Paolo Banchero Named 2022-23 Rookie of the Year
To absolutely no surprise, Paolo Banchero is officially the 2022-23 Rookie of the Year.
The Orlando Magic’s No. 1 overall pick led the field for practically the entire season, ultimately earning 98 first-place votes to claim the prestigious honor. Oklahoma City’s Jalen Williams finished second in voting, while Utah’s Walker Kessler finished third.
The Magic finished 34-48 in what could be deemed a solid season considering they’re in the thick of a rebuild. Banchero led the team in scoring, averaging 20.0 points per game with 6.9 rebounds in 72 games played. He also ranked 12th in the NBA with 7.4 free throws per game.
All things considered, Orlando could be in a position to take a significant step forward in the near future with Banchero at the helm. His 40 20-point games matched the amount LeBron James had during his rookie campaign, per ESPN. He also became the youngest player since James to score at least 30 points and 15 rebounds back in November.
Of course, nobody is saying that Banchero is the next James, but it does put into perspective the impact he had to start his NBA career. Add that with the several other solid youngsters on the Magic’s roster like Franz Wagner, Cole Anthony, and Wendell Carter Jr., and the Magic are set up well moving forward.
Not to mention, Orlando is waiting to see if they’ll have two top 10 picks this summer. The Chicago Bulls are in a prime position to forgo their 2023 first-rounder to the Magic after their disappointing season.