The Orlando Magic have pulled a surprise by taking Duke power forward Paolo Banchero with the top overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday at the Barclays Center.
The Seattle-born 19-year-old, who is 208cm tall, was named the ACC Rookie of the Year earlier this year.
The NBA-ready Banchero, who is eligible to represent Italy, averaged 17.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists across 39 games for Duke.
The Magic had been linked with Auburn power forward Jabari Smith Jr who ended up going third to the Houston Rockets.
Sandwiched between them was Gonzaga 7-foot center Chet Holmgren who was picked up by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I had a feeling, from the information I was being told, that it was just kind of up in the air,” Banchero told ESPN about being first pick.
“Orlando wasn’t really sure yet, and just to be ready for whatever. I didn’t find out, though, that I was actually getting picked until about 20 seconds before the commissioner got on the stage.
“I didn’t even have time to really think about it or anything. It just kind of happened. I can’t believe it, but I’m ready. I’m ready.”
Iowa power forward Keegan Murray joined the Sacramento Kings with pick four, while the Detroit Pistons grabbed Purdue shooting guard Jaden Ivey at five.
The Pistons were busy, picking up four-time All-Star Kemba Walker as part of a three-team trade involving the New York Knicks.
It is believed, the trade was made by the Knicks to create cap space to bring in Jalen Brunson from the Dallas Mavericks.
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