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Magic's Paolo Banchero Talks Summer-League Debut: 'Always Had a Chip on My Shoulder'

Doric SamJuly 8, 2022

Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Paolo Banchero made a strong impression during his Orlando Magic debut Thursday night in Las Vegas Summer League action, finishing the 91-77 win against the Houston Rockets with 17 points, six assists and four rebounds.

Speaking to ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth after the game, Banchero discussed his performance and the matchup with No. 3 pick Jabari Smith, noting he's "always had a chip on my shoulder."

Many were surprised when Orlando used its top pick on the Duke product as he didn't have a predraft meeting or workout with the club prior to his selection, Shams Charania reported on Stadium.

As a freshman last year for the Blue Devils, Banchero powered the team to a Final Four appearance while averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

The 6'10" forward has an NBA-ready body with a polished offensive skill set and was widely regarded as one of the top three players in this year's draft class.

"Powerful and skilled, Paolo Banchero projects as the draft's most pro-ready scorer," B/R's Jonathan Wasserman wrote in his scouting report. "His ability to self-create, shoot off the dribble, hit threes and play-make carves out a path toward NBA stardom."

For his part, Banchero isn't short on confidence when it comes to his potential for superstardom.

He told The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov after he was drafted:

"My ceiling is as high as I want it to be. Which is limitless. I set a lot of goals for myself every stage of my career. So I want to do all that—NBA Rookie of the Year, be an All-Star, make the playoffs, everything a basketball player on this stage would want to do, I want to do, plus more. But at first, I want to win. That's the most important thing."

The Magic have dwelled in the NBA's basement for years, but with Banchero anchoring their young core it appears an ascent up the standings could soon be on the way.

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