The Orlando Magic currently sit at 20-31 and thirteenth in the Eastern Conference. While not a great record, it is definite improvement and the Magic have shown promise thus far. The Magic are only two games behind their season record of last year even before the All-Star break. Multiple players have taken steps forward as the Magic fight for a Play-In tournament spot.
This improved Magic squad has greatly benefited from the addition of rookie phenom Paolo Banchero. Banchero has instantly become a 20-ppg scorer for this young Magic squad. The Rookie of the Year front runner has provided instant offense to a team that severely lacked it last season.
Banchero has been consistent, something not found in many players his age. The Seattle native has dropped 20 or more points in twenty-six games. Banchero is currently the NBA Rookie of the Year leader and will only get better as he acclimates to the NBA.
Franz Wagner has taken large strides in his game this season. Wagner looks more comfortable defending multiple positions than in his rookie year. The German product is averaging 4.6 more points than last year, and could end up averaging around 20 ppg by the end of the season. Wagner has also played in every Magic game this season. The second-year forwards durability has been critical to the Magic’s success.
No Magic report could be complete without mentioning one of the best stories in the NBA this season. The emergence of Bol Bol this season has been nothing short of spectacular. The 7’ 2” “point-center” has dazzled this season taking the ball coast to coast and dunking on opponents.
Bol’s efficiency has been incredible, sixteenth in the league in field goal percentage. The former Oregon Duck has shown flashes of being a defensive force and uses his length to block shots from the three-point line and deflect passes. The Magic have given him the playing time not gifted to him before, and he has taken full advantage.
What Lies Next?
The Magic are currently 4.5 games out of the Play-In Tournament. This type of turnaround would be a huge success for this team. The Magic are all in on the future with ten players under the age of 25. Do not be shocked to see veterans like Gary Harris and Terrence Ross move to contenders with the upcoming trade deadline just around the corner.
They could be moved for future picks, to pile onto the two first rounders the Magic have this year (first round top-four protected via the Chicago Bulls). This team finds itself with a lot of unique talent with rising stars like Banchero, Wagner and Bol.
This off-season will most likely be when the guard position is addressed. Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton do not fit as well together as the front court does so the Magic will either need to address this need in the 2023 NBA Draft or next offseason via free-agency or trade.
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