (2000-01) as the only players in franchise history to take home the accolade.

Even though his raw and natural skill set has already positioned him as one of the best players in the NBA, he knows there’s still much to improve.

“The focus area is really going to be shooting, just getting my shot more consistent,” Banchero admitted. “Also trying to get in the best shape I possibly can, getting as much sleep as I can, recovering, eating the right foods – all the little things I can try to do to take it to another level.”

Even though this first year was a great step in the right direction, Banchero wants to take Orlando to the playoffs as soon as possible

Before Banchero arrived at Orlando’s shores, the Magic has registered a 22-60 record in the 2021/22 season. With the 20-year-old leading the squad, the Florida side made huge progress as they finished this past campaign with a 34-48 mark, and not too far away from reaching the Play-In Tournament.

Take a look at Banchero’s highlights during his monstrous rookie campaign:

So, no doubt Orlando is heading into a brighter future with Banchero at the center of it. However, the young star isn’t completely satisfied as his ambitious nature was built for greatness.

“This year was a great step in the right direction, [but] at the end of the day, we weren’t in the playoffs,” Banchero said. “Watching these [playoff] games and series just makes you excited. It makes you want to be there.”

Nevertheless, the Magic foward also has higher standards for his own game.

“I want to be an All-Star,” the 20-year-old expressed. “[I want to] get to that top-notch, top kind of section in the league where the great players are. That’s where I want to be.”

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