Paolo Banchero is surprise No 1 overall pick for Magic in NBA draft
The Orlando Magic took Paolo Banchero first overall in the NBA draft at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Thursday, with Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren going to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Auburn forward Jabari Smith headed to the Houston Rockets.
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 22-60 season.
“I plan on bringing everything I have to Orlando,” Banchero, dressed in a show-stopping bedazzled purple suit, told reporters.
“First off, just a winning mindset, a work-first mindset. Just ready to get in with the guys and get to work. This is one of the best moments of my life. I’m super excited.”
While draft night shocks are rare, Orlando’s selection surprised many – including Banchero himself – with some experts having predicted sharpshooter Smith would take the top spot.
“I don’t even know what to say. I can’t believe what just happened, honestly,” said the 19-year-old Banchero, who helped lead the Blue Devils to the Final Four this year. “I wanted to be in the NBA but I didn’t know I would be here.”
Holmgren, a seven-footer, said he would use his size to help the Thunder, who were 24-58 last season. “I can use my length and my quickness to cover a lot of ground and take up space,” he told reporters.
Smith said he was looking forward to playing in Houston. “Ultimately I just want to win championships and be labeled as a winner, always deep in the playoffs, somebody always competing for championships,” Smith said. “That’s what I want to be.”
Rounding out the top five, the Sacramento Kings picked up Iowa forward Keegan Murray and the Detroit Pistons took Purdue’s Jaden Ivey.
The draft, which kicked off a week after the Golden State Warriors collected their fourth NBA title in eight years, featured a strong cohort of international talent.
Canadians Bennedict Mathurin and Shaedon Sharpe were selected sixth and seventh by the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers. Australian Dyson Daniels went eighth to the New Orleans Pelicans, Polish-American Jeremy Sochan went ninth to the San Antonio Spurs and the New York Knicks selected Frenchman Ousmane Dieng 11th. Dieng was later traded to the Thunder.
13) Jalen Duren, C, Charlotte Hornets (traded to Pistons via Knicks)
22) Walker Kessler, C, Memphis Grizzlies (from Jazz, traded to Timberwolves)