Paolo Banchero is ready to embrace the expectations that come with being a No. 1 pick, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. The former Duke star is looking forward to starting workouts with the Magic next week in preparation for his July 7 debut in the Las Vegas Summer League.
“There’s going to be high expectations for myself that I’m going to hold myself to and that everyone is going to hold myself to,” Banchero said during a press conference Friday in Orlando. “But I feel like it’s nothing I’m not used to. It was the same thing for me heading into college, throughout high school, a lot of expectations. It’s been like that my whole life.”
Banchero wasn’t sure he would be the first selection until a few seconds before his name was announced. Orlando conducted a thorough search of several candidates — most notably Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren — and kept its intentions hidden until the draft began.
“There’s things that you’re grabbing from each one that you’re like, ‘Oh, man, wow, that can be great for us,’” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “But then it ultimately comes down to, ‘How does that fit for us? How do we jell with them in the locker room? How are they treating people when they’re walking in?’ Because all those pieces play a factor. And I think we’ve done an incredible job with those details.”
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Magic guard Jalen Suggs is making progress in his recovery from surgery in April for a slight stress fracture in his right ankle, but he won’t take part in Summer League, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. “Jalen got his boot off and he’s ramping up his recovery,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said. There’s still no set timetable for Jonathan Isaac, Weltman adds, although the team is optimistic that he can be ready for the start of the season.
- The Hawks didn’t trade John Collins before the draft, but it’s still likely to happen at some point during the offseason, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. A source close to Collins told Kirschner, “He won’t be a Hawk past this summer,” and Kirschner adds that no one he’s talked to expects Collins to be with the team on opening night.
- The Wizards will explore other options after failing to land a starting point guard on draft night, states Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Washington took Johnny Davis at No. 10, but he’s viewed as a wing rather than a lead guard. “I think a lot of times if you force something on draft night, you’re taking away the opportunity in free agency and everything that free agency represents,” general manager Tommy Sheppard said. “… The point guard, all along I felt it was going to come after the draft, not during the draft.”