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Duke’s Paolo Banchero ‘I’m the best player in the draft’

Andrew Buller-Russ

We’re less than a week away from the 2022 NBA Draft. Like in 2020, there is no consensus No. 1 pick. Instead, there’s a trio of basketball prospects who are generating interest for the Orlando Magic to select first overall on Thursday, June 23. One of those players, Duke’s Paolo Banchero, feels he’s shown enough to erase any doubt, dubbing himself as the top overall player in the incoming draft class.

While Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Auburn’s Jabari Smith may have an argument against Banchero’s claims, that’s why they play the games. The draft will provide the first chip on each of these young men’s shoulders, for whoever is passed up, but it’s clear, Banchero thinks he should go No. 1.

Paolo Banchero has the right attitude

After winning ACC Freshman of the Year thanks to a productive year at Duke in which Banchero averaged 17.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 3.2 APG, the 19-year-old appears ready for the next level. And he’s entering the Association with a high level of confidence.

“I feel like I am the best player in the draft and I feel like I showed that throughout the year. I feel like I showed everything with my skill sets and my intangibles.”

Paolo Banchero

Banchero saying he believes he’s the best player in the draft is exactly what teams want to hear. Who knows whether he’s the best, but players should have confidence in their abilities, and it’s clear Banchero isn’t shy about his talents.

The 6-foot-10 power forward is widely considered one of the top-three players, but with the top three players all playing the same position, it will all come down to how each of the respective teams view the incoming prospects. Maybe Banchero really will go first overall, if not, he’s expected to hear his name called shortly after.

The Magic select first, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder and then the Houston Rockets on Thursday night. Will Banchero be the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft?

Related: 2022 NBA mock draft: Full two round version with surprise Rockets pick