Paolo Banchero is heating up as the NBA preseason rolls on.
After scoring just 17 combined points in the Orlando Magic's first two preseason games, the 2022 No. 1 pick looked much more comfortable—and like himself—in Friday's matchup against the Dallas Mavericks.
Banchero finished with 19 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal on 6-of-13 shooting from the floor and 2-of-4 shooting from deep in 21 minutes. He also made 5 of 6 free throws.
The 19-year-old had NBA Twitter hyped up following his performance, with some even suggesting he'll win the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award:
After Orlando's first preseason game, Banchero acknowledged he needed to work on some things, including getting more comfortable at the NBA level.
He certainly appears to be adjusting quickly, which is a good sign for the Magic, who will need him to be a difference-maker during the 2022-23 season and beyond.
The Magic have two more preseason games against the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers before opening the regular season Oct. 19 against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena.