Paolo Banchero is off to a good start for the Orlando Magic.
The first overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft posted a career-high 29 points on 10-for-19 shooting plus eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 37 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. It was Banchero’s fifth straight game with 20+ points since the start of his NBA career, which already puts him in elite company.
By ESPN statistics and informationthe list of NBA players who will open their career with five consecutive games of more than 20 points is as follows:
That would be five Naismith Hall of Famers, Williamson (who entered the NBA after three ABA seasons) and 19-year-old Banchero, who is younger than all of those players when they accomplished the feat. By the way, if you ever need a reminder that Wilt Chamberlain was an alien, keep in mind he’s on this list due to a 56 matches 20-plus-point streak, and that number would be 78 games had it not been for a nine-minute outing in his rookie year.
Banchero is also the first player to total at least 120 points, 35 rebounds and 15 assists in his first five games since Wilkins did so in 1982-83. The band lines up with the numbers:
So our best precedent for the start of the Banchero’s career is squarely in Springfield, Massachusetts. Does this definitely mean that Banchero will become a member of the Hall of Fame? Of course not. That’s exactly what you want to see when you’re the Magic and have chosen Banchero as your franchise mainstay, to the surprise of some observers.
It’s worth noting that that production didn’t translate to a win for Orlando, which now sits 0-5 after a 103-92 loss to the Cavaliers. It’s obviously not on Banchero – the Magic were expected to be among the worst teams in the league – even if it raises the tantalizing possibility of a Banchero-Victor Wembanyama-Franz Wagner frontcourt.