Paolo Banchero Shares His Welcome To The NBA Moment

NBA rookies come into the league not knowing what to expect. Some are surprised by the increased level of competition and skill. On the other hand, some players wonder where they stand against elite players in the league. Paolo Banchero, this season's first overall pick, shared his welcome to the NBA moment. 

In a podcast interview by the Old Man and the Three hosted by former NBA player J.J Redick, Banchero spoke about which player gave him a wake-up call to the competition of the NBA. "KD (Kevin Durant) I think was kind of my welcome to the NBA moment." The rookie cited the matchup he had with Durant on November 28th. He added that "I guarded him for most of that game, and it was really just nothing you could do."

To Banchero's credit, no one in the league has been able to figure out how to defend KD. He is one of the most skilled players the league has seen at his height. In the game Banchero was talking about, Durant dropped 14 points in the seven minutes they matched up together. Overall, the Nets star had 45 points in that game and came out with the win. 

The late Kobe Bryant even cited Durant as the only player he was never able to figure out defensively. Banchero is an outstanding rookie who will probably find tough matchups in his first year in the league. However, his attitude and mentality are in the right place.

Banchero is looking like a player that is hard to stop as well and could be the welcome-to-the-NBA moment for other rookies in the years to come. Currently, the rookie is averaging 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists a game, and is looking like a clear favorite to win the rookie of the year award. The next matchup between the Nets and the Magic won't be until March 26th in Orlando, which gives Banchero another opportunity to prepare for Durant.

Photo Credit Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports