Paolo Banchero quickly crossed the “rookie wall”
” I just heard that. Whoever gave me advice said, ‘Be prepared for the rookie wall, you’ll deal with it’. We just have to prepare for it. »
The least we can say is that Paolo Banchero he knows where he’s going when he comes to the NBA. But these various warnings unfortunately did not prevent the number 1 of the last Draft from experiencing the famous common rookie slack, also known as “rookie wall”, a month and a half after his debut in the league.
” I seem to have hit him somehow [le rookie wall, ndlr] and to cross it “, he also judges. ” Just before the start of the new year. I feel the tiredness of my body and mind. I had tough fights and tough nights on the shoot, I didn’t feel super explosive [qu’à l’accoutumée]. »
The first obstacle is to pass with flying colors
In fact, Paolo Banchero clearly defined the moment of the season when his first difficulties in magic. From averaging 22.6 points and 47% shooting between October and November, he increased to averaging 18.9 points and 39% shooting in December. In that particular period of three games he averaged 13.3 points and 29% on shots, between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
But insideOrlando has rebounded since then, averaging 20.5 points and shooting 45% in January. No doubt thanks to the way he approaches every meeting.
” I’m just trying to take fight after fight “, he explained about it. ” You’ll definitely get bad, because you won’t score 25 points every time. So when you have an off night or the team has a complicated meeting, you have to move forward. And that’s what I’m trying to do. »
One of the particularly impressive aspects of Paolo Banchero is his ability to score regardless of his form, and the opponent. In 41 games, he finished just two under the 10-point mark, despite a good ten games under 40% shooting success.
The key to this consistency in scoring? An impressive physique (2m08 and 113kg) for a player of his age (20 years old), which allows him to easily penetrate the paint (almost 10 situations per game where he attacks the circle), but also to attract fouls (about 8 free throws per game).
” It’s just a great way to see the ball drop and find a rhythm “, he said, about his passages in the line. ” Defenders accumulate fouls, so they have to defend the rest of you. I don’t focus on finding fouls, but rather I want to go to the circle aggressively and have it result in a basket or a foul. »
His teammates were under a spell
Admittedly inexperienced at the highest level, but very mature and ambitious, Paolo Banchero logically did not take long to win unanimous support within the Magic workforce.
” He is not a classic rookie “, believes Gary Harris, who notably spoke with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray in Denver. ” He is not normal, he is hungry, he wants to be big, he is willing to learn and he wants to be coached. He discovered everything at such a fast age and he’s only 20, so that’s a lot for him. But in the middle of the season, I’ve never seen anyone come into the league like he did. The way he’s focused, mature… He’s special, really special. »
” He understands basketball, it’s that simple “, added Wendell Carter Jr, one of his privileged partners in the Florida racket. ” We are at our best when he is aggressive and he understands that. He understands that he has a lot of weight on his shoulders as the Draft No. 1, but he was so calm and serene on the floor… »
Favorite for the title of Rookie of the Year 2023, and ultimately not far from a selection for the Salt Lake City All-Star Game, with his 20.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists average, Paolo Banchero is in every opportunity in track to become the 51st rookie in history to shoot at least 20 points per game.
That’s unheard of for an Orlando player since… Shaquille O’Neal in 1992/93. That’s it!