Paolo Banchero is one of the biggest names to enter the 2022 NBA Draft. The freshman phenom had an excellent year at Duke that was capped with an unexpected Final Four run.
Paolo Banchero 2022 NBA Draft Profile
Duke’s incredible Final Four run in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final year was one of the best stories in the college basketball world this year. Whether you love or hate the Blue Devils, seeing an icon go out with one final shot at the big dance was great for the sport. None of that would have been possible if not for the play of Banchero. The 6’10” forward was Duke’s go-to guy throughout the season. He led the team in points (17.2) and rebounds (7.8) per game. He was also second in assists, steals, and blocks per game.
Banchero raked in the accolades in his only collegiate campaign. Not only did he make the ACC All-Freshman Team but he was named ACC Rookie of the Year. The five-star recruit was a member of the All-American Third Team and the All-ACC First Team. Banchero’s heroic efforts down the stretch were rewarded with All-ACC Tournament and All-NCAA Tournament honors. It came as no surprise when he declared for the NBA Draft in April of 2022.
At 6’10” with the ability to create his own shot off of the dribble, Banchero is one of the most versatile players in this year’s draft. The big man has the ability to create for himself and others in the half-court offense. His size and athleticism will make him a difficult matchup in the league from day one. He’s a strong finisher at the rim and has shown the ability to make plays in transition.
On top of his athletic prowess, Banchero is armed with a deadly accurate mid-range jumper. One of the most efficient shooters in the nation from that area, he is able to get that shot off whether off the dribble or in catch and shoot chances. Banchero has an assortment of post moves that will help him get work in the paint while he adjusts to the physicality of the NBA game.
It starts on the defensive end. Banchero needs to improve in his off-ball awareness. While he has shown flashes of promise with his weakside rotations, in general, the big man needs to make better decisions here and work on his timing. Banchero will also need to improve his decision-making when defending against the pick and roll. He has shown the ability to stay in front of his man on the big stage, so interested teams can expect improvement over time.
Banchero is a decent three-point shooter but will need to work on his consistency to become a real threat from deep. He also needs to work on when to attack on offense and when to pull back and run the offense.
The combination of size, skill, and athleticism from Banchero brings several names to mind when comparing him to NBA players of the past and present. Dynamic forwards like Juwan Howard and Anthony Mason come to mind. Banchero has more to offer than these two offensively and has the potential to be a recurring All-Star in the league. If Mason and Howard are his floor, Kevin Garnett is his ceiling.
2022 NBA Draft Projection
Top three pick in the first round.