The magic rookie and No. 1 overall draft pick Paolo Banchero said guarding 12-time All Star Kevin Durant was his ‘welcome to the NBA moment’… after the Nets star scored 45 points in a brutal showing against Orlando in November
- Paolo Banchero faces Kevin Durant and the Nets on November 28
- And the rookie couldn’t stop KD as he had the most points of the season
- Banchero said ‘there’s nothing I can do’ in 109-102 loss to Brooklyn
- Although Durant led most of the league in a blistering December
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Rookie of the Year frontrunner Paolo Banchero said guarding Kevin Durant in the Magic’s Nov. 28 loss to the Nets was a ‘welcome to the NBA moment’ as the Brooklyn star poured in 45 points at Barclays Center.
First drafted by the Magic in June, Banchero has had a great start to NBA life averaging 21.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
But facing the Nets last month was clearly a wake-up call for him as Durant put together a season-high scoring performance.
Kevin Durant scored a season-high 45 points against Paolo Banchero and the Magic last month
‘Playing against KD was kind of my little welcome to the NBA moment. I watched him for most of that game, there’s just nothing you can do,’ Banchero said on the Old Man & the Three podcast with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter.
‘You know some guys get to the line a bunch, or you know, play with the refs and get calls, and that’s how they get 14 points from the line or whatever. But KD is straight business.
‘Like wasn’t saying nothing to the refs… I think he had four or five free throws, but he had 45 [points] so most of those are buckets. And I don’t think he missed five shots in that game. Just experiencing that and having to watch him… he’s the first player I think I watched in my life where it was like, there’s nothing I can do.’
Banchero talked about having to keep an eye on Durant on the Old Man & the Three podcast
‘Usually a guy can make some shots on me but I can fluster him a little bit, I can get into him, make him miss here and there. But it’s like, ‘he doesn’t see me now.”
Banchero’s defense, he was not the only one who dominated KD these past few days.
Durant is averaging 29.1 points per contest in December (10 games) so far to go along with 58.7 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from three on the month.
The Magic rookie started his pro career off to a great start and is the Rookie of the Year frontrunner
And despite a rough outing against the Nets star, Banchero’s start has put him in rarified air.
The Magic are 13-21 – 13th in the Eastern Conference – despite Banchero’s play.