Paolo Banchero quickly crossed the “rookie wall”

 » I only heard that. Anyone who gave me advice said, ‘Be ready for the rookie wall, you’re going to face it’. We just had to prepare for it. »

The least we can say is that Paolo Banchero knew where he was stepping when he arrived in the NBA. But these various warnings unfortunately did not prevent the number 1 of the last Draft from experiencing the famous usual rookie slack, also known as the « rookie wall », a month and a half after his debut in the league.

 » I feel like I somehow hit him [le rookie wall, ndlr] and to have crossed it “, he judges as well.  » It was just before the start of the new year. I felt my body and my mind tired. I had difficult matches and complicated evenings at the shoot, I didn’t feel as explosive [qu’à l’accoutumée]. »

First obstacle passed with flying colors

Indeed, Paolo Banchero clearly identified the moment of the season when his first difficulties with the Magic. From 22.6 points on average and 47% on shots between October and November, he rose to 18.9 points on average and 39% on shots in December. With in particular a period of three games at only 13.3 points on average and 29% in shots, between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

But insideOrlando has bounced back since, going up to 20.5 points on average and 45% on shots in January. No doubt thanks to the way he approaches each meeting.

 » I’m just tryna take match after match “, he explains about it.  » You’re bound to get bad ones, because you can’t score 25 points every time. So when you have a night without or the team has a complicated meeting, you have to be able to move forward. And that’s what I try to do. »

One of the particularly impressive aspects of Paolo Banchero is his ability to score points regardless of his form, and the opponent. In 41 games, he has only finished two under the 10-point mark, despite a good ten games under 40% shooting success.

The key to this consistency in scoring? An imposing physique (2m08 and 113kg) for a player of his age (20 years old), which allows him to easily make his way through the paint (almost 10 situations per match where he attacks the circle), but also to attract fouls (nearly 8 free throws per game).

 » It’s just a good way to see the ball drop in and find some rhythm “, he says, about his passages on the line.  » Defenders accumulate fouls, so they have to defend differently on you. I don’t necessarily focus on looking for fouls, but rather want to go to the circle aggressively and make it result in a basket or a foul. »

His teammates are under the spell

Admittedly inexperienced at the highest level, but already very mature and ambitious, Paolo Banchero logically did not take long before winning unanimous support within the Magic workforce.

 » He’s not a classic rookie “, Believes Gary Harris, who notably rubbed shoulders with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray in Denver.  » He’s not normal at all, he’s hungry, he wants to be big, he’s willing to learn and he wants to be coached. He discovers everything on the fly and he’s only 20, so that’s a lot for him. But halfway through the season, I had never seen anyone come into the league the same way he did. The way he’s focused, mature… He’s already special, really special. »

 » He understands basketball, it’s as simple as that “, adds Wendell Carter Jr, one of his privileged partners in the Florida racket.  » We are at our best when he is aggressive and he understands that. He understands that he has a lot of weight on his shoulders as Draft No. 1, but he is so calm and serene on the floor… »

Favorite for the title of Rookie of the Year 2023, and ultimately not so far from a selection for the Salt Lake City All-Star Game, with his 20.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists average, Paolo Banchero is in all case on track to become the 51st rookie in history to shoot at least 20 points per game.

That would be unheard of for an Orlando player since… Shaquille O’Neal in 1992/93. Just that !

Paolo Banchero Percentage Bounces
Season Team GM Minimum Shots 3 points LF Off Def Early pd party Int bp CT Points
2022-23 ENT 41 34 43.9 32.0 76.3 1.1 5.3 6.4 3.8 2.4 1.0 2.8 0.5 20.8
Total 41 34 43.9 32.0 76.3 1.1 5.3 6.4 3.8 2.4 1.0 2.8 0.5 20.8

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