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Magic’s Paolo Banchero named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month – Boston Herald



Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero was named the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in December, the league announced Tuesday.

The No. 1 pick in the draft, Banchero led all NBA rookies in scoring with 19.1 points per game for the month to go along with 6.5 rebounds (fifth) and 4.1 assists (second).

Banchero scored in double figures in 13 of 15 December games, including 20-plus points 10 times and 30-plus once — the 31-point performance in the Dec. 18 win over the Boston Celtics.

Banchero’s the ninth Magic player to earn Rookie of the Month honors, joining:

  • Dennis Scott (March 1991);
  • Shaquille O’Neal (four times — November 1992-February 1993);
  • Penny Hardaway (twice — January and April 1994);
  • Mike Miller (twice — February and March 2001);
  • Victor Oladipo (twice — December 2013 and February 2014);
  • Elfrid Payton (January 2015);
  • R.J. Hampton (May 2021);
  • Franz Wagner (December 2021).

Rookie of the Month was awarded to one rookie in the NBA until the 2001-02 season, when the league started giving the honor to one rookie from each conference.

Banchero is averaging 20.9 points (first among rookies), 6.7 rebounds (third) and 3.9 assists (second) entering Wednesday’s home game vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He is the sixth player in NBA history to start his career with six consecutive 20-point games. The others: Wilt Chamberlain (56), Elvin Hayes (10), Grant Hill, Dominique Wilkins and Oscar Robertson (6).

Banchero’s streak of seven 20-point games (Dec. 5-18) tied the franchise record for the longest streak of 20-point games by a Magic rookie set that was by Shaquille O’Neal (1993).

He had the best odds of winning Rookie of the Year as of Friday, according to VegasInsider.com.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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