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Paolo Banchero Has Quickly and Rightfully Become the Face of the Orlando Magic

Joe Paige | Sports Editor

To be fair becoming the face of the Orlando Magic wasn’t really that difficult to achieve, so far the consensus face of the franchise had belonged 3rd year guard Cole Anthony, but his inconsistent play made it tough to establish him as the face so quickly. He’s very confident, athletic, and a talented young guard who should certainly be a building block for this team's future. However, in just 5 games, Paolo Banchero has quickly and respectfully achieved this status.

When he played at duke we saw all the talent he had, and you quickly recognized that he was going to be a better NBA player than a college player. During his time as a Duke Blue Devil, they’d run 7-footer Mark Williams, who got drafted last year with the 15th pick by Charlotte, at the center position which would often clog the paint for Paolo limiting his potential as a shot creator. Now, he's placed at the starting center position in the front court alongside Bol Bol, a player who’s capable of scoring in and out and leaves plenty of room for Banchero to go to work in the paint.

He currently ranks 10th in the league in free throw attempts according to TeamRankings, every player above him in this list are the faces of their respective teams. Paolo went viral last week putting up similar numbers in his five games to NBA legends like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and even His Airness himself Michael Jordan. After his most recent outing against Oklahoma City, Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault in his postgame press conference had this to say about the young Magic player, “The combination of the size and skill is what makes him unique.” “He’s very crafty for a young player. He’s got an old soul game.”

His debut alone should be enough to consider him as the favorite for Rookie of the Year, posting a stat line of 27 points, 5 assists, and 9 rebounds, making him just the third rookie ever to reach 25+ points and 5+ assists and rebounds in their first games, the only other two names on this list is LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. What he's doing on the court in such a short time is only comparable to other franchise players. If nothing stops him from continuing to play like this for the rest of the season, he will certainly be this year's Rookie of the Year.

| “The combination of the size and skill is what makes him unique.” “He’s very crafty for a young player. He’s got an old soul game.”


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