Orlando Magic rookie forward Paolo Banchero is sure to draw plenty of excitement this season. With the NBA releasing its 2022-23 schedule on Wednesday, fans have begun to circle some notable games.
After becoming the first selection in the 2022 draft, players and fans will be eager to get a chance to see Banchero perform in the bright lights. There's shaping up to be plenty of fascinating showdowns. In fact, one drew the attention of former NBA player Kendrick Perkins.
Perkins said he's excited to see the rematch after Banchero and Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray exchanged words during a pro league game this summer:
"We already saw they had beef in the pro league game," Perkins said on 'NBA Today.' "I wanna see what’s poppin'."
Paolo Banchero looks to excel in rookie season
There will be plenty of storylines in the 2022-23 season. This summer has been especially interesting, as many players participated in various pro leagues.
After a competitive matchup between Banchero and Murray, there's sure to be plenty of attention on their four upcoming showdowns. The Magic and Hawks, who are Southeast Division rivals, will meet in Atlanta on Oct. 21. The teams will play in Orlando on Nov. 30 and Dec. 14 and then match up in Atlanta on Dec. 19.
Regardless of which team lines up across from him, there will be a spotlight on Banchero's rookie season.
The Duke product is one of the favorites to win the Rookie of the Year award. Banchero has the tools to put up big numbers, given his versatility on the offense.
Banchero impressed during the Summer League in Las Vegas, generating excitement that his game will translate easily to the NBA level.
In two Summer League games, Banchero averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game while shooting 40.7%, including 50.0% from 3-point range.
Banchero was perhaps a surprise pick at the top of the draft, although there had been a close race between Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr. all along.
Smith, from Auburn, was expected to go first in the weeks leading up to the draft. He went third to the Houston Rockets. Meanwhile, Holmgren, from Gonzaga, led the race at times during the college season. He went second to the OKC Thunder.
All three were consensus second-team All-Americans and turned pro after one season in college.