The last time Paolo Banchero scored under 10 points in a game was in a late-February 2021-22 Duke basketball win at Virginia. His eight points that night marked just his second single-digit scoring performance with the Blue Devils.
Yes, the top five-star recruit from Seattle, number one. After he finished one ACC Rookie of the Year, he was eliminated by the Orlando Magic with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, and the number of points he scored under 10 against anyone in his teenage years alone could be useful Count with one hand.
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But Banchero, still only 19, added one more such game on Monday night.
In the Magic’s first preseason game, a 109-97 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward put up uncharacteristically flat numbers: 8 points, 2 Rebounds, 1 assist and 4. 24 minute turnovers.
He went 2-for-9 from the field, 0-for-2 from downtown and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Banchero recorded two steals and one block on the other end of the floor. However, he sometimes guards Ja Morant on the defensive end and becomes the last player in a long and growing line to be left behind by a quick playmaker:
As he detailed after confronting Morant’s synchronised cannons. In the first televised NBA Test outside of Summer League, the Magic blocked him after averaging 20.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in two games, though he needed at least a brief adjustment period.
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“Of course, they played fast,” Banchero told the media. “Playing against a good team and great players is a good experience and being able to make mistakes, but obviously, go back to the movies and know what you did wrong and adjust.”
Against Memphis, Banchero often served as Orlando’s primary ball handler. He points out that he often finds himself in a completely different role than he did in Duke basketball, when Jeremy Roach, Trevor Giles or Wendell Moore would play with Mark Williams or Theo John runs the pick-and-roll as the primary bowler:
“I think for me, [the biggest takeaway] Too many pick-and-rolls, how much I do, and either set the screen or leave. In college, a lot is isolated. So that’s what I’m used to doing a lot of my reading, just pure isolation…I’m used to doing a lot more reading on the pick-and-roll as a handler and roller….I think my Reading speed is much slower than usual. “
Paolo Banchero isn’t the only Duke basketball product to rest during games. Despite his struggles, he outscored two others: Orlando center Wendell Carter Jr., who had 5 points on 1-of-5 shooting; and Memphis point guard Theis Jones, who had 6 points on 1-of-5 shooting. -8 games.
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Orlando will travel to the San Antonio Spurs for the second of five preseason games on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Memphis is now 2-0 in the preseason and is set to play three more games before hosting the Miami Heat on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.
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