The Orlando Magic chose Paulo Banchero with the first pick in the NBA draft.
He was closely followed by Chet Holmgren, who went to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Jabari Smith, who went to the Houston Rockets.
The top three were committed and Banchero, who didn’t work with Orlando, was picked ahead of the other two players after a stellar season with Duke.
Banchero joins a young team in Orlando that already includes 2017 top pick Markelle Fultz, two top 8 picks from the 2021 draft in Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs, and 2020 pick Cole Anthony .
Orlando also has No. 6 picks from the 2017 and 2018 drafts, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba. It’s possible Orlando could have as many as six lottery picks, nine top-16 picks and 12 first-rounders on his roster by the start of next season.
The Magic had struck a deal with Los Angeles earlier Thursday, trading the No. 35 pick for a future second-round pick and cash, but still retains the No. 32 pick.
Thursday night marked the fourth time Orlando made the first choice. The Magic brought Shaquille O’Neal into the top pick in 1992. Chris Webber was Orlando No. 1 in 1993 and was traded that same night for Penny Hardaway and a pack of future picks, eventually turning into Vince Carter, later Muller. And in 2004, the Magic chose Dwight Howard with the first choice.
If Banchero can be anywhere near as successful as these other names, then the franchise has made a very good choice.
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