Paolo Banchero has had a terrific rookie season to date. The Orlando Magic rookie has played beyond his years. About the only real criticism of his game right now is that he could shoot better, but he’s a rookie. That’ll improve.
None of that gets to why he’s doing so well so soon. But Banchero knows why: Seattle.
When we think about talent beds, Seattle doesn’t always come to mind, but it’s a great basketball town. We were sorry to see the Sonics leave town in 2008, because even on TV, the passion for the team came through. There was one playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers back in the day when the arena rivaled Cameron or Lawrence Field House.
With a population just under 734,000, Seattle has produced players like Jamal Crawford, Zach Levine, Nate Robinson, Isaiah Thomas, Brandon Roy, Jason Terry, Dejounte Murray, Kevin Porter and Martell Webster.
Those are just the obvious guys. You can be sure that pickup games are extremely intense in Seattle and you have to be really good to stay on the court.
For Banchero, it was a perfect lab to grow his game. But there is more to the story as you’ll see. A lot of Banchero’s success is about talent. But a lot is about drive, too.