The Orlando Magic found a true gem in Paolo Banchero.
While some were somewhat shocked to see that he went No. 1 over Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr., it didn’t take long before he proved it was the right decision.
However, as promising as he looked since his days in high school, he wasn’t exactly known for his defensive prowess.
Clearly, the former Blue Devil has been putting up a lot of work on that end of the floor, as he held his own against Zion Williamson on three straight possessions in their preseason game (via Welt Gawd).
Zion is unable to score on Paolo Banchero for 3 straight possessions pic.twitter.com/Cf09ryYrqV
— WeltGawd (@MagicMan816) October 11, 2023
Williamson has missed plenty of time with injuries, so he might need more time to get his legs back under him.
Then again, he’s the kind of player who could simply overpower his defender on his way to the rim, so this is no minor thing, even if it’s just the preseason.
Banchero’s offensive game was already almost flawless.
He’s got the size and length to play at both forward spots, and his three-point shooting skills can spread the floor.
Adding some rim protection to that mix could make him one of the best two-way players on Earth in no time.
Banchero spent some time as Team USA’s backup big man.
While undersized, he had to work hard on both ends of the floor, and it’s showing.
A summer working out with the best young players in the league can do wonders for any player, especially one determined to work on the flaws in his game.NEXT: Video Shows Magic Veteran Putting In Work At The Gym