When Paolo Banchero was selected with the first overall pick in the draft from the previous year, he established himself as the leading candidate to win the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year award.
And nobody was successful in perceiving him.
After leading all first-year players in scoring and assisting the Magic to improve from a club that had 22 wins the previous season to a club that had 34 wins and competed for a play-in berth this season, Banchero was announced as the clear winner of the top rookie award for this season on Tuesday night. Banchero won the award by such a large margin that it was considered to have been won by most players in the league.
The star player who once attended Duke scored 20 points per game on average. This season, he led all rookies with the most fun, with at least 20 points scored (15), the most games with at least 25 points scored (40), and the most games with at least 20 points scored overall (75). In addition, he was awarded the title of Rookie of the Month four times, and each of those announcements further highlighted the fact that he was already one step ahead of the competition.
As a member of the Magic, he won the Rookie of the Year award, joining Shaquille O’Neal (1993) and Mike Miller (2001), who now plays for Banchero. He was the third player to earn the prize for the Magic. During the TNT coverage of the announcement, Banchero remembered a chat he had with Miller on election night. Miller was one of the players selected in the draft.
Banchero said that the person had glanced at him and then questioned whether he would be the rookie of the year. “With full self-assurance, I answered in the affirmative. That was a goal I’ve always had, something I’ve set my sights on since the day I was recruited into the league. I’m happy that I had the opportunity to take part in it.
A group of journalists and broadcasters covering the league collectively voted, and Banchero received 98 possible 100 first-place votes. Walker Kessler of the Utah Jazz came in third place, followed by Jalen Williams of the Oklahoma City Thunder in second place. The two first-place votes Banchero did not get were given to Kessler instead.
Since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2016, Banchero has been the first No. 1 pick to win the award in the season immediately following getting drafted; Ben Simmons won the award in 2018, two years after he went No. 1. Banchero is the first No. 1 pick to win the prize in the season immediately following getting drafted since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2016.
The fact that Banchero was mature and eager to play the proper way on the court was one of the most important things that Jamahl Mosley learned during Banchero’s first season as a professional player for the Magic.
“He could shift in-game to whatever was needed of him to effect victory,” Mosley said. “He was good at that.”
Banchero openly admits that he is not a complete product, and Mosley noted that the organization wants him to concentrate on particular areas throughout the summer.
Mosley said, “I believe that there are so many different ways in which he is capable of growing.” “I believe that often, rookies will come in, and when they first get here, they’ll attempt to do everything. The most important conversation I had with him was about narrowing his attention to just one or two aspects of his game to concentrate on over the summer so that he can make progress in certain areas. He is planning to practice during the break. It will not in any way, shape, or form be a point of contention, in my opinion.”
Banchero discussed some areas in which he hopes to grow over the next several months in the last chapter of his rookie journal that he kept for The Associated Press during the whole season.
“I want to be more consistent and deadly from 3-point range next season,” he added. “I’ve got a lot of work to do.” “Over the course of this year, there were many periods in which I shot the ball well. It’s simply a matter of finding my footing here. I believe that in Year 2, I will broaden my range, and then in Year 3, I will focus on getting into the greatest human condition possible for me to be in. I was in decent shape this year but I want to take it to the next level. For me to get to where I want to be, it’s simply going to be necessary to step it up a notch in everything. Also, I am looking forward to it.”
After the announcements of Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. as defensive player of the year, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox as the inaugural winner of the clutch player award, Kings coach Mike Brown as a unanimous pick for coach of the year, Boston’s Malcolm Brogdon as sixth man of the year, and Utah’s Lauri Markkanen as the league’s most improved player, Banchero becomes the sixth person to receive one of the NBA‘s top individual awards so far in this award season.
That leaves the most valuable player award the only remaining.
The Denver Nuggets’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, and Nikola Jokic of Denver, who has won the MVP award twice and is now the reigning MVP, are the three players in the running for the prize. The National Basketball Association has not provided a timetable for the presentation of the MVP award.
There has yet to be an announcement about the All-NBA, All-Rookie, or All-Defensive teams.