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Magic's Paolo Banchero Says He's Still 'Raw' amid Impressive Rookie Season

Adam WellsJanuary 6, 2023

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 28: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic looks on against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on December 28, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Paolo Banchero has already done things most rookies in NBA history didn't accomplish over the course of their entire debut season, but he believes there's a lot more left in his game to tap into.

Speaking to Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill, the Orlando Magic forward said he's still "raw" in a lot of areas.

"It just may not look like that to the regular person," he explained. "I know I'm nowhere close to how good I'm supposed to be. I got a lot to work on."

Banchero immediately made his presence felt when this season began. He became the first rookie since LeBron James with at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in his first game.

The 20-year-old became the third rookie in NBA history to score at least 20 points in his first 26 games, joining Michael Jordan and Zion Williamson.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Magic rookie Paolo Banchero recorded his 20th career 20-point game tonight against Houston, which was his 26th career NBA game.<br><br>Prior to Banchero, the last 2 players to score 20 or more points in 20 of their first 26 games were Zion Williamson &amp; Michael Jordan. <a href="https://t.co/ImDfOObS2P">pic.twitter.com/ImDfOObS2P</a>

Banchero is putting up some gaudy offensive stats. He is averaging 21.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game in 32 starts. His 8.0 free-throw attempts per game are the most by a rookie since Blake Griffin in 2010-11 (8.5).

As impressive as those numbers are, Banchero does have areas where he can improve with more experience. He's only shooting 43.8 percent from the field, including 31.0 percent from three-point range.

The Magic had high hopes for Banchero after using the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft to select him. He has all the makings of a superstar based on his results thus far.

Pairing Banchero with Franz Wagner gives Orlando one of the best young duos in the NBA. The Magic are still struggling as a team to find success with a 14-25 record, third-worst in the Eastern Conference.

As long as Orlando's front office continues to fill out the roster around Banchero and Wagner, this franchise has the potential to be a dominant force in the next few years.