It may have only been one game this NBA season, but fans are already handing the Rookie of the Year award to the Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero.
The Orlando Magic won the NBA Draft lottery, and the right to choose one of the top prospects in the class. Come June 23, the Magic opted to select Duke’s Paolo Banchero over Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. One game into his rookie season, and it looks as though the Magic made the right choice.
Banchero made his season debut against the Detroit Pistons in a losing effort. However, he was the star of the game after he dropped 27 points (11-for-18 from field), grabbed nine rebounds, and dished out five assists in the 113-109 defeat.
During the game, some Twitter users declared that the Rookie of the Year award has already been decided.
Twitter declares Magic’s Paolo Banchero the Rookie of the Year
One of Banchero’s most impressive plays was a dunk in the fourth quarter where he completely posterized Cory Joseph. Take a look for yourselves.
This was a historic performance by Banchero, as his 27 points are the most scored by a first-overall pick in their debut game since LeBron James dropped 25 points in his Cleveland Cavaliers debut against the Sacramento Kings back in 2003.
Additionally, per NBA History, Banchero is the third first-overall pick to record 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists in their debut game. The other two players to do so are LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The Magic may not have walked out of Little Caesars Arena with the win, but they have to feel great about Banchero following his very first NBA game.