NBA Draft 2022 Live Updates: Picks, Order, Rumors, Trades, Teams, News & Analysis
Top draft picks: Paolo Banchero
The third player in the top tier is Bancheroand while the Magic don’t consider him the top pick, some respected draft analysts rank him as this year’s top prospect.
It’s easy to see why, especially given the modern NBA.
Banchero projects himself as the most likely of the top three to become a main starter early in his career, offering a terrific feel for the game with the ball in hand and an ability to attack the rim and create dribble.
In his only season, he played 24 games with at least three assistswhile Smith played 11 games with at least three assists and Holmgren had six.
The ability to create shots for yourself and others is considered basketball’s most valuable skill, with LeBron James clearly the standard bearer. but with less explosive athleticism, Banchero more closely mimics Jimmy Butler on the offensive end, without the Heat star’s relentless defensive engine.
To be clear, Banchero is significantly taller than both James and Butler, apparently standing over 6-foot-10 without shoes, with a full-grown male body weighing 250 pounds. Given his size, his lack of a real first-pitch explosion — or post-rebound “wiggle” — shouldn’t greatly hinder his match-up nightmare ability from day one.
Banchero is too tall for traditional wing defenders who will have a speed advantage over him, and he will be too quick for guys of his own size.
He has shown he can execute the pick-and-roll and operate in a pass-first role, and giant playmakers like Luka Doncic and Cade Cunningham show that elite quickness isn’t mandatory at this size if you’re savvy enough and understand how to use power instead of speed.
The Houston Rockets are big favorites to select Banchero with the third selection, pairing him with one of the best athletes in the entire league in last year’s number two pick, Jalen Green.