The Orlando Magic selected Duke forward Paolo Banchero on Thursday night with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
After leading the Blue Devils to the Final Four in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season, NBA commissioner Adam Silver first called up the 6-foot-10 forward to start the draft, beating first-tier forwards year Jabari Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren. .
Banchero, dressed in a bejeweled purple suit, received a loud ovation inside the Barclays Center, where Duke lost in the ACC Tournament final.
The Magic were picking first for the fourth time and have done well with their previous picks. They took Shaquille O’Neal in 1992, traded the rights to Chris Webber for Penny Hardaway the following year, and went with Dwight Howard in 2004.
They all eventually made it to the NBA Finals with the Magic.
Holmgren was second behind the Oklahoma City Thunder after the 7-footer led the West Coast Conference in blocked shots, rebounds and shooting percentage at Gonzaga. He looked dapper in his black suit, but he may need him to eventually get a size larger to be successful in the NBA, since he weighs only 195 pounds.
The Houston Rockets took Smith at third, happy to finish off a player many thought would finish first. The 6-10 forward from Auburn is a natural fit for the current NBA game, able to defend all three frontcourt positions and with a shot hit that allowed him to shoot 42% from behind the arc.
Forward Keegan Murray, after a big jump in his second season at Iowa, jumped up to the fourth pick by the Sacramento Kings. The Detroit Pistons, a year after drafting Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick, took athletic Purdue guard Jaden Ivey with the fifth pick.
Before the picks began, Silver congratulated the Golden State Warriors on their recent NBA championship and reminded fans that their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green was formed during the draft.
All the teams at the top of this draft need help and they already have recent top picks on their rosters, so hopefully the Warriors’ path works out for them as well.
Bennedict Mathurin, a Canadian who played in Arizona, went to Indiana with the No. 6 pick. The Portland Trail Blazers followed with Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, G League Ignite’s Dyson Daniels was taken eighth by New Orleans, Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan stayed on Texas with San Antonio at No. 9 and Washington rounded out the top 10 with Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis.