This year’s NBA draft class has a ton of talent sitting at the top with many teams desperate to get out of the league’s basement. Teams like the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets have pieces to work with but they still are in need of that true blue-chip player.
Paolo Banchero can be that guy for one of those teams.
Coming into 2021, Banchero was the second-highest recruit in the class nationwide only behind Chet Holmgren. Banchero was the top-ranked power forward and came to Duke in shape and a pro-type build already on his frame. His 6’10, 250 pound frame allowed him to use his size to his advantage in the post, but he doesn’t sacrifice the speed you want from a slashing forward like himself.
He made enough of an impact in high school to be named a McDonald’s All-American and the accolades would follow him to Duke. In his lone year at Durham, Banchero would earn ACC Rookie of the Year honors as well as being named to the conference 1st team. To cap it all off, he was named a consensus 2nd team All-American at the end of the year and would ride that momentum into an NBA Draft declaration.
For now though, here are some observations from my Paolo Banchero scouting report that make me believe he could be the best player in this class going forward.
When watching this Paolo Banchero scouting report, what immediately stood out to me was the fact that he works so well in iso situations. When he has the ball at the top of the key and is able to read what is going on around him, he is effortless in his ability to create for himself.
He has the speed and power to drive and finish at the rim, with contact even, and also has the finesse to dribble drive and pull up and knock down a mid-range jump shot. He also has the ability to pull up from three by creating with his dribble work, but his 3-point shot isn’t reliable as his mid-range jumper is; I expect that to follow suit once in the league.
The twitchy moves that Paolo Banchero possesses when he has the ball is something that I really think is going to give him an advantage over other rookies. His quickness in his movement and decision-making allows him to have an advantage over defenders on the perimeter as well as the post.
When his jump shot isn’t falling, his quick first step gives him the ability to blow by defenders and attack the paint.
A prime example is against Florida State; he couldn’t buy a jumper that game, and when he realized that, he went to his quickness to get past defenders on the perimeter and drive to the basket.
I think in terms of potential, you can get a good idea of how much I like him based on this scouting report. He deserves to be the number one pick because, long-term, he is going to be the best player in this draft in my opinion.
He reminds me a ton of Julius Randle whereas early in his career he relied a ton on his post and mid-range game but he has worked on his shooting enough to be a reliable 3-point shooter when need be. I think he could be a keystone piece to a Magic or Rockets roster and would be an excellent piece to go alongside either Jalen Suggs or Jalen Green.
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