Bancello’s summer debut was a huge success


Las Vegas (AP) — What happened in the first few seconds of this year’s NBA Summer League: Among the squeaks of the sneakers and the noise produced by the people filling the seats in almost every lower bowl in the arena, one voice is still clearly audible.

The voice was that of Paolo Banchero.

At the first moment of his first NBA game, Banchero was the loudest speaker in the defense of Orlando Magic. And that was one of the many good signs that 19-year-old Duke showed during the opening night of Orlando’s professional basketball, which won the Houston Rockets 91-77 on Thursday.

“I think I was fine,” Banchero said. “I missed a simple shot, missed a layup, missed a couple coming and going. Just warm your body and get it back, and you can use the Summer League to get it back.”

The decision whether Magic has made the right decision by choosing No. 1 Banchero in this year’s NBA Draft will not be made in Las Vegas over the next few days, or by what happens when the regular season begins in October. .. Or if he wins the Rookie of the Year. When the actual work to be judged is done, it will be made years from now.

But this was already clear. The child knows how to play.

Bancello’s final number: 17 points with a 5-12 shot, with 6 assists and 6 fouls (more allowed in the Summer League) in 26 minutes. Overreacting to summer statistics is quickly becoming an annual NBA tradition, but they are all completely irrelevant.

The relevant part was how Banchero continued to play correctly.

“It’s great to play with someone like him. He can create for others and for himself, so the rest of us will be easier. .It’s very fun.”

Magic was to be part of the first Summer League game before drafting Banchero. The Las Vegas schedule was announced a few days before the draft took place. This is a television event that began at 10 pm in the east as part of the NBA’s marketing, with Portland and Detroit playing as Midnight Madness after the Rocket Magic match.

But Banchero was part of the reason why the night had a big game atmosphere. Scalper was outside the arena three hours before the match and casually asked if he needed a ticket. Magic coach Jamal Mosley couldn’t walk 10 feet in UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center unless someone greeted or waved. Big names — past number one picks like John Wall, Hall of Fame players like Jerry West, all-stars like DeMar DeRozan, and NBA champions like Kyle Kuzma — grabbed the courtyard seats and watched.

The child was not disappointed.

“Summer League, it’s like Vegas. Have fun and play basketball,” Banchero said.

When Banchero first touched the ball, he didn’t hesitate to hit Devin Canadi for the Open 3. His next touch fouled Jabari Smith Jr. I thought Orlando would make the number one choice.

He made the first four shots, two of which were from the 3-point range. He forced Houston to make at least three turnovers just by being in the right place of defense. He felt the double team coming to the post-up, played smart again, and found three more open canadies.

Of course, he wasn’t perfect.

Orlando’s Emmanuel Terry made a great backdoor cut where Orlando’s Emmanuel Terry was supposed to dunk in a few minutes after scoring or assisting 14 of Orlando’s first 17 points. Banchero was late for the pass (one of his very few early mistakes). He was prone to fouls, but it’s not a big deal in the Summer League. He tried to attack the basket 1 to 3 in the second half of the first half. He was fouled and went to the line, but overwhelming some guys in July is a lot easier than trying it against a real pro when the game is important. Banchero slapped the ball with anger when he missed a rebound that lags behind Houston’s putback score.

“He wasn’t perfect,” said Magic’s summer coach Jesse Mermuys. Seeing what he didn’t do, he clearly played a great match. “

However, the good signs outweighed the mistakes.

Many Magic veterans, among them Markelle Fultz’s # 1 companions, jumped off the courtside seats many times, depending on what Banchero was doing on the floor. And Banchero was one of the first to cheer when he was away from the game and his teammates did particularly well.

It was a game, a summer debut, an easily forgotten result.

But that was many first moments and not so big for Banchero. He had a tattoo on his right arm last year. There is no pressure, it says. That is the belief that he is alive.

“I’ve always dealt with the pressure well. I was able to handle it. After all, it’s just basketball. All the noise in the world, all the pressure can be present. , In the end you have to get out there that day and fight the other five guys. “


Tim Reynolds is the Associated Press national basketball writer. Write to him at treynolds (at)


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