Paolo Banchero is the top of the NBA freshmen. But Italy will be further away for him
The Italian-American was voted No. 1 among NBA rookies. Because the exploit could make him prefer the US
Paolo Banchero is the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. Given that he was the first-ever player drafted in the 2022 draft, that seems like a foregone conclusion. The poll backs up that theory, with Banchero receiving 98 of the 100 votes in the poll. More crushing than that would be difficult. Banchero, a “multidimensional” player of 208 centimeters, played an excellent championship, averaging 20 points per game. He did everything: rebounds, assists, blocks, defense (after a slow start). And I add: There is never anything easy in life or in sport. To win this award, a rookie (freshman) must accomplish the hardest thing for newcomers: break the “wall of fatigue” that hits the youngest in February. You are not used to playing so many games in such a short time. At the NCAA level, they play maybe 35 games in four months, averaging about 9 games a month. Then stop. Rest until next year. In the NBA, they play maybe 12 games a month (even more than 12). After four months they have already played around 45 races and there is no stopping them! You have to keep playing, traveling, eating in restaurants and sleeping in hotels. All energy less.
This leads to another problem: injuries. As any coach knows, there are at most two stages when a player is prone to injury: when he is physically tired and lacks his usual coordination or reflexes or timing; when he comes back from injury and all his systems start over. Well, Banchero was able to overcome these obstacles. injuries? Well, he’s missed 10 games this year. Perhaps the rest of his performance helped and allowed him to recharge his batteries. But he had to sacrifice so-called “pace of the game,” a tool to avoid injury.
How did Banchero manage all this? I propose my theory: maturity beyond his 20 years (19 at the beginning of the season). Why am I saying this? Because he didn’t play for Banchero, he played for the Orlando Magic, for the team, for his teammates. All OK? Indeed not. Many players take care of themselves first, then the team. They think like this: “I have to have my minutes, my touches, my shots, my points. I need to optimize my game.” It’s all logical, but the player ends up being seen as selfish, individualistic, solo or worse. Not so with Banchero.
So, I’m a fan of Paolo. If I had been asked to vote for the award, there would have been 99 votes for him, not 98. Now the question that always comes up when it comes to Banchero: will he choose to play for Italy or not? I’ve always been skeptical about the fact. Then, frankly, that award takes him off the blue shirt for me. Gianni Petrucci, president of Fip, and Gianmarco Pozzecco, coach of the national team, are right to court him! I love the idea of ”thinking big”: Even if the project doesn’t go through, I support the idea of trying 100 out of 100. It wouldn’t be the first time one of my predictions has blown up…
Apr 27 – 08:46
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