LeBron James speaks out on Paolo Banchero’s rookie season after Lakers win over Magic

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers had been reeling without Anthony Davis, but on Tuesday, they stopped their four-game losing streak with a 129-110 win over Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic.

LeBron James gave Banchero, Orlando’s standout rookie, plenty of positive feedback after the game.

Banchero had a very poor game against Los Angeles, scoring just four points on 1-of-6 shooting in 22 minutes. However, he has been having a nice season so far.

The No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft was averaging 21.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists coming into Tuesday’s game. He is starting to look like a foundational piece for the Magic, and he has lots of room for improvement moving forward.

At 13-22, the Magic have one of the worst records in the NBA, and they’re hoping to win the top pick in next June’s draft, which would give them the ability to take Victor Wembanyama, the extremely tall French phenom who has been described as a generational talent.

Orlando already has a starting lineup that is chock-full of length and size, which provided an opportunity for it to hand the Lakers yet another loss.

But they maintained a lead throughout the contest, and instead of getting complacent in the second half and losing their lead, they kept adding to it until the final minutes.

James led the way with 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists. His string of consecutive 30-point games ended at seven, which is a remarkable accomplishment for a man in his 20th season who is about to turn 38 years of age.

Russell Westbrook also burst through with a strong performance: 15 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists, giving him his third triple-double of December. He has made a remarkable turnaround since being moved to the bench, not only with his performance but also with Laker fans, who are now on his side after directing so much vitriol toward him for so long.

Los Angeles will head to South Florida tomorrow to take on the Miami Heat in the third game of this five-game road trip.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.