Where does Paolo Banchero rank in the Eastern Conference?

The second-year superstar has developed quickly. Paolo Banchero now ranks high among some of the best players in the Eastern Conference.

Orlando Magic v Washington Wizards
Orlando Magic v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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Where does Paolo Banchero rank in the Eastern Conference?

Eager to prove themselves

. . 38. . Paolo Banchero. player. . Paolo Banchero. Paolo Best Player 03.11.24. 7

The Orlando Magic are not the laughing stock of the NBA anymore. And Paolo Banchero is the reason why teams respect them.

The Magic were 22-60 before drafting Banchero and now they find themselves within five games from the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference and fighting for homecourt advantage in the final quarter of the season.

He has the weaker second option than any of the other top five players in the East -- and some of that is Franz Wagner is a young player also trying to find his way through the early parts of his career, and Wagner is averaging 20.1 points per game anyway. His presence gives his teammates the confidence to play at their highest potential.

Banchero may not average as many points as some of the other players on this list -- he is averaging 22.8 point sper game, 6.8 rebounds per game and 5.2 asissts per game. But his ability to defend multiple positions combined with his defensive presence in the paint pushes him to the top five.

Banchero is still in his second year and that shows up plenty. He is still learning what a good shot is and how to attack. But he has already established himself as one of the best players in the Eastern Conference. And he should only get better.

. Trae Young. Trae Young. Trae Young Best Player 03.11.24. . . . 8. player. 125

The sharpshooter in Atlanta has earned his way on the list due to how he is playing this year and the danger he constantly presents anytime anybody plays the Atlanta Hawks.

Trae Young is averaging 26.4 points per game, 2.7 rebounds per game and 10.8 assists per game this year. He has range like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard. He can also get his teammates involved too.

Since he came in on day one he was considered the undisputed leader of the Hawks' franchise and has his team fighting for a spot in the Play-In Tournament. That might be a disappointment for a Hawks franchise that has been stuck in the middle since their 2020 Eastern Conference Finals trip.

But Young is still unquestionably one of the most dangerous offensive players in the league.

. . . Tyrese Maxey. . Tyrese Maxey. player. Tyrese Maxey Best Player 03.11.24. 9. 93

The Philadephia 76ers struck gold when they selected Tyrese Maxey in the first round in 2020. Daryl Morey thought he was good, but he could not have thought he was going to end up as the second part of a one-two punch with Joel Embiid.

Tyrese Maxey made it OK to trade James Harden earlier this season. The Sixers could still be competitive so long as Embiid was healthy.

The fourth-year star has earned his spot as a top-10 player in the Eastern Conference this year after averaging 26.0 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game and 6.3 assists per game. He is a clear number-one candidate for Most Improved Player and has a bright future.

. 24. 10. . DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan best player 03.11.24. . . DeMar DeRozan. player

The Chicago Bulls still have one of the best mid-range shooters on their roster and he is still a top player in the Eastern Conference despite his team's struggles.

This year, DeMar DeRozan has very quietly been averaging 23.2 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and 5.4 assists per game. The combination of him, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic never really matured into a legit big three. They have made the Playoffs once since they have been together. And they are in line to be back in the Play-In Chase once again.

DeRozan though still is one of the more dynamic and dangerous scorers in the league, even if he goes against the current wave of analytics.

There are plenty of other players who deserve recognition in the Eastern Conference.

Julius Randle has had a stellar year averaging 24.0 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game and 5.0 assists per game. But his shoulder injury has left him forgotten for now. His return is critical for the Knicks to advance in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Darius Garland too is one of the best young players in the league. He has been a big boost to the Cleveland Cavaliers' offense, averaging 18.5 points per game and 6.3 assists per game to lead Cleveland near the top of the Eastern Conference.

Jaylen Brown had had to sacrifice the most for the Boston Celtics' success. He is averaging 22.8 points per game. His scoring, like Jayson Tatum's, is down as he sacrifices some to help the team improve. As the Golden State Warriors found out last week, Brown can still put up a lot of points.

Tyrese Haliburton has also been transformational for the Indiana Pacers. He has helped them carve a clear identity that helps them be a unique team in the league. Their speed and pace have proven difficult to handle. Haliburton has led that charge with 20.8 points per game and a league-high 11.3 assists per game.

Then there is the Miami Heat duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Neither they nor the team seem to care much about regular season exploits. But everyone knows they will be ready for the postseason -- Miami is 11-6 to move into striking distance of fourth in the East, despite the team's current three-game losing streak.

These players are the best of the best among the Eastern Conference elite and are helping their teams compete for Playoff positioning.

dark. Next. Potential First Round Matchups 03.09.24. Ranking the Orlando Magic's potential playoff matchups

Paolo Banchero has quickly put himself in the conversation of being one of the conference's best players. The more he wins the closer he will get to the top.