NBA

NBA Draft 2022: Orlando Magic take Paolo Banchero with top pick

By Sports Desk June 23, 2022

The Orlando Magic sprung a surprise on Thursday, taking Paolo Banchero with the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. 

The Oklahoma City Thunder followed up by selecting Chet Holmgren second overall and although many projected him to be the top pick coming into Thursday, the Houston Rockets took Jabari Smith third. 

Reflecting the evolving nature of the NBA, the Magic looked to the wing this time in Banchero, selecting front-court prospects with their previous three top selections in franchise history, in the form of Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber and Dwight Howard. 

"I don't even know what to say. I really can't believe what just happened," Banchero said on ESPN's draft broadcast. "I never would have thought that this would happen. I wanted to be in the NBA, but I didn't know I would be here. This is unbelievable.

Banchero is the fifth top selection to come from Duke University, following Art Heyman, Elton Brand, Kyrie Irving and Zion Williamson, also making for the 13th consecutive freshman to be taken at first.

The 19-year-old averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists as he led the Blue Devils to the Final Four, earning first-team All-ACC selection and the ACC Rookie of the Year. 

As a big who can stretch the floor, the 7-foot-1 Holmgren exhibited unique shooting ability for his size in his freshman year at Gonzaga University, potentially creating more space for the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey to make plays. 

Simiarly gifted for his size, the 6-foot-10 Smith is arguably the most NBA-ready of the three coming out of Auburn University, with his ability to score off the catch and off the dribble, along with a versatile defensive skill-set. 

Related items

  • Wiggins and Curry star as Warriors shoot down Rockets, Gobert ejected for tripping Wiggins and Curry star as Warriors shoot down Rockets, Gobert ejected for tripping

    Andrew Wiggins and Stephen Curry piled on the points as the Golden State Warriors improved to a 12-11 record with a 120-101 victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

    Wiggins scored a season-high 36 points on 14-of-19 field shooting with a joint career-high eight three-pointers, including three in a row in the third quarter at the Chase Center.

    Curry added 30 points, including eight triples, as well as providing 10 assists for Golden State, who have won five of their past six games.

    Jordan Poole, who came into the starting line-up for Klay Thompson who was rested, also had 21 points with five three-pointers. Center Kevon Looney had 12 rebounds with nine points.

    The Warriors shot 25-of-52 from three-point range as a team, compared to the Rockets who went at 10.7 per cent from beyond the arc, making three-of-28 attempts.

    Golden State became the second team in NBA history to make 20 three-pointers in four of five games.

    Gobert ejected in Timberwolves defeat

    Rudy Gobert was ejected for deliberately tripping Kenrich Williams as the Minnesota Timberwolves were beaten 135-128 by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    The French center was given a flagrant 2 foul and ejected in the second quarter when he tangled with Williams, appearing to sweep a leg out while on the ground, seeing his unbalanced opponent tumble.

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander top scored for OKC with 33 points and six assists, while for the Timberwolves, who were already without Karl-Anthony Towns (calf), D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards scored 27 and 26 points respectively.

    Short-handed Bucks down Hornets

    The Milwaukee Bucks overcame the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo due to left knee soreness as they moved to 16-6 with a 105-96 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

    The Bucks, who are second in the Eastern Conference, were also without Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday but Bobby Portis (20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists) stepped up.

    Jordan Nwora added 17 points, while Brook Lopez (14 points including three three-pointers and six rebounds) and Jevon Carter (14 points and six assists) were strong contributors.

  • Morant fined $35,000 for 'inappropriate language' toward referee Morant fined $35,000 for 'inappropriate language' toward referee

    Ja Morant has been fined $35,000 by the NBA for "directing inappropriate language towards a game official" and for not leaving the court soon enough.

    The punishment was announced by the league on Saturday in response to the Memphis Grizzlies guard's behaviour in the 109-101 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

    With just over a minute left of the game, Morant was given a technical and ejected by the referee, which provoked an angry response from the 23-year-old.

    He took to Instagram after the game to suggest officials have "too much power," adding: "you get ejected nowadays for telling a mf the same thing they told you."

    Morant has been enjoying another productive season in Memphis, averaging 28.2 points, 7.3 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game for the 13-9 Grizzlies, who visit the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

  • Bucks forward Middleton happy to be back after first match since April Bucks forward Middleton happy to be back after first match since April

    Khris Middleton was happy to get minutes under his belt despite defeat after he played his first game since April for the Milwaukee Bucks against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    A rampant pair of performances from Anthony Davis and LeBron James – who scored 44 points and passed Magic Johnson on the all-time NBA assists list respectively – saw the visitors downed 133-129.

    But even with the loss, it marked a major landmark for the Bucks as they welcomed back forward Middleton to their line-up, having seen him sidelined since April's playoffs.

    With 17 points and seven assists, the 31-year-old kept himself busy throughout, and expressed his delight at getting back on the floor with the rest of his team-mates.

    "It felt really good to be back out there with the guys competing, playing," he said. "[I've got] a range of emotions.

    "[I've] been through a lot these last couple months - happy, sad, anxious, nervous. To finally get out there and play and get a lot of those nerves past me, it felt pretty good."

    The Bucks head to the Charlotte Hornets as part of a back-to-back on Saturday, but head coach Mike Budenholzer suggested Middleton will not be played again so quickly in succession.

    "To have Khris back is huge for us," he added. "[It is] pretty impressive how seamlessly he got back into the game, [at] both ends of the court.

    "We talk a lot about how Khris, he's just a basketball player. He's a smart player [who] just understands the game. [He is] not overly reliant on athleticism or things like that.

    "For him to come back and be able to catch a good rhythm – he's got to keep working but a big step for us tonight to get Khris Middleton back."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.