As you probably know, Paolo Banchero was named to the NBA All-Star team last week. That’s pretty spectacular considering he just turned 21 and is only in his second season in the NBA.
It’s basically a personal accomplishment though and while those are important, basketball is a team play and franchises want to keep getting better.
So this article from the Orlando Sentinel about how Banchero could really change the trajectory of the Magic is pretty interesting.
To look back, the Magic had Shaquille O’Neal and drafted Chris Webber, though he was traded for Penny Hardaway and three first round picks.
They also drafted Brian Williams, aka Bison Dele and, later, Dwight Howard.
None of them stayed in Orlando long.
The basic argument in this column by Mike Bianchi is that Banchero is a player that Orlando can build around and of course he’s right - but only if Banchero decides to stay.
And while he seems happy in Orlando, and they do have a real chance to build a great team around him, there will come a time when he has to make a decision. The Lakers will make a run at him. Philly might. Miami might. Boston doesn’t really need him, but if you could get him, why not?
In Orlando’s favor though, they have a very nice young core. Aside from Banchero, they have fellow former Duke star Wendell Carter, Cole Anthony, Anthony Black, Jonathan Isaac, Jalen Suggs, the Wagner brothers Franz and Mo and some other promising talent as well.
Orlando has the 15th pick in this summer’s draft and that’s a solid chance to add a very talented player.
Our guess is he decides to stay where he is. Banchero seems like a guy who is loyal to a team and his teammates and he’s talked previously about how happy he is there.
Whatever Banchero ultimately decides to do, his team is going to be good and possibly great.