Paolo Banchero: Orlando Magic’s new offensive engine
Paolo Banchero’s work out of the mid-post is as artful as it is brutal.
He pairs ballerina-like footwork with tank-like physicality. Merging these traits with excellent ballhandling, stutter-rip game, quick step fakes and a pull-up threat endows him with sun-esque scoring gravity.
There was room for growth in these situations as Banchero did often get stymied by larger defenders who could match him physically. At times, he was over-reliant on bully-ball and when that was not moving the needle and his mid-range game was not falling, he was rendered inefficient on the ball.
His first step is elite for his size, but not elite for a primary ball-handler. He was forced to spin back on many of his drives— often quite effectively — like Pascal Siakam. This is a concern at the next level because it is more difficult to collapse defenses and draw fouls consistently when you are beaten to your initial spot.
Much of Banchero’s playmaking is predicated on his incredible scoring ability, so slimming down slightly in exchange for a bit more burst will help Banchero in the long run.
Banchero is also quite nice off-ball and is exquisite in transition and secondary break. He will look lightyears better in these aspects on an NBA floor.
The passing ecosystem at Duke was a bit gnarly. There are many instances of Banchero excellently cutting, sealing or establishing a deep post position against switches and the ball never finds his hands.
This will change with the Orlando Magic. Orlando has a plethora of quality interior passers and playmakers. Banchero will be able to eat and eat well.
Banchero is also an absolute runaway freight train in transition, something Orlando desperately needs. He was always labeled the most dangerous man off a rebound and he was an automatic bucket in 2-on-1 situations — almost always executing a beautiful give-and-go resulting in an explosive alley-oop.
He has limitless grab-and-go facilities and will form a god-tier synergy with Markelle Fultz on the break. Banchero’s conditioning will need to improve to fully capitalize on his ability as an off-ball and transition player, but this will happen if he truly desires to be great.