Orlando Magic Summer League: 3 up, 3 down
1 Up: Paolo Banchero
No getting around it or beating around the bush, the most important thing the Orlando Magic were going to see and learn from this Summer League was their first good look at top overall pick Paolo Banchero.
After all the subterfuge to hide their desires to pick Banchero and everything else, the Magic needed to have some evidence they made the right pick.
From the very first shot he took — a relocation for a three-pointer off an R.J. Hampton drive — it was clear Banchero was something special. Or, at the very least, he was a bit too good to be playing in Summer League.
Banchero dominated the minutes he played for the Magic, averaging 20.0 points per game and 6.0 assists per game in two appearances. He shot a 44.4-percent effective field goal percentage, but that came largely because he was feeling more aggressive and assertive in his second game, hunting for his shot and sometimes taking bad shots.
To be sure, the next step for Banchero will be learning what a good shot is and when to be aggressive. Orlando will be helping him discover that through much of his rookie season — and early career.
He put on a step-back three-pointer early on in his debut against the Houston Rockets. He hit shots through contact throughout both games. Knowing his jumper was not working in the win over the Sacramento Kings, he started putting his head down and getting to the basket.
He dominated there too and just punished smaller defenders. And when he was not hitting, he got to the foul line.
Still, the most impressive thing from Banchero was his passing. He only showed hints of his playmaking and passing at Duke. But that was on full display as he darted difficult cross-court passes and eventually took over all the point guard duties for the team.
The Magic played him everywhere and seemed willing to experiment with his positioning on the floor. That experimenting will surely continue as it just seems like Banchero can play anywhere.
That is all Orlando needed to see. It was clear Banchero could do whatever he wanted at this level — and sometimes played like it in a negative way — and so the team is just scratching the surface on what he can do.