Paolo Banchero Matches LeBron’s Historic Rookie Debut

Paolo Banchero

Orlando Magic rookie Paolo Banchero matched LeBron James’ historic debut stat-line of 25+ points, 5+ rebounds, and 5+ assists in his team’s 113-109 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

Banchero finished the game with 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists on 11-18 shooting from the field.

“Credit to my teammates for finding me,” Banchero said after the game, via ESPN.

“It’s always nice to see the ball get in that early, get easy buckets around the rim. That’s how I try to play, inside out. Try to get easy stuff around the basket and expand out and do more stuff throughout the game.”

Banchero, 19, was selected first overall by the Magic in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Many pundits projected Orlando to choose Chet Holmgren (who ended up with the Oklahoma City Thunder) or Jabari Smith Jr. (who ended up with the Houston Rockets) – but the Magic ultimately went with Banchero.

Cade Cunningham – the number one overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft – played well for the Pistons, scoring 18 points to go along with 10 assists.

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