It is time to throw away the American inferiority complex with its place in the sport, where many blindly claim that technique should come above all in choosing and developing the best prospects and that the U.S. is not an international power because it cares too much about athleticism.
Far-Fetched Friday: Banchero Makes All Star Team as Rookie
By: Khaqan Khan
Even before Chet Holmgren's season-ending injury, Banchero was the favorite to win the rookie of the year award, but I'm going to go a step further. I think Paolo Banchero will make the all-star team as a forward in the eastern conference. I am convinced he's a bonafide star. He can score, playmake, and I can tell the game is slowing down for him even though he has yet to play a single second in the NBA.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday, we look at Pp_doesit.
Seeing how he performed in the Summer League and even Pro-am, I'm reassured all of his great qualities that made him the top overall pick are transferable to the league. Yes, I know, it's just summer league and yea, I'm using pro-am to judge a rookie who hasn't even played a second of pre-season. But he has certain qualities that other rookies usually do not have. One is he already has an NBA-ready body. This isn't a case like Holmgren's, where we have to reserve judgment until he fills out his frame. No, Banchero is ready to roll. He's bigger than a lot of 3s and faster than most 4s. Watching him initiate contact during summer league to flow into his jumper was all I needed to see. It takes most players a year or two to learn to play with physicality, but Banchero already relies on it to get his rhythm. He's like a running back that gets better the more he gets hit in the game.
Banchero's size and athleticism already make him a mismatch nightmare, especially with his ability to play make out of the low and high post. Usually, when you have a younger player that relies on his force to make something happen, you can bait him with different defensive schemes. I don't think Bacnhero will dismantle defenses like LeBron James, but I think he's ahead of the curve in this regard. One of the more repeated talking points about Banchero in the pre-draft process was his basketball IQ. Everyone, including people that know more about basketball than me and you, praised Banchero for having a great basketball mind, and it shows. His decisiveness as a passer comes from confidence in knowing what he's seeing. I think this ability will lead to the Magic, sooner than expected, running their offense through Banchero.
That ability to read defenses and make pinpoint passes will allow him to make his teammates better, which will then open up his scoring because now the entire defense has to guard their man instead of walling up to Banchero in the post. Think of what makes LeBron so great as an example. Just as an example. If you send help, he'll beat you by finding a cutter or an open 3. If you don't send help, he's good enough to go one-on-one with his defender. Banchero, similarly, has that ability to be a bowling ball towards the basket but also use his footwork to get an open jumper out of the post. I think Banchero can have a similar impact. This ability will make the Orlando Magic win more games than people expect and allow Banchero significant numbers to help his case to make the all-star team.
My prediction for Bachero and the Magic next season is that Banchero should average 22 points with 4 assists and 6 rebounds per game. His impact should help the Magic ahead of schedule come all-star break. Will the Magic make the playoffs? I doubt it, but I wouldn't be shocked if they did. Franz Wagner is a perfect compliment to Banchero, the return of Markelle Fultz shouldn't be overlooked, and the depth they developed over the last few years should serve them well.
With his ability to be a mismatch nightmare and pick apart defenses, I think Paolo Banchero will complete the rebuild for the Orlando Magic and, on his way to greatness, will make the All-Star team in his rookie season.
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