Paolo Banchero becomes 7th NBA player to post 20+ points in 1st 5 games

Paolo Banchero is off to a good start for the Orlando Magic.

The first overall pick of the 2022 NBA draft posted a career-high 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting plus eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 37 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. It was Banchero's fifth straight game of 20-plus points since starting his NBA career, which already puts him in elite company.

Per ESPN Stats & Info, the list of NBA players to open their career with five straight 20-plus-point games is:

  • Paolo Banchero

  • Wilt Chamberlain

  • Elvin Hayes

  • Grant Hill

  • Oscar Robertson

  • Dominique Wilkins

  • John Williamson

That would be five Naismith Hall of Famers, Williamson (who entered the NBA after three ABA seasons) and the 19-year-old Banchero, who is younger than all of those players when they accomplished the feat. As an aside, if you ever need a reminder that Wilt Chamberlain was an alien, keep in mind that he's on that list due to a 56-game streak of 20-plus points, and that number would be 78 games had it not been for a nine-minute outing in his rookie year.

Banchero is also the first player to total at least 120 points, 35 rebounds and 15 assists in his first five games since Wilkins did it in 1982-83. The tape lines up with the numbers:

So our best precedent for the start of the Banchero's career is located squarely in Springfield, Massachusetts. Does that definitively mean Banchero will become a Hall of Famer? Of course not. It's just exactly what you want to see when you're the Magic and you've selected Banchero as a pillar of your franchise, to the surprise of some observers.

It should be noted this production hasn't translated into winning for Orlando, which now sits at 0-5 after a 103-92 loss to the Cavaliers. That's obviously not on Banchero — the Magic were expected to be among the worst teams in the league — though it does raise the tantalizing possibility of a Banchero-Victor Wembanyama-Franz Wagner frontcourt.

Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero goes up for a slam dunk abasing the Atlanta Hawks during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Paolo Banchero is looking like a good one for the Orlando Magic. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)