A consensus All-American, the ACC Rookie of the Year, and one of the best NCAA Tournament performers, Paolo Banchero lived up to his top prospect status crowned upon him in the preseason. As a freshman, Banchero averaged 17.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.9 BPG, and 2.4 TOPG on shooting splits of 48/34/73. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Paolo Banchero
Wingspan/ standing reach: Rumored 7’1 wingspan, N/A
Hand size: N/A
Pre-Draft team: Duke
Tools: 3 level scoring, playmaking, size
- 3 level scoring upside
- Reliable face up jump shooter
- Shoots over defenders with ease
- Comfortable with both hands
- Uses height well to see over defenses as a playmaker; can pass well out of the post
- Finds cutters well
- Good basketball IQ
- Good back to the basket game with good fakes
- Good spot up shooter
- Versatile defensively; comfortable switching onto guards at times
- Capable of playing off-ball at a high level
- Good ball handling package with size-up ability
- Needs to reduce lazy pass turnovers
- Has to be better at dribbling and passing through double teams
- Must improve post entry passing
- Needs to get consistent lift on jumper to avoid being flat (?)
- Gets tunnel vision at times as he gets closer to the rim (see: vs FSU)
- Inconsistent defensive effort; often out of stance and ball watching
- A bit slow as a ball-handler at times in getting his moves off
As a playmaker and ball-handler, Banchero will need to get smarter about decision-making. From post entry passes to dribbling into double teams, Banchero will need to learn when and how to give up the ball at the right time. There seems to be some passing fundamentals concerns, despite a bit of an oxymoron in his ability to make advanced reads frequently. Banchero sees the floor well, but can get tunnel vision at certain spots on the floor and pre-determine his passes. Becoming a more consistent playmaker will determine whether Paolo becomes a completely well-rounded offensive player, or a scorer who can occasionally pass.
As a scorer, Banchero has a good bag of moves to go to as a scorer, but will need to speed up the gathers and the way he gets into his shot motion. While his size/skill combo is strong, high-level defenders (which he will likely will draw many of as a projectable first scoring option) will be able to recover from the strong space creation moves Banchero makes in the NBA. However, he can still shoot over defenders, both as a spot-up shooter and off the dribble. Additionally, with a bag as deep as Banchero’s, he will be able to still create shots at a high level.
Defensively, Banchero chooses when to be effective, but he has the tools to be a good help-side defender, especially as a shot blocker. When Banchero is on, he has at least adequate footspeed to guard just about anyone on the court. However, he often has lapses or takes plays off defensively, which won’t fly in the NBA.
Paolo Banchero had a cold stretch to close the season, which he later countered with a strong March Madness run. Dissecting what caused this shooting slump to happen, and finding out if this cold stretch was a red flag or a fluke, will be key for his draft evaluation.
Banchero has all the tools to be a star with great size as a primary scorer. He needs to put his peripheral, non-scoring tools into fruition to hit his star upside, but will need to iron out some decision making deficiencies as he matures.
Similar to: Jayson Tatum with less defense, Antawn Jamison, Antoine Walker
Projected draft range: 1-3
Expected role: 1st/2nd scoring option with passable defense and some playmaking ability.
Unplayable if: Mostly unlikely he becomes unplayable, but a worst case scenario lies in his defense becoming solely effort-based in a negative way, becoming turnover prone, and his scoring doesn’t make his team/teammates better.
Exceeds expectations if: Scoring ability allows him to be a #1 option, and his passing makes him a complete offensive player that can hold his own on defense.