Magic rookie Paolo Banchero in rare company to begin NBA career

Orlando Magic rookie Paolo Banchero on Friday put up his second straight 20-point performance to begin the season during a loss on the road to the Atlanta Hawks.

Banchero finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, three blocked shots, two assists and one steal in the 108-98 loss. He went 6-of-18 from the field, including 1-of-6 from 3-point range, and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in 33 minutes of work.

The performance marked his first career double-double and the third by a rookie this season (Walker Kessler, Jaden Ivey). He had 14 points in the second half as the Magic stayed around with the Hawks until the final minutes.

Overall, the No. 1 pick likes how he played over his first two games.

I think I’ve just been playing hard. I think I’ve been rebounding well. I’m learning every game. I probably just want to limit my turnovers. I think I’ve been getting to the foul line, too, pretty well. Limiting my turnovers is my biggest room for improvement.

Banchero produced 27 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks in his debut on Wednesday, the most points by a No. 1 pick in a debut since LeBron James had 25 points on Oct. 29, 2003. His 47 points through his first two games are the seventh-most for a top pick in history.

Banchero has turned the ball over four times in each of his first two games, which is likely the only negative with his play so far. He has performed to expectations as the top pick and looks to be a franchise cornerstone on the court.

With Banchero in the fold, and others stepping up, the Magic have been competitive in each game this season. The team still has plenty to correct and improve on, but the early showing by the group is likely encouraging for the organization.

Certainly, Banchero has been a big part of that in the early going.


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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire