Celtics’ Jayson Tatum on Paolo Banchero: ‘He’s had a hell of a year’

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From afar, Jayson Tatum has marveled at the rookie campaign of Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero, and the Boston Celtics guard is happy about his success so far this season.

The two developed a friendship some years ago and have remained close ever since. Of course, they are also proud members of the Duke brotherhood and are among several Blue Devils currently in the NBA.

Tatum even watched Banchero play last year at Boston College.

The Celtics’ All-Star expressed his happiness early in the season for Banchero and was excited to finally play him. The two squared off for a fourth and final time on Monday as Banchero and the Magic walked away with the 113-98 win.

Afterward, Tatum offered a scouting report of Banchero.

He is a bigger wing: 6-foot-10 and has to be 230 or something like that. (He can) create off the bounce, he can shoot, post up. He has had a hell of a year. I think, obviously, probably the Rookie of the Year. (He) has been playing at a high level. Looks like he has gotten better every month and getting accustomed to the game. (I’m) happy for him.

The top pick watched plenty of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony growing up but eventually pivoted to watch Tatum and Anthony Davis, two players at his position. Banchero even tried to pattern some of his game after Tatum over the years.

Banchero is the front-runner to win Rookie of the Year after a strong first half of the season. He is averaging 20.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and one steal in 40 games. He leads the rookie class in scoring and has the most 30-point games (4).

Plenty of Banchero’s peers have recognized his play this season, with Tatum among them. Banchero is emerging as a real cornerstone for the Magic and a big reason why the future appears to be bright in Orlando.


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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire