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Orlando Magic Player Yearly Storylines

The 2022-23 season holds a lot of promise for the Orlando Magic. They have an incredible young talent and possible franchise player in place, they have a plethora of promising young complementary talent, and with the right development the team could start to look really good by season’s end. Every team will talk about winning the NBA championship as a realistic goal as training camp starts, but the Magic have some much more important short-term goals in place. Here’s a look at a few of the more important storylines as preseason gets underway

Paolo Banchero- Next Magic Star?

When drafting a player first overall, you are expecting a star talent. The story this season for Banchero is how well he enters this role. Will he be a consistent scoring threat every night who commands the defense’s attention? His role will be off-the-ball, dominant scoring wing, and he has the talent to be an all-star in his first season. However, this will be an adjustment for the 19-year-old, and his scoring will most likely not be efficient out of the gate. 

Banchero is currently the preseason odds leader for Rookie of the Year. He would be the third Magic player to win the award, after Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard. Banchero was dominant throughout Summer League and showed why he was selected first overall. He did this by using his mixture of size, skill, and footwork to score at ease. The Magic hope to have drafted their next star and are very excited to watch him play this season. 

Wendell Carter Jr- Leadership role?

Carter Jr may be in line to embrace a leadership role within the locker room. He has performed on the court to a consistent level. Having an unwavering big man who puts in the work to rebound and defend will command teammates respect. Carter has played 5 years in the NBA, making the 23-year-old a veteran of the core of this team. Carter averaged a doubledouble last season and commanded the interior defense for the Magic. While Carter may not put up the most amount of points on the team, his role within the Magic is unquestioned. Due to this defined role of defense and consistency, he can step into a leadership role in the locker room for the Magic. 

Jalen Suggs- Shooting woes continue?

Suggs was selected last year with the fifth overall selection in the draft. His offensive game was unpolished, however he was a winner in college and found ways to score. The main gripe for fans surrounding Suggs is his shooting. Suggs shot 21% from the three-point line this season while shooting four 3s a game. This led to increased minutes by other guards, and Suggs struggled to find his form throughout the season. In order to solidify a role in the backcourt, progression needs to be seen. The draft capital spent on Suggs solidifies his role on the team, however, in order to take that next step, improvement is needed. 


Mo Bamba- Will Bamba command the second group?

Mo Bamba is a wild card for the Magic this season. This season, Bamba signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Magic. Bamba’s 7’ 10” wingspan and agility are unlike anybody in the NBA. His truly untapped potential fits perfectly with new Head Coach Jamal Mosley. Mosley is known for developing young talent, and Bamba’s tools can make him a dominant defensive force. With a crowded frontcourt, where Bamba makes an impact is to be seen. Banchero will most likely play the four position, leaving players like Jonathan Isaac and Bamba out of the rotation potentially. This provides Bamba the opportunity to be a stalwart piece off the bench. He can instantly change the defensive side when he is in the game. Bamba would also allow for better spacing with the second group. He would be able to be a true stretch 4 or 5, as he shot a career-best 38% from three.


RJ Hampton- What is Hampton’s role?

Hampton has so far struggled to find his role in the NBA. As a point guard, he has struggled with his playmaking. His size advantage at this position makes it very interesting defensively, where his crazy wingspan and 6’6” stature can be extremely disruptive defensively. A potential move to the 2 or 3 could be beneficial to his development.  He shot a career-high 35% from three last season and could fit a wing role if this were to expand. He would be able to run the floor extremely well for a wing player and could become a great 3 and D player with correct development. Hampton’s performance as the primary ball handler this Summer League was poor. Adding a potentially crowded backcourt may mean a position switch is the best option for his development. Hampton is only 21 years old and his potential is untapped. The role in which he blossoms is yet to be seen.

This Magic team is in need of direction. They are in need of roles and leadership in order to get the best results as a unit. With a coaching change, added stability of what you need to provide on the court could be a potential godsend. There is undoubtedly talent on this team, however finding your role is essential. If these players fall into the roles and development needed, the Magic can be dangerous sooner rather than later.

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