NBA promoted Banchero on his game for Italy: I will give everything

Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic Dunks in the game against the Golden State Warriors at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. November 3, 2022. /CFP

Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic Dunks in the game against the Golden State Warriors at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. November 3, 2022. /CFP

Paolo Banchero, who has had great performances in the NBA since being drafted by the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick in June, told FIBA ​​he looks forward to playing for Italy at the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup next year .

“The style of play is a bit different, but I will give everything, all my energy and influence the national team as much as possible,” said Banchero. He’s currently resting to recover from a sprained left ankle, but before that he started in all games for the Magic, scoring over 20 points in nine of them. He’s not a reliable 3-pointer (25.6 percent of 3-pointers), but Banchero has already shown an aggressiveness rare for a rookie, with 8.3 free throws per game.

Despite being 2.08 meters tall and weighing 113 kilograms, Banchero has underestimated his agility and a full set of offensive skills that allow him to play on the pitch as a guard. This means he can be completely out of place, regardless of whether opponents are using smaller or larger defenders to guard him.

Orlando Magic's Paolo Banchero (R) enters the game against Oklahoma City Thunder at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, November 1, 2022.  /CFP

Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero (R) enters the game against Oklahoma City Thunder at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, November 1, 2022. /CFP

Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero (R) enters the game against Oklahoma City Thunder at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, November 1, 2022. /CFP

That’s exactly how many NBA teams felt as they faced many of today’s European players, including Serbia’s Nikola Jokic, Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Slovenia’s Luka Doncic, Finland’s Lauri Markkanen, and of course, Banchero’s Magic teammate Franz Wagner of Germany.

All of the above players competed in the FIBA ​​EuroBasket 2022 and showed excellent performances in the tournament.

“I really think FIBA ​​basketball is very interesting and it’s great to watch and analyze the guys playing for their national teams,” Banchero told FIBA. “The EuroBasket was very, very competitive and the fans sounded fantastic watching these packed arenas and noisy spectators playing their role as sixth man so well. That is amazing.”

Luka Doncic (#77) of Slovenia drives to the edge during their FIBA ​​EuroBasket 2022 quarterfinal match against Poland at EuroBasket Arena Berlin on September 14, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.  /CFP

Luka Doncic (#77) of Slovenia drives to the edge during their FIBA ​​EuroBasket 2022 quarterfinal match against Poland at EuroBasket Arena Berlin on September 14, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. /CFP

Luka Doncic (#77) of Slovenia drives to the edge during their FIBA ​​EuroBasket 2022 quarterfinal match against Poland at EuroBasket Arena Berlin on September 14, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. /CFP

“The teams were full of very talented guys and a few NBA stars, but despite that Spain won and showed that basketball is a team sport and teams that play very tightly and share the ball have more chances of winning titles and medals win The level of competition in Europe is very, very high and the future is very bright. Seeing guys like Giannis, Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic for example is great for European basketball. Their passion and love for representing their country is a great thing to see,” added Banchero.

Despite missing their top scorer, Danilo Gallinari, Italy managed to bounce back and eliminated Serbia, led by two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Jokic, 94-86 in the Round of 16.

Nikola Jokic (#15) of Serbia shoots against Italy during their round of 16 match of FIBA ​​EuroBasket 2022 at EuroBasket Arena Berlin in Berlin, Germany, September 11, 2022. /CFP

Nikola Jokic (#15) of Serbia shoots against Italy during their round of 16 match of FIBA ​​EuroBasket 2022 at EuroBasket Arena Berlin in Berlin, Germany, September 11, 2022. /CFP

Nikola Jokic (#15) of Serbia shoots against Italy during their round of 16 match of FIBA ​​EuroBasket 2022 at EuroBasket Arena Berlin in Berlin, Germany, September 11, 2022. /CFP

Although ‘Gli Azzurri’ (The Blues) lost to France in the quarter-finals, team guard Nico Mannion believes Banchero’s arrival can take them from ‘good’ to ‘great’.

“They played very good games and I liked the way they played against Serbia where they showed incredible defense and great movement in attack. It was very impressive, very good to watch,” said Banchero . “The passion and cohesion they have is fantastic and the passion that the coach and the staff show, the way the team plays is great too. Beating a team like Serbia shows why the Squadra Azzura is capable. We have a very good team and the future is bright, that’s for sure.”

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