Paolo Banchero, an Italian 1st pick in NBA Draft 16 years after Bargnani

Tonight Paolo Banchero’s lifelong dream came true: being named with the first overall pick at the 2022 NBA Draft. This is not the first time an Italian has had the honor of first ever. In the summer of 2006, this was also the case for Andrea Bargnani, but today he is remembered as the worst first pick – or almost – in the history of the Game.

The hope for the Orlando Magic – the team that selected him – is that the Duke product will be able to integrate into the NBA world right away and can make a difference immediately. We cannot say that he will have an easy life because he has so much competition and Orlando has not done very well in recent years however Banchero has been invested by the Florida franchise to raise its technical rate and appeal.

As Italians however we can only be proud that now the whole basketball world will have its eyes on us. The real hope is that Banchero will be able to play with Italbasket soon, maybe in 2023, as he himself said, since for this summer it will be very hard with the start of the NBA regular season close to the end of the European Championship.

Let’s see. Still, knowing that we have a long first overall pick is not bad. And the thing that must not happen is for people to say that “he is not Italian.” Paolo Banchero has chosen Italy and feels Italian more than many Italians. That much is certain. Those who say otherwise should be ashamed of being Italian.

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