Why the Magic should choose Paolo Banchero as number 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft

The Orlando Magic have been searching for a franchise player since trading Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers before the 2012-2013 season. In the nine years since then, Orlando has an overall record of 255-464, the worst record in the NBA at the time.

The Magic have had four top-five and three top-eight picks in the draft since the Howard trade. None of those players have made All-Star appearances with Orlando. The top pick of that batch, 2013 No. 2 Victor Oladipo, didn’t become a star until he was on his third team with the Indiana Pacers. Aaron Gordon, the 2014 No. 4, was always more of a role player than a centerpiece. Mario Hezonja was a bust at No. 5 in 2015. Jonathan Isaac – No. 6 in 2017 – emerged as an incredible defender, but now hasn’t played in two years due to injuries and strange off-pitch chases. Mo Bamba became a solid player last season as the former No. 6 pick in 2018, but the team declined to give him an early contract extension.

The Magic had two top eight picks last year, taking guard Jalen Suggs at No. 5 and forward Franz Wagner at No. 8. Wagner was particularly impressive as a rookie, and he should be a big piece going forward. There’s also a lot of hope for Suggs, but neither looks like a future All-NBA player.

The Magic, by getting the number 1 in 2022, have a golden opportunity to finally find their franchise player. Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr. and Paolo Banchero are all legitimate No. 1 picks, but only one player really fits what the Magic need.

That player is Paolo Banchero. Read our full analysis on why Banchero is our top prospect in this draft. This is why the Magic should pick Banchero at No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft.