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Paolo Banchero mock draft: Why Duke star is No. 1 in our 2022 NBA board, plus a full scouting report


Paolo Banchero is the form of one that has all the time appeared destined for stardom. His mom, Rhonda Smith, was a dominant submit participant for the Washington Huskies, graduating as this system’s all-time main scorer earlier than changing into a 3rd spherical choose within the WNBA draft. His father Mario Banchero was a good finish on the soccer discipline for UW. When the couple settled in Seattle to have youngsters, it was instantly clear their oldest was going to be an outlier: Paolo was already 3-feet tall at just 15-months old, with docs predicting he might get as huge as 6’10.

Banchero excelled in each of his dad and mom’ sports activities. As a freshman, he was a part-time starter at quarterback for a state championship team at O’Dea Excessive Faculty. There was solely drawback: the pediatricians nailed their projection of his top. QBs standing 6’10 merely don’t exist. Happily, Banchero was glorious on the basketball flooring too, as the entire nation now is aware of.

Banchero was the driving drive behind Duke’s Ultimate 4 run, flashing a hanging mixture of dimension and talent that has lengthy elevated him forward of his friends. He dealt with the ball like a guard, throwing no-look passes and ideal lobs as soon as opposing defenses began to promote out on his scoring capacity. Oh, Paolo can rating too, ripping three-pointers, bodying opponents within the submit, and entering into his midrange bag like a seasoned professional.

Banchero’s expertise has all the time been straightforward to see. Discovering a great NBA comparability for him has been extra of a problem. He’s been in comparison with everybody from Jayson Tatum and Carmelo Anthony to Blake Griffin, Julius Randle, and Chris Webber throughout his freshman season. A few of these comps really feel shut, however none of them is sort of proper. That’s as a result of there haven’t been many gamers this tall, this sturdy, and this adept at creating offense for himself and others at such a younger age.

Nonetheless, evaluators had been left wanting extra from Banchero all through the season. He was pegged as the No. 3 or No. 4 player in the 2022 NBA Draft by the mainstream consensus entering the tournament, with questions on his athleticism, capturing capacity, and tendency to cease the ball. Since the beginning of March Insanity, although, it’s grow to be simpler and simpler to see the imaginative and prescient for Banchero as the long run No. 1 total choose.

We’ve had Banchero pegged because the No. 1 player in this NBA draft class since our initial board in July, and he hasn’t left that spot all season. Right here’s what makes the Duke ahead our prime prospect on this class.

Banchero is the very best shot creator within the 2022 NBA Draft class

Banchero separates himself from the opposite prime prospects on this class — particularly Gonzaga huge man Chet Holmgren and Auburn ahead Jabari Smith Jr. — along with his shot creation capacity. Whereas Holmgren and Smith want another person to set them as much as be at their finest offensively, Banchero has the potential to be a main initiator on the subsequent degree as a result of he can mix passing and scoring off the bounce like a 6’10, 250-pound guard.

Banchero is a talented dwell dribble passer with great imaginative and prescient. The second defenses load as much as cease him, he can whip a dime to an open teammate.

Banchero can also be an especially superior ball handler at this stage for a participant his dimension. He’s in a position to shake defenders off the dribble with out elite pace by preserving them off-balance. He does a great job getting low on his drives and generates loads of energy as he rumbles into the lane. Banchero additionally has the agility to place himself for finishes as soon as he will get to the rim and the talent to put within the ball with both hand.

Banchero doesn’t have to get all the best way to the rim to attain. He’s glorious capturing from midrange, the place he can use deft footwork to set himself up for pull-ups when defenses strive to remove his lane to the rim.

Banchero is a nightmare to protect as a result of he can beat you in so many various methods. Every facet of his shot creation already feels fine-tuned for somebody who is just 19 years previous.

Passing is perhaps Banchero’s finest talent

Banchero is clearly a product of a technology that grew up watching huge wings tackle main playmaking duties on the highest ranges of the sport. In a distinct period, coaches would have seen Banchero’s body and informed him to get within the submit. As a substitute, it appears like he’s modeled his sport after LeBron James or Luka Doncic — stars who needed to develop terrific passing chops to make sure they might have the ball of their fingers as typically as doable.

The thought of Paolo as a lead choice within the NBA begins along with his capacity to seek out open teammates as a passer. It’s not frequent to see somebody this huge and this younger routinely drop assists like this.

Banchero is especially correct when throwing passes in the direction of the rim. At Duke, he was paired within the entrance court docket with a superb lob risk in Mark Williams who might flush something close to the basket. Paolo proved he might reliably put the ball in place for Williams to dunk it. Watch the best way he sends the protection to the wing shooter with this ball pretend earlier than delivering the alley-oop to his huge man.

Banchero’s top is a serious benefit for him as a passer. He can see over the protection and make passes over size that nominal level guards would have robust time delivering. This cross in opposition to Arkansas within the Elite Eight required full extension. What number of gamers at any degree of the sport can spot the large man open and nonetheless get off the cross in opposition to the double staff?

When Banchero does play out of the submit, he places defenses in an inconceivable scenario: threat him scoring over single protection, or ship two at him and watch him cross it to the open man.

Whereas Banchero earned a fame as considerably of a ball stopper at Duke, he did present the flexibility to make fast passes when he knew he had an open window. His high-low passing with Williams was terrific all yr, and needs to be a significant factor within the NBA if he’s paired with the correct heart.

Banchero additionally appears constructed to function as an offensive hub in opposition to zone defenses. With NBA groups taking part in extra zone than ever in the previous few years, Banchero’s capacity to face in the midst of the zone and hit open teammates or rating himself could possibly be a significant weapon.

Banchero can rating as a driver, too

Banchero has a great first step, however it’s not fairly elite. It doesn’t matter: he’s nonetheless in a position to win as a driver by overpowering opponents when he will get downhill. He has the body to play by contact, and he doesn’t again away from it. He does a great job defending the ball and avoiding turnovers earlier than utilizing his contact to complete on the basket.

Banchero is especially good when he already has some constructive momentum as he catches the ball. He needs to be actually good in dribble-handoff conditions on the subsequent degree whether or not defenses attempt to change on him or not. He sometimes performs beneath management, and loves to make use of ball fakes across the basket.

Banchero additionally has an excellent spin transfer that he goes to typically. The truth that he can play with each fingers helps him significantly, and separates him from somebody like Julius Randle. Listed below are two performs that present how Banchero units up his defender for a spin transfer.

When all else fails, Paolo can physique somebody on the rim to create the separation he wants. Sure, most NBA forwards are going to be stronger than poor Joey Hauser right here, however that’s nonetheless a 6’9, 230-pound man Banchero simply dislodged from his spot. Banchero’s energy and energy shall be close to elite even by NBA requirements.

Banchero’s midrange sport is NBA-ready

Banchero’s midrange capturing was instantly on show when Duke beat Kentucky within the season opener again in Nov. Banchero went 7-for-8 on two-point pictures, with most of them coming from about 17-feet away.

Banchero loves to make use of a jab step to maintain defenders off steadiness. It’s straightforward to examine NBA groups utilizing him in Horns units and permitting him to fireplace from midrange look to assist set up his scoring.

Banchero may also get into his dribble pull-up sport from midrange. Whereas his numbers weren’t superb on non-rim twos — he was 72-of-188 (38.3 p.c) on the season — he’s clearly snug and assured in that a part of the ground.

Banchero can rating within the submit

Banchero doesn’t draw back from contact within the submit. Submit-ups accounted for 15.2 p.c of his offense this yr, per Synergy Sports activities, which was his third hottest play sort behind spot-ups and isolations (each at about 20 p.c). He ranked within the 74th percentile of the nation in submit scoring effectivity.

Banchero does a great job of realizing when he will get a matchup he can bully within the submit. He sometimes doesn’t waste time pounding the ball down low, as an alternative making decisive actions and reducing his shoulder to create the area he wants for a have a look at the basket.

Doubling Banchero within the submit feels prefer it solely works to his benefit. He’s agile sufficient to shortly change into his face-up sport, and his mixture of top plus mushy contact permits him to hit pictures over contests.

He may also make the straightforward cross to kick out to an open shooter when he sees the double come within the submit:

His capacity to hit robust submit fadeaways needs to be a weapon in late shot clock conditions and within the playoffs when the sport slows down. There’s actually nothing the protection can do about this.

Banchero is usually a consider transition

The transition numbers had been middling for Banchero this season — he scored within the 56th percentile of the nation on such performs — however he has the instruments to be simpler within the open flooring. He’s a great rebounder and feels snug pushing the ball down the court docket himself after grabbing a board.

When he will get a full head of steam, there aren’t many gamers who can cease him from ending by contact on the rim.

Banchero’s capacity to area the ground shall be a serious swing issue

Three-point capturing shall be one of many greatest query marks for Banchero within the draft. He went 42-for-126 from three this yr, good for 33.3 p.c from deep. He completed within the forty third percentile on spot-up alternatives this yr, per Synergy Sports activities, which grades out as common.

With the ability to area the ground for his teammates shall be essential for Banchero’s success. Whereas the numbers aren’t significantly encouraging — particularly in contrast a tremendous shooter in Jabari Smith and a great one in Chet Holmgren — there’s purpose to consider in Holmgren’s shot transferring ahead. He does a great job relocating off the ball, and moving into pictures when he is aware of he has a clear look.

Banchero additionally likes to fireplace threes in transition or semi-transition. His top helps him shoot over close-outs. Whereas he doesn’t have the quickest launch, it’s a great signal for him to be taking and making above the break threes at this level in his improvement.

After this feed to A.J. Griffin within the Candy 16 in opposition to Texas Tech’s No. 1 protection, Banchero does a great job recognizing he must area to the nook when Griffin places the ball on the ground. After two dribbles, Griffin hits Banchero with a cross that’s barely off course, however he gathers it and drains the shot with ease.

Banchero’s choice to take midrange pictures over threes at Duke is a bit paying homage to Tatum’s freshman yr beneath Coach Okay. Tatum took 32.1 p.c of his discipline objective makes an attempt from three and made 34.2 p.c of them. Banchero takes 25.5 p.c of his pictures from midrange, and makes 33.3 p.c.

It’s unlikely Banchero will develop right into a reputable pull-up three murderer within the NBA the best way Tatum has, however simply enhancing his catch-and-shoot stroke a little bit bit would go a great distance. Banchero going 8-of-15 from three in Duke’s march to the Ultimate 4 is an enormous purpose why the Blue Devils had been in a position to come out of a stacked West Regional.

Banchero will face questions on the defensive finish

Changing into a great NBA defender is about mastering a mix of physicality, intelligence, and communication. For all of his bodily items, there are a number of questions on how Banchero interprets on the defensive finish. His comparatively common 7’1 wingspan limits his positional versatility. He’s not an explosive leaper off the ground. Scouts may even want he was a little bit sooner transferring backwards.

Nonetheless, Banchero has the instruments to be an above-average NBA defender finally. He’s normally in the correct place, and easily takes up numerous area within the lane along with his huge body. Groups will most likely play him on the 4 and use him as a weakside roamer who can dart in to guard the rim when he must.

Banchero goes to need to get extra technically sound on the defensive fundamentals, significantly when closing out on shooters. He’s not the kind of defender who’s going to wash up different folks’s errors, however he ought to have the ability to execute his coach’s scheme. The large query for no matter staff lands the No. 1 choose is that if Banchero’s shot creation outweighs Holmgren’s elite protection and Smith’s elite capturing.

Why Paolo Banchero ought to go No. 1 within the 2022 NBA Draft

Whichever staff wins the lottery goes to have a troublesome choice on their fingers. Banchero, Smith, and Holmgren are all seen as contenders for the No. 1 total choose. There’s additionally Jaden Ivey, the sophomore guard from Purdue’s whose sport feels constructed for the league.

It gained’t be a simple selection. Banchero is probably going the worst shooter and worst defensive participant of the highest trio. The considerations about his lack of fast decision-making are actual — loads of these clips above present him holding the ball for longer than any coach would really like. His sport simply doesn’t translate as seamlessly into ‘function participant’ duties as the opposite prime prospects.

Nonetheless, most groups selecting on the prime of the draft will need to discover their A1 star, and Banchero has a better likelihood to show into that than anybody else on this class. Believing in Banchero because the No. 1 choose comes all the way down to believing in his shot creation. I’m shopping for it for a number of causes:

  • He’s already one of many higher 6’10+ ball handlers round
  • He’s already one of many higher 6’10+ passers round
  • He’s the very best submit scorer of the bunch
  • He’s the very best midrange scorer of the bunch
  • He has the body to play by contact and be a constant free throw generator

It additionally appears like Banchero will shoot it higher than 33 p.c from deep given his type and confidence. If he can rise up to 36 p.c or so within the league on first rate quantity, mixing in pull-ups with spot-ups, he’s going to be very troublesome to defend.

Even when groups aren’t shopping for Banchero is a real main initiator, there’s loads of worth in having an excellent shot creator as your No. 2 star. Banchero could possibly be actually good in a Jaylen Brown or Brandon Ingram-type function subsequent to a different stud. Brown is in fact considerably extra athletic and Ingram is longer, however Banchero is larger and a greater passer than both. Paolo might become an excellent main choice, however even when he doesn’t he ought to nonetheless be an impactful star.

The Rockets, Blazers, Pacers, Thunder, and Spurs could be nice suits for Banchero. Groups just like the Pelicans and Magic might simply determine that Smith or Holmgren match higher on their present roster. The Pistons must decide if Banchero holds the ball an excessive amount of to play subsequent to Cade Cunningham. There shall be loads of enjoyable questions on the prime of the draft no matter how the order shakes out.

All issues thought of, Banchero is our prime choose for many groups, simply as he’s been since July. Right here’s the mock draft we printed simply earlier than the beginning of the NCAA event. We’ll have a brand new one subsequent week:

2022 NBA mock draft, pre-tournament

Choose Crew Participant From Place Age
Choose Crew Participant From Place Age
1 Houston Rockets Paolo Banchero Duke Ahead Freshman
2 Orlando Magic Chet Holmgren Gonzaga Ahead/Massive Freshman
3 Detroit Pistons Jabari Smith Jr. Auburn Ahead/Massive Freshman
4 Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder Jalen Duren Memphis Heart Freshman
5 Indiana Pacers Jaden Ivey Purdue Guard Sophomore
6 Sacramento Kings AJ Griffin Duke Wing Freshman
7 San Antonio Spurs Keegan Murray Iowa Ahead Sophomore
8 Portland Path Blazers Johnny Davis Wisconsin Guard Sophomore
9 Portland Path Blazers (from Pelicans) Tari Eason LSU Ahead Sophomore
10 New York Knicks Ben Mathurin Arizona Guard Sophomore
11 Memphis Grizzlies (from Lakers) Jeremy Sochan Baylor Ahead Freshman
12 Washington Wizards Kennedy Chandler Tennessee Guard Freshman
13 Charlotte Hornets TyTy Washington Kentucky Guard Freshman
14 Atlanta Hawks Kendall Brown Baylor Guard Freshman
15 Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder Patrick Baldwin Milwaukee Ahead Freshman
16 Houston Rockets Ochai Agbaji Kansas Wing Senior
17 San Antonio Spurs Jaden Hardy G League Guard Freshman
18 Minnesota Timberwolves Blake Wesley Notre Dame Guard Freshman
19 Indiana Pacers MarJon Beaucamp G League Wing Freshman
20 San Antonio Spurs Nikola Jovic Serbia Ahead Born
21 Denver Nuggets Dyson Daniels G League Wing Born
22 Chicago Bulls Mark Williams Duke Heart Freshman
23 Brooklyn Nets Caleb Houstan Michigan Wing Freshman
24 Memphis Grizzlies (from Jazz) Walker Kessler Auburn Heart Sophomore
25 Dallas Mavericks Malaki Branham Ohio State Guard Freshman
26 Milwaukee Bucks EJ Liddell Ohio State Ahead Junior
27 Miami Warmth Max Christie Michigan State Guard Freshman
28 Golden State Warriors Jean Montero Time beyond regulation Elite Guard Born
29 Memphis Grizzlies Harrison Ingram Stanford Wing Freshman
30 Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder Bryce McGowens Nebraska Wing Freshman

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