Orlando Magic Daily 2022 NBA Mock Draft Version 1.0: The top picks are here

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Paolo Banchero, Duke Blue Devils
Duke’s Paolo Banchero spent much of the season as the top-rated prospect in the draft class. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Orlando Magic Daily Mock Draft Version 1.0

38. . F. Orlando Magic. Paolo Banchero. 2. player

I probably telegraphed this pick above. So it is time to go a bit deeper on why Banchero is my favored pick at this juncture.

Banchero averaged 17.2 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 47.8-percent from the floor overall at Duke. They used him in the post a lot as he was just simply bigger than every other player on the court. That is honestly the biggest thing that stood out about his time at Duke. He just towered over everyone on the court.

Banchero though has a pretty diverse game. He can work off the dribble and hit pull-up jumpers in the mid-range. He can hit the low post. He is a solid passer — 3.2 assists per game. And his 3-point shot took some major strides throughout the season — he finished the year shooting 33.8-percent from beyond the arc, but finished the last 15 games shooting 35.8-percent.

There are clear areas where Banchero can improve. He is not some runaway prospect. This is not a draft with that surefire prospect.

So you look for the indicators of future stardom. And you look for the best bet to get there.

Things turned for me during the NCAA Tournament. Banchero averaged 18.8 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 50.0-percent from the floor and 52.6-percent from deep. He displayed all the skills that make him a top pick candidate.

But the standout moment to me came against Arkansas in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Razorbacks had cut a large deficit down to five points. On two straight possessions, the Blue Devils gave Banchero the ball in an isolation and trusted him to get two critical baskets to extend the lead. He made them with ease.

His footwork and basketball sense to score are probably the best in this draft. For a Magic team that desperately needs a top scorer, this is the guy I think the Magic should be targeting if they land a top pick.