Hall of Fame Footsteps for Orlando Magic to follow
Hall of Fame Follow: Carmelo Anthony
Orlando Magic Follow: Tracy McGrady
What often makes the absolute players the best is that they are different from anything the league has seen before. The league had never seen a 7-footer who could shoot jumpers with the fluidity of Dirk Nowitzki or a bigger guard with the speed and touch of Dwyane Wade or a 7-footer with the passing and toughness of Pau Gasol.
Yes, they all took elements from players before them, but they were also all unique.
That is what makes Paolo Banchero so tough to compare and what makes him so exciting. There just are not a lot of 6-foot-10 players with his size, speed and scoring ability in the annals of NBA history.
And, at this point, Banchero is working out with a lot of those who might compare directly to him.
He spent time this offseason working out with Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant. Both are bigger forwards who have prodigious scoring abilities and playmaking talent. They are both more traditional small forwards despite their size.
But even the bigger Durant does not quite capture the brute force Banchero can play with. They are all finesse scorers. And while Banchero has that finesse ability about him, he is also not afraid to lower his shoulder and take some contact to the finish.
Of all the bigger scoring forwards in the league’s history, he seems like a bigger version of Carmelo Anthony more than anything else.
Banchero has noted Anthony as a favorite of his — someone he was starstruck to meet at All-Star Weekend just as he was starstruck to meet Durant in their first game. But there are a fair amount of similarities in their game, especially with Anthony’s penchant for isolating in the mid-post. It is easy to see where Banchero got his jab steps and counters when comparing the two.
Anthony averaged 21.0 points per game, grabbed 6.1 rebounds per game and shot 42.6/32.2/77.7 his rookie season. Those do look similar to Banchero’s 20.0 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game and 42.7/29.8/73.8 shooting splits. Anthony was certainly a better outside shooter.
Anthony is smaller than Banchero but he might be the best analog for Banchero’s game. And the kind of player Banchero likely wants to become.