New York (SID) – The Orlando Magic around the German basketball professional Franz Wagner surprisingly picked Paolo Banchero as the first pick in the 76th draft of the NBA. The American power forward with Italian roots played in college for Duke University and impressed there last season with an average of 17.2 points per game.
“I really don’t know what to say,” said the 19-year-old at the Barclays Center in New York: “I can’t believe what just happened.”
Banchero was considered more of an underdog for the first pick, with Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith trading the highest in the run-up. Center Holmgren grabbed the Oklahoma City Thunder as number two, Forward Smith was signed by the Houston Rockets as number three. Pole Jeremy Sochan was the first European to be drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in ninth place.