The Orlando Magic have found a gem with their draft pick, Paolo Banchero, as he becomes the frontrunner to win the Rookie of the Year (ROY) award.
Banchero, 20, made his NBA debut last October 19 and immediately scored 27 points with nine rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. His first-ever matchup was against Cade Cunningham and the Detroit Pistons.
Although they lost, this young kid from Washington showcased his potential to become one of the NBA greats. Despite the Magic going on a five-game losing streak, Banchero’s performance did not waver, scoring over 20 points.
The rookie averaged 22 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in his first NBA season. He also shows signs of being a good shooter, shooting 44.9%.
He is an offensive monster, that is for sure. But he can also defend, averaging 0.6 blocks and 0.9 steals per game.
The basketball website Hashtag Basketball ranked Banchero as the number-one rookie for this season, followed by Walker Kessler (Utah Jazz), Jabari Smith (Houston Rockets), Keegan Murray (Sacramento Kings), and Andrew Nembhard (Indiana Pacers).
Only the Magic’s rising star has reached the 20-point mark. The closest to Banchero’s scoring prowess is Mathurin, with 17.9 pts.
In the latest match of the Orlando Magic last December 16, they faced the Boston Celtics, last season’s Eastern Conference champions. Although Jayson Tatum was a no-show, the Celtics still had Jaylen Brown, al Horford, and Marcus Smart, putting the Magic at a disadvantage.
But Banchero surprised their opponents and the fans as he exploded that game, finishing off with 20 points and five rebounds. They beat the Celtics 109-117.
They again met last December 18, and the result was the same—Magic beating the Celtics. Banchero managed to have a career-high 31 pts, making 6-of-7 three points. His field goal percentage was 42.9%, and his three-point at 85.7%.
The Orlando Magic beat the likes of the Toronto Raptors and the Atlanta Hawks.
At OKBET, Banchero is the heavy favorite, with a 1.21 odds to win ROY. Mathurin follows him with 4.65, but the other candidates have a smaller chance of winning the award.
So far, the forward from Washington is doing good as a player, with only a few tweaks needed on his free throw shooting and ball security. He only has a 76.1% free throw percentage, while his turnovers are at 3 per game.
Also, the season is still young, and with the NBA now filled with promising young talents, it is likely that mid-way through the season, the odds will change. It is best to check the odds at the PAGCOR-authorized sports betting site from time to time to be updated with the latest predictions.
But what do you think? Will he win ROY or not?