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Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero wins NBA Rookie of Year in near-unanimous vote

ORLANDO Magic forward Paolo Banchero was the runaway winner of the NBA Rookie of the Year, the league announced Tuesday.

Mr. Banchero received 98 of the 100 first-place votes from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters to earn the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy.

He said of the honor, “I remember when I first got drafted, my agent Mike Miller … looked at me and he asked me if I was going to be Rookie of the Year, and I confidently said, ‘Yes.’ It was just a goal I’ve always had and something I’ve had my eye on from the second I got drafted. I’m glad I was able to do it.”

Mr. Banchero averaged 20 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 72 games (all starts) after being the No. 1 overall selection by the Magic in the 2022 draft. He made 85 3-pointers and recorded 60 steals and 39 blocked shots.

Mr. Banchero, 20, received 494 total points in the balloting, more than double runner-up Jalen Williams (241) of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Utah Jazz big man Walker Kessler (114) was third and received the other two first-place votes.

Mr. Banchero, who played college basketball at Duke, is the third Orlando player to win the award. The others are Shaquille O’Neal (1993) and Mr. Banchero’s agent, as Mr. Miller won the award in 2001.

Mr. Banchero had six 30-point efforts, second among Magic rookies behind Mr. O’Neal (10).

Mr. Williams, the 12th overall pick from Santa Clara, averaged 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 75 games (62 starts). Mr. Kessler, the 22nd selection from Auburn, was a major force as a defender by blocking 173 shots, a 2.3 average. He averaged 9.2 points and 8.4 rebounds in 74 games (40 starts). He was acquired by the Jazz two weeks after the draft in the trade that sent three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Mr. Kessler was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies and traded to Minnesota on draft night. — Reuters

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