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BIRTHDATE: 11/12/02

POSITION: Power Forward

HEIGHT: 6'10"



CLASS: Freshman 




  • Skilled versatile offensive weapon that fits modern day NBA game

  • Great frame; physical presence

  • Advanced ball handler and offensive creativity for his size/position

  • Capable floor spacer with good shooting touch

  • Attacks closeouts off the bounce

  • Face up monster, can dribble, shoot or pass

  • Impressive pull up shooter off the bounce 

  • Mid post shot maker; scores on fade-aways and step backs

  • Effective low post scorer; bullies smaller opponents

  • Can score all over the floor; gets isolation buckets 

  • Good passing instincts and vision; reads double teams 

  • Plays tough and finishes through contact 

  • Can make plays out of P&R and create mismatches 

  • Pick & Roll playmaker and short roll passer 

  • Can also serve as the P&R roll man or pop out to shoot 3's

  • Upside as a secondary playmaking point forward


  • Tendency to pick up dribble in traffic

  • More powerful than quick off the bounce

  • Lacks quick twitch explosiveness and vertical pop

  • Below the rim finisher 

  • Settles for too many jumpers instead of attacking downhill

  • Defensive potential

Duke freshman Paolo Banchero is off to a strong start to his much anticipated freshman season in Durham. 


Banchero arrived on campus with a lot of hype and fanfair and many draft analysts and fans believe he could be the 4th Duke player o selected 1st overall in the last 25 years following the footsteps of Elton Brand, Kyrie Irving and Zion Williamson..


Through 8 games, Banchero has been as good as advertised averaging 17.8 ppg, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 50/33/84 shooting splits highlighted by dominant halves vs Kentucky and Gonzaga..


The majority of his possessions have been in the post where he’s shooting a respectable 47.6% from the floor. At 6’10” 250 lbs, Banchero is a real problem on the low block for defenders. He has the strength to play bull ball  and run through most matchups. 


But in my opinion, he’s most effective facing up where he can beat you in a variety of ways. To be totally honest, Banchero is a face up monster… He’s capable of beating defenders off the dribble, but also has an effective pull ups game that has drawn comparisons to Carmelo Anthony..


Here are a few of the numbers that have stolid out to me through 8 games. The numbers would likely be even better but he’s dealt with some cramping issues in the games vs Kentucky and Duke..


Overall at the rim he’s shooting 71%


I had concerns about the jumper and he’s making 42.5% of his jumpers. 41.7% off the dribble and 43.8% in catch & shoot situations 


He’s been deadly inside of 17 feet where he’s shooting 60-% on jumpers.


It’s still early, but as of today I believe Duke freshman Paolo Banchero would be the top pick in the 2022 NBA draft…

December 2, 2021




I personally have Gonzaga freshman Chet Holmgren as the favorite to be the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but I wouldn't say he's a guaranteed lock to go #1. Many believe Duke’s Paolo Banchero is the best NBA prospect in college basketball and will be the first player to hear his name called on draft night.


I’m old enough to remember when the hot topic around the NBA was about small ball being the new wave and how you can’t build a contender around a big man. Maybe that thought process has changed since Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid finished first and second in MVP votes last season and Giannis Antetokounmpo lead his Milwaukee Bucks team to the NBA title. 


Now I know Giannis isn’t a traditional big, but neither are Holmgren and Banchero. What's weird is their games aren’t similar in style, but very similar as far as how they impact games with their versatility.


Holmgren’s thin frame and lack of strength has raised questions about his long term durability and NBA fit, while Banchero’s frame and natural strength (on top of his skill set) are usually the main selling points for those that believe he is the top NBA prospect in this draft class. 


When you look at Banchero body, it’s hard to believe he’s just a few months removed from playing high school basketball. I definitely don’t remember seeing any 6’9 235 lbs teenagers roaming the halls back in my high school days. 


What makes Banchero since an intriguing prospect is he has the size and strength to dominate games by playing bull ball in the low post, but he also has ball handling and shot making ability to create mismatches in space when opponents look to defend him with size. 


To make it simple and plain, Paolo Banchero is a matchup nightmare for coaches to game plan against. When he’s in the mid post he’s got a little Carmelo Anthony in his game where he can get to the rim off the bounce or knock down face up jumpers. If a coach wants to send double or triple teams to slow him down, he has the court vision and passing instincts to create easy scoring opportunities for his teammates. 


Did I mention he’s also comfortable as a pick & roll ball handler and can initiate the offense as point forward?


It’s hard not to love Banchero’s game and what he’ll bring to a team as an offensive weapon. At the very minimum he’ll serve as connective tissue that contributes to winning basketball and makes everyone around him better. 


The concerns about Banchero’s lack of athleticism and explosiveness is legit, but we just saw a below average athlete and slow footed big man win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. 

Rafael Barlowe - October 2, 2021

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