Paolo Banchero Dominates NBA Summer League Debut

The Future Stars Shine in Las Vegas

Under the glimmering lights of Las Vegas, the NBA Summer League saw the emergence of two promising talents: Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith. These young players, selected as the top picks in the draft, showcased their skills and potential in an exciting matchup between the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets. While Banchero, playing for the Magic, displayed his talent by scoring 17 points, Smith struggled to find his rhythm, contributing 10 points to the Rockets’ efforts.

Banchero’s Impressive Performance

Taking the court for the Orlando Magic, Paolo Banchero demonstrated why he was the #1 pick. In just 26 minutes of play, he showcased his versatility by putting up 17 points, six assists, four rebounds, and a steal. Banchero’s offensive prowess was evident as he shot 5-for-12 from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. Furthermore, he displayed his composure by making all five of his free throws. Despite his impressive offensive display, Banchero also contributed on the defensive end, finishing the game with a plus/minus rating of +20 and committing only two turnovers.

The Surprising Pick

The Magic raised eyebrows on draft night when they chose Banchero over the highly-touted Jabari Smith from Auburn University. Smith, who was widely projected as the top pick in many mock drafts, ended up being selected by the Rockets as the second overall pick. The decision by the Magic to go against the consensus showed their confidence in Banchero’s abilities. The NBA Summer League provided the first glimpse of this decision in action.

Smith’s Struggles and Redemption

Jabari Smith had a challenging start to his NBA Summer League journey, but he managed to find his footing as the game progressed. Playing a team-high 31 minutes for the Magic, Smith contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal. However, his shooting percentage from the field was not as impressive, making only 4 of his 10 attempts. He particularly struggled from beyond the arc, converting only 1 of his 4 three-point shots. Despite the slow start, Smith’s determination and adjustment to the NBA style of play became evident in the second half, leaving him eager for the next opportunity to showcase his skills.

What Lies Ahead for the Talented Rookies

As the NBA Summer League continues and the rookies get acclimated to the professional stage, both Banchero and Smith have shown glimpses of their potential. The pressure is undoubtedly higher for Banchero as the top overall pick, but he has already demonstrated his ability to handle it with his prior experiences at Duke University. With the tattoo “NO PRESSURE” inked on his forearm, Banchero carries a mindset of resilience and focus.

Smith, on the other hand, acknowledges the nerves and challenges that come with transitioning to the NBA. However, his determination to adapt to the new style of play and embrace the opportunities fuels his motivation to improve and excel.


The NBA Summer League showcased the talent and potential of two promising rookies, Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith. While Banchero lived up to expectations with an impressive performance, Smith faced initial challenges but found his rhythm as the game progressed. The juxtaposition of their performances highlights the unpredictability of young talents and their ability to adapt and grow on the professional stage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How did Paolo Banchero perform in the NBA Summer League?

Answer: Paolo Banchero displayed his potential and skills by scoring 17 points, recording six assists, four rebounds, and a steal in just 26 minutes of play.

2. Why did the Orlando Magic choose Banchero over Smith?

Answer: The Magic made a surprising decision to select Banchero as their top pick, showing their confidence in his abilities and potential.

3. Did Jabari Smith struggle in his NBA Summer League debut?

Answer: Smith faced challenges during the game, but he managed to find his groove in the second half and contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal.

4. How did Banchero handle the pressure as the #1 pick?

Answer: Banchero expressed his ability to handle pressure and emphasized that basketball is ultimately just a game that he loves to play.

5. What lies ahead for these talented rookies?

Answer: As the NBA Summer League progresses, both Banchero and Smith will continue to adjust to the professional stage, showcasing their potential and striving to make an impact in the league.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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