5 things we learned from Orlando Magic’s Summer League
Paolo Banchero is THAT dude
The talk from Summer League — even now a week after the team shut him down — is all about Paolo Banchero.
He was impressive on the court, averaging 20.0 points per game and 6.0 assists per game. Even with inefficient shooting numbers, he was clearly the best player on the floor for the Orlando Magic and for each team he faced.
Just the experience of watching Banchero in this setting felt like a refreshing turn for the team. They have not had a pure scorer and creator like Banchero in a long time.
And the rest of the NBA world took notice too.
The world was buzzing — and is still buzzing — about what Banchero could bring to the table. Even Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was singing his praises (and offering some warning for the Magic as they make their next moves).
That is a lot of buzz and pressure on a rookie right off the bat.
But Banchero has always welcomed that. It is where he has thrived.
And that is where he provided his best highlight of the summer when he blocked Nemias Queta’s potentially game-winning dunk in double overtime and then recovered on the other end to find Emmanuel Terry for the game-winning layup in the Orlando Magic’s win over the Sacramento Kings.
Banchero dazzled with his passing as much as his scoring. And he found plenty of defensive reserves to quiet some of the doubts that existed about his defense from the pre-draft process.
There is still a lot for Banchero to work on. He struggled with his efficiency as he looked to experiment and test out what he could do at the NBA level — a reason why a third game might have been beneficial for him. He also struggled with the doubles teams sent his way once they realized they had no way to stop him.
Still, life will be a lot different for Paolo Banchero when he has Markelle Fultz to set him up or can dish passes to Wendell Carter on the interior or to Franz Wagner on the perimeter.
The Magic experimented with him all over the floor — as the center and as the main ball-handler — and saw that he could handle it all.