Paolo Banchero finished a successful freshman year at Duke, averaging a stat line of roughly 17 points, eight rebounds, and three assists while also ranking first on my 2022 NBA Draft Big Board. Banchero took the Blue Devils to the Final Four; unfortunately, their season ended there, but Banchero proved that he could lead a high-caliber team to incredible heights. During the NCAA Tournament in March, Banchero averaged roughly 19 points and eight rebounds per game on 50% from the field and 53% from deep; he provided numerous highlights and greatly resembled a power forward version of Carmelo Anthony. It would be hard for any team, regardless of fit, to pass on that upside with the first overall pick!
Paolo Banchero Scouting Report
Banchero projects as a primary scorer at the next level, and there are virtually no doubts about that amongst scouts and experts. He was the primary scoring option on a team with four potential first-round picks; the offense ran through him on a nightly basis. Banchero can also continue to develop as an elite playmaker, as evidenced by his 3.2 assists per game. The only concern for scouts is whether or not his three-point shooting will improve at the next level. However, that is a non-issue, in my opinion, due to solid mechanics and a 34% clip from deep this season. That percentage is nothing to scoff at for a freshman in college.
Weight: 250 lbs
Strengths: Few players in this draft (or any draft, for that matter) are more natural and purer scorers than Paolo Banchero, and he just so happens to be 6-foot-10 with a plus wingspan, too. Banchero moves with the fluidity of a wing but can also score in the low post due to his lower body strength and crafty finishing around the rim. Additionally, Paolo is a terrific vertical athlete off two feet, which is incredibly important for his rebounding and finishing abilities.
Weaknesses: As mentioned above, the biggest drawback for Banchero is three-point shooting. His shooting hardly resembles a credible weakness, though, considering that he still finished the season at 34% from deep. If he ever develops into a high-30s shooter from behind the arc at the NBA level, he will be one of the scariest players in the league. Banchero’s defense has also been critiqued, but I believe in his long-term ability on that end of the floor; he’s going to be tough to score on at the next level due to his size, length, athleticism, and lateral quickness.
Paolo Banchero Stats
Paolo Banchero NBA Draft Ranking, Team Fit, Landing Spot
Draft Ranking: 1
Team Fit: Banchero fits anywhere he can immediately start and possibly get reps as a primary scorer. Those destinations would include Detroit or Orlando. Paolo could fit in with Houston, but Kevin Porter Jr and Jalen Green will naturally command a lot of volume on the offensive end, which may not lead to a cohesive unit long term; if there are too many alpha scorers on one team, it might cause chemistry issues. Oklahoma City could work, as well, because it doesn’t have any scorers in the frontcourt, and he would immediately see a ton of volume.
Landing Spot: Banchero should be selected between the first and fourth picks by the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, or Sacramento Kings. It would be a minor shock to see Banchero drop past four, but it is possible, considering a few of these teams are a bit untraditional in drafting styles.
Paolo Banchero NBA Comparison: Carmelo Anthony
Paolo Banchero is essentially the power forward version of Carmelo Anthony. Banchero loves the mid-range; he’s a three-level scorer with a strong, wide physique and tremendous lower body strength. Banchero is a premier offensive scorer and resembles Melo coming out of college in more ways than one. While Melo may have been slightly quicker and more agile, Banchero has more size and raw power. Altogether, this is one of the comparisons I feel is closest in this draft, and I can’t wait to see it play out.
Paolo Banchero Highlights
Below are a few highlights of Paolo Banchero that show just how special of a basketball player he is and why he’s my No. 1 player on the 2022 Lineups.com NBA Draft Big Board. Watch how talented Banchero is working out of the mid-post, whether facing up or with his back to the basket. He resembles Melo in many ways on the offensive glass: explosive off two feet, strong lower body, and highly physical.