Paolo Banchero has had quite a ride in June. He was certain to be a Top 3 pick in the NBA Draft, but Orlando surprised many people (although apparently not gamblers, who moved to Banchero in the run-up to the draft) when they took Banchero #1.
There are still people who think Smith should have been #1 and a few thought it should have been Chet Holmgren.
But for the most part, the media has been supportive and Banchero has, generally, been smart about how he presents himself and how he builds his brand (one quibble: he would probably be smart to dial back the cockiness and turn up the humility. At some point he’ll struggle or be heavily criticized for something, but that’s about it. It’s just a few days after the draft. For the most part, he’s still in the honeymoon stage.
That said, he has apparently irritated some people with his All-time NBA Top Five.
Because he changed it.
Originally, Banchero listed LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Hakeem Olajuwon.
But when asked more recently, he listed these five: Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
So Bryant and Kareem are in while Olajuwon and Curry are out.
That probably wasn’t the smartest thing in the world because 1) Curry certainly has an argument and 2) he’s still playing and has probably heard about this.
It’s a bit reminiscent of Banchero’s foolish mistake at the ACC Tournament of preferring UNC over Virginia Tech, which just motivated the Hokies.
He’ll learn - he may have already been told - that in the NBA, you don’t want to go around poking lions.
Incidentally, for us the Top Five would be:
- Michael Jordan
- Magic Johnson
- Larry Bird
- Bill Russell
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar