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NBA execs, scout see Paolo Banchero as most complete 2022 rookie

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If Houston stays at No. 3 overall in the first round of the 2022 NBA draft, the most common projection to the Rockets at that spot is Duke forward Paolo Banchero. Should things play out according to forecast on the June 23 draft night, the addition might have immediate implications.

Per NBA insider Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, executives and scouts around the league are bullish on what Banchero could do as a rookie. Scotto issued his comments as part of HoopsHype’s aggregate mock draft, where Banchero is currently projected to the Rockets.

“Paolo is probably at the top of that big three for me because he’s the most conservative pick, and he’s consistent,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype following the draft lottery. “I like him in playoff-type situations. He has the ability to make others around him better.”

Based on Banchero’s lofty draft status, he’s extremely unlikely (barring a trade) to find an immediate playoff fit — since teams picking high in the first-round order were inherently bad in the past season. Thus, it’ll be up to him to help elevate his new team to such a level.

According to Scotto, two NBA executives compared Banchero’s upside to what New York’s Julius Randle was during his 2020-21 All-Star season.

“Paolo gives you the most complete player coming in,” a scout added.

Banchero will be the highest Italian selected since Andrea Bargnani went No. 1 overall in the 2006 draft. If he is selected by the Rockets, Scotto says it could make big man Christian Wood a potential trade candidate.

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