June 13, 2024
Magic rookie Paolo Banchero is on his A-game

Shortly after Paolo Banchero committed to the Duke Blue Devils
again in 2020, then-assistant coach Jon Scheyer linked the
5-star recruit with Jayson Tatum. Banchero picked Tatum’s mind
about playing for Mike Krzyzewski and what to expect at the
collegiate amount.

The two would keep on being in contact, which was rather surreal for
Banchero considering that Tatum was just one of his favourite gamers and someone he
modeled his recreation soon after.

“Coach Scheyer set us in contact when I dedicated to Duke, so I’ve
recognised him for about two several years now,” Banchero instructed Basketball News
prior to the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics squaring off on
Monday. “He was usually a single of my favorite players increasing up. I’ve
viewed him given that he was in superior faculty [and kept watching him] all
the way by Duke and now all over his occupation in the NBA.”

Final offseason, Banchero had some rough selections to make as he
was declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft. Once all over again, Tatum was there
for him each and every move of the way. On the lookout back, Banchero says that
Tatum was “the primary guy” who assisted him navigate the pre-draft

“He’s served me with a large amount, primarily when I was coming into the
league. Like all through pre-draft, I questioned him about signing with an
agent, signing a shoe offer – and I finished up signing with Jordan
Brand, in which he’s at,” Banchero told Basketball Information. “All of that
stuff [you do] coming into the league is stuff that I ran by him
and tried out to get his impression on, just due to the fact he was in a large amount of
these same positions that I’m in. I have surely made use of him as a
useful resource. 

“Obviously, during the time I haven’t strike him as much considering that
we’re both equally in-season, but he’s a male who was generally open. I necessarily mean,
he manufactured himself offered to me. He supplied me
his variety and mentioned, ‘If you at any time want anything, never be reluctant.’
And he just kinda took me less than his wing, and I appreciate him for

Tatum, who has referred to Banchero as his little brother in
earlier interviews, believes it is only proper to spend it forward to the
subsequent technology.

“I believe that is just our responsibility. Any person served me
[when I was younger], and any person helped the human being that assisted
me,” Tatum told Basketball Information. “[Paolo] is someone that I was
shut to although he was in faculty. Amile Jefferson is just one of my most effective
mates and he’s an assistant mentor at Duke, so all three of us
type of talked all the time while he was in college.

“I’m a large enthusiast of his he enjoys the activity and he operates hard. And
I know what it’s like to arrive from Duke and be a best lottery decide on
and have a good deal of expectations, so at any time I can support, I come to feel like
I’m obligated to do that.”

Tatum is aware of what it’s like to enter the NBA and instantly have
your idols become rivals. He’s just not utilized to currently being the a single whose
recreation has been emulated. 

“It suggests a whole lot. It is funny, I guess. I’m in my sixth calendar year now
and guys are coming in that are 19, so they’ve been watching me all
of their significant-university occupation and very first calendar year in college — the tables
have turned,” Tatum advised
Rookie Wire
before this time. “I remember getting in
that place and participating in towards guys I really admired and looked
up to. The best element about it is the regard is constantly there. The
way you present it is to go out there and contend. No matter how substantially
I like his sport or like him as a human being, I’m not likely to consider it
straightforward on him at all. I feel, even moreso, I’m hoping to guard him
and go at him to form of permit him know I respect his sport and I know
what he is capable of and things like that.”

In addition to Tatum’s mentorship, Banchero claims that other
previous Blue Devils have been there for him also. Paolo thinks that
this network of guidance (generally named “The Brotherhood”) is a single of
the major positive aspects of attending Duke. Entering the 2022-23 NBA
season, there were 25 Duke alumni in the NBA – the 2nd-most of
any application, trailing only Kentucky (27).

“Everyone hears ‘The Brotherhood’ being used and possibly thinks
it’s corny, but it’s a true issue,” Banchero stated. “Jayson isn’t
the only 1 [who’s helped me]. I have talked to Zion [Williamson]
a lot of instances. I have talked to Grant Hill a good deal and he’s served me
a good deal. A ton of men would come back again [to Duke], like Jahlil Okafor
came back, R.J. Barrett arrived back. All of those men, they’re just
all-around and they try to get back again any time that they can. And if they
were being in the similar metropolis that we ended up actively playing in back again in faculty, we’d
have guys coming to the game titles. 

“It’s just an elevator wherever they send out it back down and help the
next men out. I was definitely assisted by that, talking to these
men in college and hearing from those people guys. It allows you a
good deal.”

ROOKIE OF THE 12 months

Barring harm, Banchero seems
like a lock for the Rookie of the Yr award.

He at present potential customers all rookies in points for each recreation (20.8) even though
also averaging the third-most assists (3.8), 3rd-most steals
(1.1), fourth-most rebounds (6.4) and sixth-most built threes (1.4).
Banchero has the most 30-stage games (4) and 20-point game titles (26)
amid all rookies way too.

“He is just a tricky matchup,” Celtics ahead Jaylen Brown stated
of Banchero. “[In addition to] his talent amount, his stature is just
challenging in alone. The way they participate in, and the lineups they play,
allows him to be intense. He has been owning a stellar rookie
year so far.”

“He’s a more substantial wing he’s 6-foot-10 and he’s got to be 230
[pounds] or anything like that. He can produce off the bounce, he
can shoot, write-up up,” Tatum stated of Banchero. “He’s experienced a hell of a
year. I feel, of course, almost certainly Rookie of the 12 months. He has been
enjoying at a superior level. It seems to be like he has gotten greater each
thirty day period and is obtaining accustomed to the sport. I’m pleased for

The Magic are 3-1 versus the Celtics this year, like
a few straight wins. Banchero appears to be to elevate his activity versus
Tatum and other superstars that he when idolized.

“It’s super exciting,” Banchero explained of dealing with his favourite gamers.
“Going from Tatum, Luka [Doncic], KD (Kevin Durant), LeBron
[James]… it is kinda surreal at first. But then once you get past
it, it becomes even far more exciting than just actively playing a standard staff
due to the fact this is the most effective of the greatest. These fellas are as
very good as you are gonna see, so you’ve gotta be on your A-match.”

Banchero has been on his A-video game for a lot of the year, and has
stepped in as a focal position for Orlando from Working day 1.

He has led the Magic in scoring a team-high 18 times this
year. In December, Banchero scored 20 or much more factors in 7
consecutive online games, tying the longest streak by a rookie in
franchise history (which was earlier established by Shaquille O’Neal in
February 1993). Banchero would go on to generate the NBA’s Rookie of
the Month award for December.

Banchero’s greatest sport of the time was his 33-position, 16-rebound
general performance towards the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 5. He became just
the next teen in NBA heritage to document at minimum 30 details and
15 rebounds in a match, joining LeBron James. Just after scoring 30
details in the following video game versus the Houston Rockets on Nov. 7,
he turned just the fifth teenager in NBA record with back-to-back again
30-level outings, becoming a member of LeBron, Luka, Zion and Devin

In general, he has created the prep-to-professional changeover look easy.

“It’s been superior, it is just been a finding out method. I’m continue to
mastering, but I’m undoubtedly additional relaxed than I was at the
starting of the season,” Banchero explained of adjusting to the NBA. “I
believe as the yr goes on, things modifications. In this recreation, you have
ups and downs. I think I began off really very hot and then you gradual
down and then you heat again up, and that’s just kinda how it

“I believe that’s just what I’ve been understanding – how to maintain a
reliable concentration and depth that you can carry each night. There’s
so numerous game titles, so which is really just what I’ve been hoping
to understand and decide on up on. It is been a studying course of action, but I’ve had
a good deal of enjoyment so far.”

The Magic are now
at whole strength
and they’re taking part in their finest
basketball as of late, exhibiting glimpses of brilliance. In addition
to beating the Celtics a few periods, Orlando has defeated the Los
Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans,
Atlanta Hawks and Portland Path Blazers among other people in new

Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley has claimed that his young group is
very coachable and great about responding to the coaching staff’s
suggestions. Also, the players do a great task of keeping every single
other accountable, which is some thing that Banchero talked about as

“Everyone is below to help me — all of the coaches and a whole lot of
the fellas on the crew, they all hold me accountable,” Banchero stated.
“They never just enable me [do what I want]. If I’m out there generating
faults or not taking part in up to my abilities, they are gonna let me
know about it. 

“They’re gonna challenge me, and that is why I like them. They
do not hand anything at all to me. They just make positive I’m usually concentrated.
As a crew, I imagine that’s where we’re commencing to arrive collectively.
All people is preserving that interaction and keeping just about every other

Orlando entered this time with the fourth-youngest roster in
the NBA (with an common age of 23.94 many years previous), and there’s a ton
to be psyched about. Banchero and Franz Wagner are obviously
franchise cornerstones that the Magic can construct around heading
forward. It’s not straightforward to protect a pair of 6-foot-10 level forwards
who can produce for by themselves and others. 

The Magic also have loads of proficient items encompassing their
dynamic duo, which includes Wendell Carter Jr., Bol Bol, Jonathan Isaac,
Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs. Entirely, they have
13 first-rounders on their roster (which includes 8 lottery picks)
and could end up introducing an additional leading prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft
relying on how the lottery shakes out. (Can you visualize Victor
Wembanyama in Orlando? A lineup of Banchero, Wagner, Isaac, Bol and
Wembanyama could crack basketball.)

“They’re an unorthodox team to play against,” Brown added of the
Magic, “They’ve acquired that Toronto kind of sense but more time. Kinda
like how Cleveland was last 12 months. A good deal of bigs, a large amount of duration,
men who can address ground and get a good deal of deflections. Rough staff
to play against.”

With Banchero major the way, Orlando has emerged as a person of the
league’s most entertaining and fun teams, with the likely to be
terrifying excellent in a couple years.