Orlando's Paolo Banchero enters elite company after Game 7

The Orlando Magic's season is over after losing 104-92 to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon, but their superstar made history in the process.
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Seven
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Seven / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The list is short.

Only two players in NBA history have scored 30-plus points and grabbed 15-plus rebounds in a Playoff game before turning 22 years old. The first guy is considered by many as the greatest point guard to ever play the game in hall of famer Earvin 'Magic' Johnson.

The second guy can barely get the national media to pay him any attention in the regular season with the Orlando Magic's Paolo Banchero. His stat line of 38 points, 16 rebounds, and 2 assists is something that many fans have never seen done from a guy this young before.

The last time someone this young has had a stat line like this was when Magic Johnson subbed in for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the center position in the 1980 Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers. Johnson finished the game with 42 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists to go along with a Finals victory and the Finals MVP.

Thus, the beginning of a legendary career of perhaps the greatest point guard to ever play basketball. I'm sure Steph Curry would disagree but he would never even ponder the thought of playing center at any point in his career, especially in an NBA Finals game.

It almost feels like the national media is missing out on history while Banchero continues to lead his team in Central Florida to new heights. The Magic being the second-best media draw to the Miami Heat is one of the reasons why it feels like nobody is paying attention. But it's been over 30 years since we have seen a player this young put up numbers like this and the national media is quiet?

The Magic have a great young player to build around in Banchero

Although there are limited national headlines about Banchero, his growth over these past two seasons is great news for the Magic organization moving forward. The team has finally selected a player in the NBA Draft that they can build a championship-caliber team around.

The test for the organization this summer is to land some great role players in the offseason while developing Banchero's weaknesses. His supporting cast will determine just how much history he makes next season.

But being in the same conversation with an all-time great player like Magic Johnson is nothing short of amazing. It gives the fans something to look forward to as he continues to become better after each offseason. Johnson's 42/15/7 game is what propelled him into becoming one of the best players in the NBA at a very young age, and maybe the same will happen with Banchero.

Obviously, Johnson's stat line came at the highest level of NBA basketball, and Banchero's stat line came during the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Another impressive fact is that Johnson had a stat line like this in the NBA Finals as just a rookie. But to put it in context, Johnson's supporting cast consisted of guys like Michael Cooper, Jamaal Wilkes, and Norm Nixon.

This is a huge accomplishment for Banchero in his second NBA season. Now, the young superstar has to navigate the challenges of getting out of the first round with limited help.