NBA Draft 2022: Orlando Magic select Paolo Banchero as No 1 pick

By: Sports Desk |

June 24, 2022 9:09:18 am

Paolo Banchero, right, is congratulated by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number one pick overall by the Orlando Magic in the NBA basketball draft, Thursday. (AP)

Orlando Magic took Paolo Banchero as their first overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday.

After leading the Blue Devils to the Final Four in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season, the 6-foot-10 forward was called first by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to begin the draft, beating out fellow first-year forwards Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith Jr.

Banchero, who averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 39 starts in his one year at Duke, will look to turn around a lackluster Magic after their 22-win and 60-loss season.

Fit check with the first pick 👀

Paolo Banchero x #NBADraft

— NBA (@NBA) June 24, 2022

“I had a feeling from the information I was being told is that it was just kind of up in the air,” Banchero said. “Orlando wasn’t really sure yet, and just to be ready for whatever.”

🌟 The Future Starts Now. 🌟

— NBA (@NBA) June 23, 2022

“I didn’t find out, though, that I was actually getting picked until about 20 seconds before the commissioner got on the stage. I didn’t even have time to really think about it or anything. It just kind of happened. I can’t believe it, but I’m ready. I’m ready.”

In the weeks leading up to the draft, Smith had been widely expected to be the top selection. But the Magic turned things upside down by taking Banchero. The order had been debated throughout the process, with Smith often considered the player who would go No. 1. Instead, he wasn’t even second, falling behind Holmgren to Houston at No. 3.

Take a look at the complete draft board for the first round of the 2022 #NBADraft presented by State Farm!

Visit the draft hub for more news and info on this year's draft:

— NBA (@NBA) June 24, 2022

“Definitely added a chip, but God makes no mistakes, so I’m happy to be here,” Smith said. “I’m happy to be where I’m wanted. I’m happy to get to Houston and just show them, give them what they picked. Just happy to be here.”

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While Banchero was a surprise at No. 1, Holmgren was always expected to go to Oklahoma City with the second pick. A 7-footer from Gonzaga, Holmgren flashed a wide array of skills in his lone season in college, averaging 14.1 points on 60% shooting overall and 39% from 3-point range while grabbing 9.9 rebounds and blocking 3.7 shots in 26.9 minutes across 32 games.

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Forward Keegan Murray, after a huge leap in his second season in Iowa, jumped all the way to the No. 4 pick by the Sacramento Kings. The Detroit Pistons, a year after taking Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick, took athletic Purdue guard Jaden Ivey fifth.

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