Orlando, Fla. – The mystery of how Orlando will face Paolo Banchero with the number one pick in the NBA Draft was kept surprisingly well kept.
Among those who did not know: Banchero himself.
He was kept out of the magic decision loop for about 30 seconds before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took to the draft stage to announce his name in basketball live, Banchero said. Mike Miller, Banchero’s agent, bowed and just broke the news by saying “congratulations”.
“It all happened so fast,” Banchero said.
Saying this, he ran away. Banchero arrived in Orlando on Friday, after his name was permanently engraved on the No. 1 draft selection list. Duke’s 6-foot-10 forward will officially begin workouts in the NBA Summer League next week for Orlando’s July 7 opener.
“I’m going to hold on to myself and everyone is going to hold on to themselves,” Banchero said. I have high hopes. “” But I don’t think I’m used to it. When I entered college, high school was the only thing for me, there were a lot of expectations. My whole life has been like that. “
Magic chose 1 number for each option. Teams called in to get it into business. Auburn’s Jabri Smith Jr. had come for a workout that was attended by some of Orlando’s players and he was happy. Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren spent a few days with Magic last week. The team insisted that other players be taken seriously.
There were many things to consider, including short-term and long-term fitness.
Orlando coach Jamahal Mosley said, “You get some things from everyone, ‘Hey, man, wow, that could be great for us.’ “But then it finally comes down to, ‘How does this fit for you? How do you sit with them in the locker room? How do they react when they go in? ‘ Because all those pieces are one element. And I think we’ve done an incredible job with those details. ”
Magic said that when the college season came to an end, he was convinced that Banchero was the best player at that level last season. But it is a mystery when they decided to take him to number one.
Miller, who won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in Orlando and will now try to help Banchero as an agent, said he started getting hints half an hour before the selection.
“It was a big thing for him to work hard and stay calm,” Miller said. “But he believed in what he saw in him and what we’re talking about in his basketball ability – where he is right now, but where he’s going. And not there, I will honestly say, there aren’t a lot of Paolo Banchero walking through the door. “He’s just a special, special guy and a special basketball player.”
What will happen in the next few days is going to be a hurricane. Summer league practice awaits, and Michigan’s Banchero and second-rounder Caleb Houston are both considering playing. It will get a lot of attention from the start: the first game made for TV in Las Vegas, Orlando, will be played against Houston, the team that picked No. 3 on Smith – after many expected it to end in Orlando. From him.
Mosley – who will take some practice when coming to the Summer League but will hand over the game to Jesse Murmuis, a magic assistant in Las Vegas – said he has no intention of training Banchero differently than any other player. But the fact is that Banchero will look different than any new player this season. Such is the life for the number one choice in any draft.
“Right now, the level of expectations of outsiders and what the No. 1 option should be may be different,” Mosley said. “But we also understand that when you go into this building you are of Orlando magic and there is a set of standards and a few things that we have to do day and night to make everyone successful.”
After all, he was the greatest determinant of magic. Smith is clearly talented. Holmgren is clearly a genius. The potential of both players is infinite. But what sets Banchero apart from him is Orlando’s belief that he makes the game easier for his teammates.
“There’s a lot going on,” said Jeff Weltman, president of Magic. “It’s talent, it’s fitness, it’s character, it’s the launch where the league starts. There are many things in that conversation that you can argue about for months. Funny, isn’t it? I mean, it’s a fun process. “
And now, the real work begins.