As revealed in the Tuesday Playoff segment of Inside the NBA, Orlando Magic sensation Paolo Banchero wins this season’s 2022-2023 Kia Rookie of the Year award.
Banchero outlasted fellow finalists Walker Kessler and Jaylen Williams in the award’s race, nearly delivering a unanimous feat by harnessing 98 out of 100 first-place votes from the panel of voters.
A promising forward from Duke, Banchero was selected by the Magic as the first overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft. He went on to become their latest franchise cornerstone thanks to his size, explosiveness and immense potential.
Banchero averaged 20 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 42.7 percent from the field in 72 games played. With this, the young big man became the sixth NBA rookie during the last 50 seasons (since 1973-74) to average 20+ ppg., 6+ rpg. and 3+ apg. (minimum 50 games).
His scoring mechanisms and versatility were a major revelation for Orlando that helped them improve to become a 34-win team this season. He powered and led the club to one of the most exciting seasons of their franchise as he banners their current youth program that is ready to take major steps for next years to come.
Banchero joins both Mike Miller (2001) and Shaquille O’Neal (1992) to hoist the Rookie of the Year plum in the Magic’s 34-year history.