Even before the end of the college basketball season, three names were considered to be the top three prospects to be considered as the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft: former Gonzaga man Chet Holmgren, Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. and Duke forward Paul Banchero.
But since the Magic won the draft lottery and No. 1 pick, most rival executives and scouts believe Holmgren and Smith will be the top two picks, while Banchero is is the most likely candidate for the third overall pick.
According to betonline.com, Smith and Holmgren have been considered favorites since mid-May, and at one point, the top two rookies, but Banche this week Luo’s odds of being the No. 1 pick have increased significantly.
Why did the Magic choose Banchero? He’s probably the closest thing to an offensive option in this draft.
Banchero can score in a variety of ways—posts, lobs, cuts, transitions, offensive rebounds, mid-range pullups, and as a ball-handler in the pick-and-roll.
At 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, he has the size and strength to finish the game through contact, while also having enough footwork to get to his position deftly.
Banchero is a smart playmaker who can pass well in the post or on the move (forward 3.2 assists) and can act as an offensive hub, and the Magic could have the league’s second-worst offensive rating in 2021 After using it – 22.
He averaged 17.2 points (47.8% FG-52.5% 2-point shooting, 33.8% 3-point shooting), 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals and was named to the All-American Second Team and the Atlantic Coast Rookie of the Year.
Banchero stepped up his play in the NCAA Tournament, where he averaged 18.8 points (50% shooting — 49% 2, 52.6% 3), 7.6 points per game before the Blue Devils lost to North Carolina State rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1 steal in the Final Four.
“He shines late in the game — spreads defenses, runs the court, hits 3-pointers,” Ryan Black, who has helped direct NBA scouting services since 1996, said in a recent call with the Orlando Sentinel. Say. “I think the team will be a little worried about his defense. You have to play on both ends of the floor.”
Those concerns stem from Banchero not being a consistent defensive player at Duke and not showing great lateral movement speed as a perimeter defender. There are questions about his convertibility on the defensive end and what his ideal role is in that regard.
“He’s got a lot of offensive potential, but if you don’t defend, you’re not going to find minutes on the hardwood,” Black said. “In the process, you’ll see the top three teams play and see how intensely he trains. If he wants to climb that ladder, he definitely has to show that part – the physicality, the defensive part and that part. A consistent intensity. You could call it nitpicking. He’s got such a good offensive game.”
Sentinel Sports Final
Every morning, get late sports scores and stories from the night before.
It’s unclear how much Banchero has had contact with the Magic.
On Monday, Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman declined to say whether Banchero had visited or practiced for the Orlando Magic.
Sports Illustrated reports that the Magic “brought in” Banchero along with Holmgren and Smith, among others.
Smith trained for the Magic on June 9, and Holmgren met with Orlando’s basketball operations leadership on June 15-16.
“There’s so much trickery and game play, and I think one of the things we’ve done really well, done well, and I’m proud of our players to be able to say that, we’re done,” Weltman said. “It’s really important to act this way. No matter what the gossip and rumours are, I’ll never get involved. I’ll tell you we have more players than reported, but I’m never going to talk about the details of the visit or this or that.
“Honestly, it’s a good purpose because it’s important for us to keep the information confidential not only to let the players know they can trust us, but also when the team calls because I believe we are a team of other Teams know their teams can make calls discreetly and it doesn’t go out. The way you manage your information is a big part of this business so I’m not going to comment on any [those] something like that. “
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Send Khobi prices to email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @khobi_price.