- The Orlando Magic selected Duke’s Paolo Banchero with the first pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
- Reports all day had Banchero going to the Houston Rockets at No. 3, behind Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren.
- NBA Twitter was shocked by the sudden change by the Magic.
The NBA Draft order was supposed to be set in stone.
The top of the order appeared to be set at very least. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out Thursday morning that the Orlando Magic were expected to take Auburn’s Jabari Smith at No. 1.
Then things changed.
Shortly before the draft, Wojnarowski put out this tweet.
As the Orlando Magic move closer to getting on the clock, Duke's Paolo Banchero is now looming as a frontrunner to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
Suddenly, the Duke big man with the wild purple suit had surged to the top of draft boards.
Banchero is an impressive prospect and perfectly befitting of the No. 1 over pick. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a freshman and led the Blue Devils to the Final Four.
But the pick still came as a surprise.
Early on in the process, Holmgren was seen as the top prospect. The uber-athletic Smith surged in recent months. Instead, it was neither of the two.
And basketball Twitter was shocked by the change of events.
Orlando ultimately elected to select Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick, giving the Magic a 6-foot-10, shot-creating dynamo who should be able carry a significant offensive load early in his career with his ability to handle, pass and shoot. My early ROY favorite. pic.twitter.com/IH4fOezWX7
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 24, 2022
Wow. Great smokescreen by the magic and john Hammond. They wanted him all along and got everyone to believe it was Jabari. Great work https://t.co/awVoVRmGYJ
— Sam (@SPSnieder) June 24, 2022
— Tommy Goodwin (@tommygoodwin) June 24, 2022
Love this for the Magic. Player with the highest floor and potentially the highest ceiling. Rare shooting for 6’10 and has the ability & body to be a great defender. Going to be the best player from this draft. https://t.co/67b3BM2S0W
— Dillon Blair (@DBthagen) June 24, 2022
Banchero’s pick didn’t set off much of a chain reaction. Holmgren still went No. 2 to Oklahoma City. Smith then fell to three at Houston. Banchero now joins Jalen Suggs as a cornerstone for a young Orlando team.
Welcome to the NBA, Paolo Banchero. Everyone will be sure to know you’re name after tonight’s wildness.