Paolo Banchero is a 6’10” forward with elite potential. He already has the scoring chops of a pro player. Combine that with his high-level physical tools and exceptional feel for the game, and he looks like a future NBA star.
Weight: 250 lbs.
Per Game: 17.2 PTS, 7.8 REB, 3.2 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.9 BLK
Per 40 Minutes: 20.9 PTS, 9.5 REB, 3.9 AST, 1.3 STL, 1.1 BLK
Shooting Splits: 47.8% FG / 33.8% 3P / 72.9% FT
Advanced Stats: 55.7 TS%, 7.7 BPM, .191 WS/40
Banchero is a modern NBA player with the size to play as a small-ball center but the skills to play as a wing. He has a mature game and a polished skillset. He projects to be a go-to scorer at the NBA level. In addition to his scoring ability, he has also shown the potential to create for others and handle the ball at a high level. He grew up playing the guard position, so he’s comfortable creating off the dribble.
Huge night for Paolo Banchero leading Duke to the Elite 8 vs the best defense in college basketball. Showed all his skill and talent with some tremendous drives, passes and shots from all over the floor. Was in attack mode down the stretch. Looked like the No. 1 pick in the draft pic.twitter.com/vJNUwk5gR1— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 25, 2022
Banchero’s scoring starts inside. He’s a crafty post scorer with a full arsenal of moves. He can get defenders off their feet with pump fakes, pivots, and euro steps, and he can finish around them with finesse. He also has the size, strength, and attitude to ignore finesse and bully his way through opponents. Banchero thrives through contact and overpowers smaller defenders.
The paint isn’t the only place Paolo Banchero is comfortable, however. He is a mid-range assassin who is supremely confident pulling up on a dime for jumpers. He’s also shown competence from the three-point line, although that’s still in development.
As a playmaker, Banchero is solid, effective, and intelligent. He sees the game at a high level and is adept at making the right decisions. While he is a score-first player, he’s certainly willing to pass the ball to the open man. Banchero is exceptionally skilled at making dump-down passes to the other big man when the defense is drawn to help. He can make strong passes across the court to shooters and has shown skill in hitting cutters.
While defense isn’t seen as Banchero’s strength very often, he does have all the tools to be a solid defender. His physical attributes are elite, and he has an excellent feel for the game. The pieces are there for an outstanding defender.
Banchero’s three-point shot needs work. He shot only 33% at Duke, and the inconsistency was evident. Given his talent in the mid-range and the polished mechanics of his shot, I believe that his three-pointer will improve steadily, but it is a weakness for now.
Defensively, Banchero’s effort was lacking during his season in college. This is not an uncommon issue for young players, but it could be a concern if he doesn’t improve his focus. When engaged, he’s shown the ability to be a strong team defender; he just needs to work on that effort.
Banchero pairs well with a rim-protecting center, and the Jazz have the best one in the league. Utah also needs more size, creation, and interior scoring, which Banchero has in spades. It’s genuinely a hand-in-glove fit. The issue is figuring out how to get him to Utah.
How could Utah get him?
Unless something truly wild happens, the only way for the Jazz to acquire Paolo Banchero would be in a trade that sends either Donovan Mitchell or Rudy Gobert packing. Banchero will be a top-four pick in this draft, and those are not traded easily. If the situation with Gobert and Mitchell is as bad as some have reported it to be, they may need to be separated. In that case, trading one for a 19-year-old elite prospect could be a great idea.
Paolo Banchero has a rare combination of elite physical tools and skills. 6’10” players who can truly handle and shoot the ball while scoring inside like a big man are extremely rare. While he’s highly unlikely to be a member of the Utah Jazz, he could be the best player in this draft, and anything can happen.
Stats via sports-reference.com