Orlando Magic's world revolves around their trust in Paolo Banchero

It has been a while since the Orlando Magic had a star they could sit back and marvel at. Sunday's win over the Detroit Pistons was another chance to recognize Banchero's budding brilliance.

Paolo Banchero continues to put up gaudy stat lines for the Orlando Magic in their playoff push. But his poise is also helping the Magic climb the standings and build their playoff resume.
Paolo Banchero continues to put up gaudy stat lines for the Orlando Magic in their playoff push. But his poise is also helping the Magic climb the standings and build their playoff resume. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
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38. Final. 91. 64. Magic Pistons Final 03.03.24. 113

It was like a freight train coming downhill. The path to the basket parted and Simone Fontecchio was too late. Not that there was anything he could do.

There was the 6-foot-10, 220-pound Paolo Banchero rumbling downhill, his eyes set on the basket. Who in their right mind would step in front of that?

Who in their right mind would think that he would deftly Euro-step around a defender before firing a vicious one-handed dunk over the top? What is anyone supposed to do with that?

This is the power Banchero can bring. But there is also the finesse. His ability to turn around and hit fade-away jumpers over anyone in addition to his ability to bull his way to the basket. Teams that do not have the physicality or the size or the dexterity are going to struggle with him.

And that, it turns out, is most of the league.

And Banchero can put a lot of points together in a hurry. The Magic know this and they trust his ability to do this and set everyone else up.

Everything for this Magic team revolves around Banchero and his growing stardom. There is a lot he is going to become soon. There is still a lot he can do today.

And the Magic's ambitions for this season are only growing as Banchero's confidence and poise grow.

Banchero scored 29 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists in the Orlando Magic's professional-feeling 113-91 victory over the 9-51 Detroit Pistons. The Magic had their way with the Pistons on the inside with 68 points in the paint.

A lot of that came from Banchero and his ability to put constant pressure and soak up attention from the Pistons throughout the game. He has become so consistent this season, he is someone that a playoff team -- and that is what the Magic are at this point -- is relying on him for everything.

A lot of what the Magic do grows from the tone Banchero sets in the game.

"When I first got here, I wanted to just win," Banchero said after Sunday's win. "I think that was the biggest part. Doing whatever it takes to win and just playing and having fun with these guys. They're always encouraging me to be aggressive, do me. And so whenever I hear that, I'm always on go. Just always trying to play my game and do whatever it takes to win. I think that has been my biggest thing these first two years."

Banchero has indeed been about winning throughout his time with the team so far. It has not always been about his big scoring games but the attention he soaks up and how that makes everyone better.

Magic teammates have hitched their wagon to him. They have encouraged him to be aggressive knowing what that does for everyone else. That has been the constant message for him. And Banchero has had to seize those reins.

To see him put the team on his shoulders and attack the basket with strength and power is part of what makes this Magic team great. They are looking to set him up and make things easier.

This team is not solely about Banchero, of course. His success is often a product of the team's success. And the trust the Magic have in Banchero allows him to play freely.

Banchero's success is not just about his scoring. But that poise and calm he exudes spreads to everyone else.

"More than 29 points was his poise and his ability to create for others," coach Jamahl Mosley said after Sunday's game. "I think that is one thing we have talked with him -- what he registers and recognizes. Our coaches did an unbelievable job in the film session the other day talking about what he is creating. . . . Just little different situations that he is recognizing and the guys around him are recognized. So it's about trust."

That trust is evident, especially in a game where the Magic had things so easy. It still takes discipline to beat up on the teams at the bottom of the standings.

He was the beneficiary of some great entry passes from Wendell Carter. He was the beneficiary of a starting group (at least) that was dialed in from the jump, moving and cutting to find open space before just outmuscling the Pistons around the basket.

This game was not only about Banchero and the scoring he put on -- the Magic's defense deserves a lot of credit giving up just 91 points and 38.4 percent shooting for the game, including 8 for 36 from deep. But like with everything, a lot of the team's success starts and sprouts from Banchero.

That he is doing this all at 21 years old and in his second season only makes it that much more impressive.

"He's continuing to learn," Mosley said after Sunday's game. "We've said it from the moment he got here about how much of a winner he is and how he is finding different ways, recognizing different defenses and knowing how he can play that chess game from the beginning of the game. It says a lot about him and his IQ. It goes back to how hard our coaches work to prepare these guys and our guys were prepared tonight."

This is not the opponent that will teach the Magic a lot about themselves. Still, they had to do the job and do the work. They had to take the opponent seriously and take care of business for the win.

At times it did not feel like the Magic would do that, getting out slowly to the lead in the first quarter and letting the Pistons hang around. They could not blow it open and the bench struggled in this one.

As Joe Ingles joked, the starters saved the reserves in this one. Something they hav enot had to do that often.

But everyone trusts each other to pick them up. And everyone trusts Banchero to be the fulcrum to get the team out of bad situations.

With the starters returning with a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter, Orlando burned off nine straight points to put the game away (Banchero was not even involved in any of those plays).

"I think the biggest thing is we can count on each other," Banchero said after Sunday's game. "Just having that trust throughout the whole team whether it is the starting group or the bench group, we all trust each other and trust that we can all go out there and win the game for this team. I think that's where it starts."

Everything for this team starts with that trust and everyone doing their part. Everyone on this team knows Banchero is a big part of that with the ball in his hands soaking up attention. Everything revolves around him, his demeanor and his production.

Next. Mosley quiets doubters 03.02.24. Jamahl Mosley has quieted his doubters, shifted Magic's narrative. dark

Banchero continues to step up and play well beyond his age and experience level. That has lifted the Magic and put them in a spot to compete for the Playoffs. That is what matters most for this team and matters most for Banchero.