Paolo Banchero brushes off disrespect, knows his time is coming

Paolo Banchero knows he and the Orlando Magic have not gotten the national attention they perhaps deserve. But he is shaking it off as that time is coming.
Paolo Banchero turned in a strong postseason that should get the Orlando Magic much more respect soon.
Paolo Banchero turned in a strong postseason that should get the Orlando Magic much more respect soon. / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages

Orlando Magic fans have always been a bit obsessed with the apparent lack of attention they receive.

The Magic got the No. 1 pick in the 2022 Draft and it earned them a whopping one game on national TV. And that was taken away from them after No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren missed the entire season with a broken foot.

The Orlando Magic's strong finish to the 2023 season earned them only one national TV appearance in the 2024 season—a February date with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Meanwhile, 2023 No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama got 19 appearances on national TV in his rookie year.

The Orlando Magic seemed to take everyone by surprise when they earned the 5-seed and then took the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games. Then again, even that series was not on TV very often. Games 2 and 3 were relegated to NBATV.

With Magic-Cavs as the only series to reach seven games, getting Game 6 on ESPN and Game 7 in a prime spot on ABC were the highlights of the series and the most attention the Magic have seen in more than a decade.

Banchero's play should not have been that much of a surprise. But his historic playoff run should have him among the top young players in the league.

Still, it is a fight to get noticed, as some fans have made clear. Still, Banchero and the Magic know that his time is coming:

As this fan on X points out, Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark is on national TV a lot as part of the WNBA's national television schedule—so much so that 36 of the Fever's 40 games this season are on national TV. The WNBA is trying to cash in on Clark's success from college and the ratings she brought to the NCAA Tournament.

Still, it speaks to the NBA and WNBA's strategy to overemphasize some players and some teams to the detriment of others. Both leagues have put all their chips on a select number of stars. It makes it hard to build new stars like Banchero.

But Banchero is right; his time is coming. And everyone in the league knows it.

There is no reason to tear down Clark and what she accomplished at Iowa and what she can do in the WNBA to promote Banchero or speak to how little the wider basketball world recognizes him.

Paolo Banchero inched closer to All-NBA status

Paolo Banchero has not gotten himself on national TV very much with the Orlando Magic yet. But his time is indeed coming. His peers around the league are starting to recognize how good Banchero can be and already is.

Banchero was voted in as an All-Star reserve, an award given to him by the coaches. Still, there was tons of debate nationally about Banchero as many still believed he was delivering empty stats, even with the Magic in playoff position at the All-Star Break.

Banchero finished the season averaging 22.6 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game, and 5.4 assists per game while increasing his shooting percentages to 45.5 percent overall and 33.9 percent from three.

He showed up in a big way on the playoff stage, averaging 27.0 points per game, 8.6 rebounds per game, and 4.0 assists per game on 45.6/40.0/75.5 shooting splits. He showed up in the way stars have to show up in the playoffs, recording three 30-point games, including 38 points in the Magic's Game 7 loss.

No one would accuse Banchero of not looking the part of one of the league's future stars after his playoff showing.

The league's award voters seemed to agree. It was always going to be a long shot for Banchero to be named to the All-NBA teams, even with his All-Star status. But he gained six All-NBA votes, including two for the All-NBA Second Team.

But there is clearly a path for Banchero to be among the best players in the league and recognized as such. That recognition should come with more national TV appearances, especially with the Magic playing so well and being a bigger factor in the bigger story for the league.

Banchero's time is indeed coming.

Paolo Banchero is still seeking his respect

Respect is still earned in this league. And Paolo Banchero is still seeking respect from the national media.

Orlando Magic fans were livid this week at The Ringer's ranking of the top 25 players under 25. The staff voting had Paolo Banchero ranked No. 9 (and Franz Wagner ranked No. 18).

That put Paolo Banchero behind Oklahoma City Thunder duo Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams, a sore spot for Magic fans especially.

Essentially, the rankers seem to be betting on the Thunder's already-established success as a sign of stability—while already admitting that both Williams and Holmgren play secondary roles and struggled in their second-round series in a way Banchero, a star, did not in his first playoffs.

Their reasoning for ranking Banchero so low was equally egregious, theorizing the Magic might make some panic trade to retain Banchero in the future or that he will leave in the same way previous Magic stars have left. They seemed determined already to hold the sins of previous front offices against the Magic when they still have several years and a rookie extension to give Banchero ahead.

There is a lot of time to build a successful team. And Orlando already seems well ahead of schedule.

There is still some work to get people to believe in what the Magic are building and what the Magic are doing. This year helped for sure, but Orlando has to keep growing.

But Banchero is right. If the team does the right things, the Magic will get the attention they seemingly deserve. Banchero will certainly do a lot to force the Magic into the spotlight.

For now, Orlando will have to wait until August to see how the NBA schedule decides to feature the team.