NEW YORK — The Orlando Magic selected Duke forward Paolo Banchero with the first pick in the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday night. After weeks of Auburn's Jabari Smith being projected as the consensus top pick, the Magic shocked everyone by selecting Banchero.
Banchero is the second No. 1 pick in the last four years for the Blue Devils (Zion Williamson went No. 1 to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019), and the fifth top overall pick in program history. Banchero, a 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward, averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 33 minutes over 39 games for the Blue Devils.
2022 NBA draft No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero's impressive resume
The Seattle native was fourth in rebounds in the ACC and recorded 12 double-doubles this past season. Banchero was named the ACC Rookie of the Year and a member of the All-ACC first team last season before declaring for the draft.
Banchero's mom, Rhonda, played college basketball at Washington and is still the all-time scoring leader for the women's program. She was drafted in the third round of the 2000 WNBA draft and played six seasons with the Sacramento Monarchs.
"Some of my earliest memories are just being in the gym, being at practices and watching her play," Banchero told Yahoo Sports. "She's helped mold me into the player I am today and taught me a lot."
How Paolo Banchero fits with the Orlando Magic
This was the first No. 1 draft pick for the Orlando Magic since 2004 when they selected Dwight Howard with the overall pick. In the last two drafts, the Magic have added talent to their backcourt after taking Cole Anthony with the 15th pick in 2020 and Jalen Suggs (No. 5) and Franz Wagner (No. 8) in 2021.
Banchero will fill a much-needed void in the paint alongside Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba next season as the Magic look to improve on their 22-60 record last season.