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“Paolo Banchero is an All-Star, Scottie Barnes Isn’t?”: Coaches Decision to Snub Raptors Star From ASG 2024 Justified

Nov 19, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) in the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
The 2024 All-Star Game reserves were announced yesterday and, as expected, many players were snubbed. One player in that category is the Toronto Raptors leading man, Scottie Barnes. A rebuilding team, the Raptors envision a future with Barnes at the center. That’s all well and good. But to have Orlando’s Paolo Banchero take the lead over Scottie didn’t sit well with many.
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In a recent episode of The Ringer‘s Ryen Russillo Podcast, the sports host dived into whether Banchero was the better choice.
Is Paolo Banchero deserving of an All-Star honor?
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Russillo, while declaring love for both players, seemed to lean towards the Magic’s 21-year-old. He talked about how Paolo assumes complete responsibility “when he has to go long stretches”. And then there is the fact that he is a “willing passer,” always looking to create opportunities for his teammates. The Ringer’s official account posted a snap of Russillo’s podcast with the caption, “Paolo Banchero is an All-Star, Scottie Barnes isn’t?”
He further cited a few examples from past games where the 2023 ROTY showed exactly why he is an All-Star level player. A notable game was the January 3rd double-OT loss to the Sacramento Kings. Banchero was just coming off a stretch where he scored 25+ points in six straight games. Although the Magic lost, Paolo had set a new career-high – 43 points.
Not to mention, his clutch performance was out there in all its glory. The fourth quarter saw him make a go-ahead three-pointer with 15.9 seconds on the clock. There was also the tying layup with just 1.1 seconds left in the first overtime. But that was not all.
Concluding their four-game West Coast trip vs the Denver Nuggets, Paolo Banchero recorded his first triple-double – 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. And just like that, he joined the club with the likes of Jordan, LeBron, Magic, Isiah Thomas, Curry, and Doncic as the only players in league history to notch a 30-10-10 game before 22 years of age.
And if these are not enough, let’s take a look at a few other aspects of his game.
What makes Banchero special?
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The trait that sticks out the most here is his efficiency in creating open looks for his teammates. The Duke product takes special care to dish out assists as much as possible. The funny part is that the Magic has only managed to make 34.6% of the shot attempts out of the passes from Paolo. Hence, the widely circulated narrative that he is inefficient on the floor.
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Another aspect is that opposing teams are making game plans with him in mind. Reportedly, Banchero has been double-teamed more in isolation this season than the entirety of the last. The only players who have a higher record are Giannis, Embiid, Kawhi, etc. And we all know why that’s necessary.
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These two factors are just scratching the surface of the rising star, Paolo Banchero. As Russillo predicts, he could very well land in the top 10 list about four to five years from now. What do you think of this projection? Does he have what it takes to do so? And maybe take a name in the top 5, someday? Let us know your thoughts below!
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