NBA insider’s 2022 redraft poll reveals lopsided pick between Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren

NBA insider’s 2022 redraft poll reveals lopsided pick between Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren
NBA insider’s 2022 redraft poll reveals lopsided pick between Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren

Two years ago, basketball fans were divided on whether forward Paolo Banchero or center Chet Holmgren was the better 2022 NBA draft prospect. However, according to a recent poll from a prominent league insider, most fans now believe the Orlando Magic made the right decision drafting Banchero No. 1.

Entering the 2022 draft, Banchero was viewed as an athletic, physical, three-level scoring forward with elite offensive upside. Meanwhile, Holmgren was considered a unicorn-like big man, able to protect the rim and stretch the floor with a soft touch for a 7-footer.

Most would probably agree that both have lived up to expectations thus far. Over his first two seasons, Paolo Banchero has become Orlando's clear-cut No. 1 scoring option. This year, the 21-year-old made his first All-Star team, guiding the upstart Magic (47-35, fifth in the Eastern Conference) to their first playoff appearance since 2020.

Despite falling 4-3 in Round 1 to a more experienced Cleveland Cavaliers team, Banchero stepped up his play in the postseason. Over seven games, he averaged 27.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.3 3-pointers per game on 45.6% shooting. That includes him dropping 38 points and 16 rebounds in Sunday's Game 7 clash.

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As for Chet Holmgren, he played all 82 games in Year 2 after missing all last season due to a right foot injury. The 22-year-old anchored the OKC Thunder's fourth-ranked defensive rating (111.0), helping guide them to the Western Conference's No. 1 seed (57-25).

Holmgren has seemingly been a near-perfect fit alongside Thunder superstar point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the rest of OKC's offensive-minded young core.

His strong two-way play has the Thunder positioned to challenge for West supremacy. After sweeping the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round, they remain undefeated this postseason.

Through four postseason outings, Holmgren is averaging 15.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.8 bpg and 1.8 3pg on 46.8% shooting.

While a case can still be made for Holmgren being more valuable than Banchero, most fans would rather have the dynamic scoring forward. Per The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor's recent X/Twitter poll, 68.5% of fans would choose Banchero first in a 2022 redraft, with only 31.5% leaning toward Holmgren.

The Thunder center still has time to shift the debate this postseason. His squad will take on the Dallas Mavericks in Round 2, with Game 1 tipping off Tuesday in OKC. However, given the upside Banchero flashed during the first round, it will likely take a meteoric playoff run from Holmgren to sway fans' opinions.

Also Read: "The communication was spotty": Paolo Banchero breaks down two pivotal factors in Magic's game 7 defeat to Cavs

Donovan Mitchell praises Paolo Banchero following hard-fought seven-game first-round playoff series

Among the biggest believers in Paolo Banchero is Cavaliers star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, who raved about the Magic forward on Sunday. Following Cleveland's hard-fought 106-94 Game 7 home victory over Orlando, Mitchell declared that the first-time All-Star is "going to be a monster."

Considering his trajectory over his first two seasons, going from Rookie of the Year to All-Star, Paolo Banchero could be headed toward superstar territory.

Orlando will likely continue filling out its roster around the 21-year-old this offseason, adding shooters and complimentary scorers. If so, the Magic could have a chance of elevating into the East's upper echelon as soon as next season.

Also Read: “Wants us to get over this hump” - Donovan Mitchell’s teammate reveals 5x All-Star’s mentality amid 18-point deficit in Game 7

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