Orlando Magic No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero put himself in the rare company during his NBA debut Wednesday night. The 2022-23 season of the Orlando Magic began on the road against Detroit Pistons. Despite the Magic losing, all eyes were on Paolo Banchero, this year’s top draft pick.
The rookie at 19 years old finished his first NBA match with 27 points (11-18FG), nine rebounds, and five assists in 35 minutes.
Banchero is the No. 1 pick, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or LeBron James. Since 1969, the No. 1 picks have been among the few to post at least 25 points and five rebounds in an NBA debut.
He also became the first NBA rookie to score more points than Allen Iverson, who scored 30 points in 1996.
Banchero was the Magic’s leading scorer and set the tone right from the beginning. He scored four of the team’s initial points and finished the quarter with seven points shooting 3-3.
He scored three of his 13 points in the fourth quarter when he made a strong one-handed dunk on Pistons guard Cory Joseph. This earned him a foul for a traditional 3-point play.
Banchero scored 27 points, which was the most by a Magic player in their debut. He beat Shaquille Oleal, Penny Hardaway, and Dwight Howard, former Magic legends.
O’Neal, Howard, and Howard were both No. 1, draft picks in each of their respective classes.