The Orlando Magic selected No. 1 overall to lead off the 2022 NBA Draft from Barclays in the Big Apple Thursday evening.
In the weeks leading up to the annual event, former Auburn star Jabari Smith was the odds-on favorite to head to Orlando. But with the Magic mere minutes from making their selection, reports indicated that Duke’s Paolo Banchero was going to be the guy.
Orlando made that official when it was on the clock, taking the forward with the first selection and sending the rest of the NBA world into a frenzy.
This isn’t to say Banchero is a bad selection for the Orlando Magic. He led Duke to the Final 4 as a freshman and proved himself to be an elite talent on both ends of the court. Rather, the surprising nature of the pick threw pretty much everyone for a loop.
After averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists on 48% shooting from the field as a frehsman, Banchero now adds to a talented young core for a downtrodden Magic team.