The Orlando Magic are hoping that former Duke forward Paolo Banchero becomes the face of the franchise for years to come.
Banchero was selected first overall in the 2022 NBA Draft last month. He joins Shaquille O’Neal (1992), Chris Webber (1993) and Dwight Howard (2004) as players selected by the Magic with the No. 1 overall pick.
We conclude a two-part series, examining how Banchero is similar and different to Orlando’s past top picks. Here’s a look at five differences:
1. From the Pacific Northwest
Of the Magic’s four No. 1 picks, Banchero is the only one who hails from the Pacific time zone. He played his college basketball at Duke but the 6-foot-10 rookie is a native of Seattle. O’Neal was born in New Jersey and played high school basketball in Texas before attending LSU. Webber is a native of Detroit and played collegiately at Michigan. Howard, from Atlanta, entered the NBA straight out of high school.
2. One and Done
It’s pretty common for top overall NBA draft picks to play just one year of college basketball now but Paolo Banchero is the first “one-and-done” selected first overall by the Magic. O’Neal spent three years at LSU while Webber spent two at Michigan. Howard was drafted straight out of high school.
3. Citizen of Another Country
Born to an American mother and Italian father, Banchero holds dual citizenship in the United States and Italy. That was the case for neither of Orlando’s three prior top overall picks. Banchero is eligible to play for the Italian National Team.
4. Played College Basketball in the ACC
Over the years, the ACC has produced more NBA draft picks than any other collegiate conference. Banchero, however, is the first top overall pick of the Magic to play in the conference. Banchero led Duke to a regular season ACC title last season and ultimately, the Final Four. O’Neal played in the SEC at LSU while Webber played in the Big Ten at Michigan. As mentioned before, Howard did not attend college.
5. Didn’t Average a Double-Double
Of the four No. 1 overall picks of the Orlando Magic, Banchero is the only one not to average a double-double in the season prior to entering the draft. Howard did not play college basketball, but as a high school senior at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, he averaged 25 points, 18 rebounds, 8.1 blocks and 3.5 assists per game. O’Neal and Webber averaged double-doubles in each of their five combined seasons on campus. For his career, O’Neal averaged 21.6 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in three seasons at LSU. In two years at Michigan, Webber averaged 17.4 points and 10 rebounds.