3 numbers to get excited about, 3 numbers to worry about from the Orlando Magic’s preseason
Be Worried: 63.6 FT% from Paolo Banchero
For the most part, I do not think anyone should be worried about Paolo Banchero. Banchero certainly is not concerned with his poor shooting in the preseason.
To a certain degree, the Orlando Magic’s key players all treated the preseason professionally. They did their work, did not over-exert themselves and moved on. Banchero admitted as much after his final preseason game Tuesday. The Magic probably valued their practices far more than the preseason games — yet another reason not to believe too much in what we saw during the preseason.
Still, Banchero’s preseason was really unimpressive.
He scored 23 total points across three games, making 8 of 24 shots and missing all four of his 3-pointers. Banchero was put on this planet to do one thing on a basketball court — score. I am not overall worried about his ability to ramp it up once the season begins.
Still, there is one stat that I am at least a little worried about because it was some carryover from the World Cup, albeit both with small sample sizes.
Banchero made only 7 of his 11 free throws. That leaves him with a 63.6 percent free throw percentage. It does not seem all that bad when you look at the raw numbers.
But this is coming off a FIBA World Cup where Banchero made only 17 of 25 free throws (68.0 percent). It was a key weakness for him in his offensive performance at the World Cup as he remained a free-throw machine.
But undoubtedly making free throws is a key to Banchero becoming a more efficient scorer.
If Banchero is going to get to the line a ton — and that is truly a translatable skill and something that does not really peter off until a player declines in ability later in their career — he has to make free throws.
That was a knock in his game last year. He averaged 7.4 free throw attempts per game last year (the most for a rookie since Blake Griffin). But he made only 73.8 percent of his free throws. There is definitely the hope that he could bump that up.
The ability to make free throws is typically something that does translate across levels. This could be a sticking point for Banchero and his eventual development.
Just something to keep an eye on.