It’s really early obviously but if things stay the way they are now, it looks like former Duke star Paolo Banchero is on a glide path to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award.
He’s off to a really solid start, averaging 18.5 ppg and 7.6 rpg. He’s earned raves from Draymond Green, who lauded him publicly. He needs to improve his shooting percentage, but that’s coming.
Saturday night’s game against Sacramento was a new high for Banchero in his burgeoning career: he lit up the Kings for 30 points and 15 rebounds. He’s only the second teenager to ever do that and the other is named LeBron James.
In other words, he’s gone from an excellent prospect to a guy who can be a quality starter in the league to a guy who can dominate in a few short weeks.
Obviously that doesn’t mean he’ll do it every night. That’s a level relatively few players ever hit. And no matter how good he is, he’s still a rookie. There’s still a lot to learn.
Clearly though, he is learning, and learning quickly. He’s a bright ray for the Orlando Magic, who now have a massive piece to build around.