On Tuesday, Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic received the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. Banchero received 98 out of 100 first-place votes.
Coming out of Duke, the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft made noise in the league immediately. Recoridng 20.0 points per game, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists, he lead the Magic with his impressive offensive resume, averaging the most points among all rookies.
In just his first game with the Orlando, Banchero recorded 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists. The last player to record 25-5-5 in their NBA debut was LeBron James in 2003.
Throughout his phenomenal performance this season, he shined most on Nov. 5 against the Sacramento Kings, recording a career high of 33 points and 16 rebounds. Despite the loss, Banchero established himself as one of the brightest young stars in the game.
Banchero helped the Magic improve this season, winning 12 more games than they did in the 2021-22 season.
In the race for the award, Banchero finished ahead of Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler and Oklahoma City Thunder wingman Jalen Williams.
Kessler was the drafted No. 22 overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves yet calls Utah home after being traded to the Jazz before the season started. The two first place votes that Banchero did not receive went to Kessler. Averaging 2.3 blocks and 8.4 rebounds, Kessler was a defensive force in the paint.
Meanwhile, Williams was the No. 12 draft pick and helped push Oklahoma City into the postseason. The Thunder ultimately fell short of the playoffs, losing to Minnesota in the play-in tournament.
Banchero joins Shaquille O’Neal and Mike Miller in becoming the third Magic player to win Rookie 0f the Year.
Banchero’s journey to greatness has just begun, and this award could be a sign of what lies ahead in regard to his NBA career.