With the third pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select Duke’s Paolo Banchero.
I am fully convinced that many have begun to overthink Banchero and his game; at 6’10” and roughly 250 pounds, Banchero by far has the most NBA-ready body of the big three at the top of the draft and I’d argue he has the best ball-handling skills to go along with it. For his size, he’s very shifty and has shown some signs of very high-level shot creation that have garnered him some comparisons to a young Blake Griffin and Julius Randle, but I’d argue that he’s already miles ahead of both of them for his age.
Up to this point, the biggest complaints about his game have revolved around his defense and shooting, but his upside as a shooter and defender is still undeniably there. He’s shooting at about 76% from the free-throw line on nearly five attempts per game and has shown some serious flashes of off-the-bounce shooting that give me quite a bit of hope for his offensive potential. Even beyond that, though, when hit shot hasn't been falling, Banchero has shown that he's more than capable of creating for others with his passing.
His defense will certainly need to come around a bit more, but with Duke having a bona fide defensive anchor in Mark Williams present on the floor most of the time, I haven’t exactly been expecting Banchero to expend much energy on that end of the floor. His shiftiness, athleticism, and basketball IQ make me fairly confident that better defense will come in due time.
Because there are some questions about his fit next to Cade Cunningham, I think the Pistons will take a serious look at Jaden Ivey as well. Ultimately, though, Detroit is very much in need of a cornerstone player in their frontcourt, and finding one that has passing chops and tremendous upside as a scorer will be too much to pass up.