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Paolo Banchero named NBA Rookie of the Year

Power forward Paolo Banchero becomes the third Orlando Magic player to be named NBA Rookie of the Year.

Power forward Paolo Banchero becomes the third Orlando Magic player to be named NBA Rookie of the Year.
Gregory ShamusDiarioAS

Right from the start of the 2022-23 NBA season, Paolo Banchero was the big favourite to win the Rookie of the Year award. The 20-year-old Orlando Magic forward lived up to expectations and successfully met those forecasts.

On Wednesday, the NBA announced that the Duke graduate had won the award after averaging 20 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Among the league’s rookies, he was the leading scorer, third-best in assists, fourth in steals and fifth in rebounds.

Almost unanimous decision

The Italian-American came within two votes of winning Rookie of the Year unanimously. Banchero received 98 of 100 first-place votes for a total of 494 points out of a possible 500. The other finalists were Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler and OKC Thunder guard Jalen Williams. Also, players considered were Bennedict Mathurin, of the Indiana Pacers; Keegan Murray of the Sacramento Kings; and Jaden Ivey of the Detroit Pistons.

2023 NBA Rookie of the Year Voting2023 NBA Rookie of the Year Voting

  • Paolo Banchero (1st: 98 2nd: 1 3rd: 1 Total: 494)
  • Jalen Williams (1st: 0 2nd: 75 3rd: 16 Total: 241)
  • Walker Kessler (1st: 2nd: 17 3rd: 53 Total: 114)
  • Bennedict Mathurin (1st: 0 2nd: 4 3rd: 15 Total: 27)
  • Keegan Murray (1st: 0 2nd: 3 3rd: 12 Total: 21)
  • Jaden Ivey (1st: 0 2nd: 0 3rd: 3 Total: 3)

Banchero’s impact was tangible for the Magic as they went from 22 to 34 wins and came close to earning a play-in spot.

Paolo Banchero is the third Magic player to win Rookie of the Year

In winning the Rookie of the Year award, Banchero emulated Shaquille O’Neal and Mike Miller, who were the only Orlando players to win this award. O’Neal won it in 1992-93, over Alonzo Mourning, and Miller in 2000-01, against Kenyon Martin, Marc Jackson, Darius Miles and Morris Peterson.

During the TNT broadcast of the award ceremony, Banchero recalled a conversation with Miller, his manager, about being named Rookie of the Year and explained that it was a goal set from the moment he was recruited...

“He looked at me and asked if I would be Rookie of the Year. I confidently said yes,” Banchero replied. “It was a goal I always had, from the moment I was recruited. I’m happy I made it.”


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