Paolo Banchero, the reigning Rookie of the Year, is facing a significant challenge on Team USA’s roster. Not only has he earned the opportunity to represent his country in the FIBA World Cup after just one season in the NBA, but he is also adjusting to playing in an unfamiliar position.
At the age of 20, Banchero will be playing as a center alongside Jaren Jackson Jnr., as they share the same height. This is quite different from his role as a point guard for the Orlando Magic during his first season in the league.
When discussing his position change, Banchero acknowledges the difficulty of the adjustment. He told Yahoo Sports, “It’s been a huge adjustment for me. Obviously, that’s not what I’m planning on doing in Orlando. I’ve just been trying to accept the role and be the best I can at it. The biggest thing for me is doing whatever I can to find my way on the floor. I really don’t care what it is, even if it’s not scoring. Having to defend, having to rebound.”
USA head coach Steve Kerr also recognizes Banchero’s versatility in his new role. Kerr mentioned, “One of the things we really found in  in the Tokyo Olympics was having a center who can push the ball and transition and create plays is very difficult for FIBA teams to handle. So he can play some power forward, as he showed, but he’ll play plenty of center as well.”
In the previous year, Bam Adebayo and Draymond Green occupied the center position for Team USA. Banchero and Jackson have the responsibility of filling those big shoes.
Image Source: Paolo Banchero @ Instagram