Paolo Banchero was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year on Tuesday, and he had a nice first season in the pros, averaging 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game for the Orlando Magic.
This has not been a very strong rookie crop, at least so far, and thus Banchero absolutely ran away with the award.
He won an amazing 98 of 100 first-place votes, making it one of the more lopsided Rookie of the Year races in recent memory.
Paolo Banchero received 98/100 1st place votes pic.twitter.com/2nfOr9Geu4
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) April 25, 2023
The distant second-place candidate, Jalen Williams of the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaged 14.1 points per game and shot an impressive 52.1 percent from the field.
Walker Kessler, a 7-foot-1 center for the Utah Jazz, was the only other rookie to receive any first-place votes.
He put up 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in 23.0 minutes per game while shooting an incredible 72.0 percent from the field, and the Jazz see lots of potential in him moving forward.
Bennedict Mathurin gave the Indiana Pacers 16.7 points a game, while Keegan Murray had 12.2 points per contest while hitting 41.1 percent of his 3-point attempts, and he has played a key role in the Sacramento Kings becoming the NBA’s biggest surprise this season.
Rounding out the candidates for the Rookie of the Year award is Jaden Ivey, a 6-foot-4 guard for the Detroit Pistons who registered 16.3 points and 5.2 assists per game, and there were some stretches of the season in which he got hot from beyond the arc.
One thing that greatly helped Banchero run away with the award was a foot injury to Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft, that forced him to miss all of this season.
Perhaps Holmgren will also become a star and make this draft class look stronger in retrospect.NEXT: Fans React To Today's Paolo Banchero News