Each NBA season brings its share of questions and intrigues. It’s the same thing all the time, a few days before the recovery. Which player will perform? Which coach will be fired? Who am I ? In which shelf? Where squash? For each of the 30 franchises, we have selected the 5 big questions for the 2022-23 edition: the seat of the day is allocated to the Orlando Magic.
#1: Will Paolo Banchero be the 2023 Rookie of the Year?
As a great philosopher of the 21st century said “it is at the end of the ball that we pay the musicians”, so it is difficult to say anything before the start of the regular season, but this ball seems likewise well underway for Paolo Banchero. By his number 1 status and by the point-forward role that awaits him in the attack of the Magic, Paul Banquier has all the cards in hand to put down big, well-stocked stat sheets and send wood every game night. . PB5 can do almost everything, at least in attack. Go into contact, dismiss the game, and even dribble or find his teammates unmarked. His modern interior outfit should give him great responsibilities in the game of Jamahl Mosley’s team.
He is undoubtedly the flagship player of this 2022 vintage, especially since Chet Holmgren, one of his main competitors, unfortunately shot his foot during the Seattle Pro-Am and saw his season end before it even started. But be careful all the same with the performance of the ex-future n°1 of Draft Jabari Smith, who finally landed with the Rockets and who must still have in a corner of his head the wish to make Orlando decision-makers regret their choice to ignore him. Keegan Murray is also coming out of a great Summer League, crowned (crown, Kings, do you have it?) by an MVP title and will also have his say. Just like Jaden Ivey and Bennedict Mathurin, respectively with the Pistons and the Pacers. As another 21st century philosopher puts it, “it’s jostling at the gate”. Paolo Banchero will have a lot to do and will work hard to win this trophy which he hopes will be the first in a long series, he who has already declared that he wanted to bring Orlando back to the Playoffs. But the former Duke knows very well that nothing is certain and will have to work hard to become the Rookie of the Year because a surprise quickly arrived. After all, who bet on Scottie Barnes to win last season?
#2: Will Jonathan Isaac finally play basketball again?
You’re a veteran if you’ve ever seen Jonathan Isaac in uniform on a basketball court. Unfortunately, this sentence is completely true, since the Magic freak’s last official game was in July 2020, in the Orlando bubble precisely, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The winger seriously kneed against the Kings and the maximum precautions were taken by the front office, to the point of not having sent his player back on the floor since all this time. After having him sign a contract of 80 million dollars over 4 years, we understand them. With such an atypical and slender physique, “Judah” is vulnerable to injuries, as evidenced by his relapse to the hamstrings in full rehabilitation, but today, the player assures that he is well and ready for the start of this season which will mark its great return.
What is very good for him as for his team is that the pressure will be far from unbearable. Already because there is no immediate obligation to win, it will even be advisable to lose a lot of games to still have a high-placed choice in the 2023 Draft. But also because since his injury, the Magic got his hands on Franz Wagner, sparkling in Orlando as with Germany during his rookie year, and Paolo Banchero, first choice full of promise from the last Draft and potential Rookie of the Year. Two players who play in the same positions 3 and 4 as JI. Their place in the major 5 is locked, which leaves the opportunity for the latter to grab his first minutes off the bench before aspiring to steal one of the two places or become embedded among them thanks to its size and its stifling defense. Bad news for the opposing franchise players, but it will probably be necessary to deal with Jonathan Isaac next season.
#3: Can Franz Wagner confirm his superb rookie season?
At the time of his selection with the 8th choice (included by the Bulls in the trade for Nikola Vucevic), Franz Wagner was expected as a good little player on both sides of the field, but also not enough to break 3 legs at granny in Nettles. He finally asserted himself as one of the best players in this vintage and the best in his franchise., no offense to Jalen Suggs, showing great regularity, accuracy and generosity in the effort on each side of the field. However, some wondered if the German was going to know how to confirm this first very good campaign and continue his progress, he who was seen with a rather low ceiling when he left Michigan University. The last few weeks have clearly taken the path.
Kaiser Franz feasted in the jersey of Germany during EuroBasket 2022, played at home and punctuated by a promising bronze medal for the Mannschaft. The Magic winger posed 15.2 points at 53.1% including 46.3% from the Brandenburg Gate, 4 rebounds and 1.7 assists on average per game. He was with Dennis Schröder one of the spearheads of the German attack, which is already a nice little confirmation during a major competition during which he paid the scalp of Giannis in the quarter-finals . “OnlyFranz” is not afraid to take responsibility, and he will have to repeat such exploits under the tunic of Orlando. There is no doubt that Moritz’s brother is cut that way and will set an example for the Magic bottle class of which he is a part. The potential boss of the Florida attack with Paolo Banchero is him. Franz Wagner should still take German LV1 to many young college students in Orlando.
#4: What rotation on the back lines between Fultz, Suggs and Anthony?
On a scale of 1 to 10, we are between the game of Twister between friends at 3 am and the fight of Super Smash Bros with 8 players. This is to say the puzzle that awaits Jamahl Mosley to compose his 5 major in the most efficient and complementary way possible, but the biggest unknown is at the level of the back lines. Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony, three names for two places. RJ Hampton is not mentioned because
slammed to the ground quite clearly inferior to its comrades, it will probably have to be content with what is left. But in short, back to our sheep, because we are in the presence of three very different but potentially very important profiles for a team, especially so young and destined to lose a deluge of games this season.
The first, Markelle Fultz, is very important in the creation, both for him and for the others and does the job in defense but still has his unorthodox shot and is coming back from a long absence due to a defective cruciate ligament in the knee. However, the ex-hope and n°1 of Draft 2017 is far from finished and intends to prove that he is ready. The second, Jalen Suggs, is not a bad shooter contrary to what his percentages suggest, is a monster of work and versatility in attack and defense but comes out of a complicated rookie season, marked by clumsiness and injuries. No doubt the former Gonzaga will want to redeem himself. The third, Cole Anthonywill continue to blast the Magic’s offense and post-game interviews, without Timberland this time and will be a real X-factor but will need to improve his shooting percentage and therefore his shot selection.
The profiles of Markelle Fultz and Jalen Suggs seem to be more sought after in a major 5, while that of Cole Anthony is more effective off the bench. However, it is hard to see Jamahl Mosley putting the franchise’s top scorer on the bench last season. Thus, Suggs and Anthony would play in complementary combo guard mode and share the lead (with Paolo Banchero intermittently), but Markelle Fultz should come off the bench quickly enough to replace Cole Anthony, whose size deficit can pose big problems in defense. . Perhaps still a little physically short, Fultz, like Jonathan Isaac, would have plenty of time to recover his health by starting matches on the bench. In any case, this is the logic that could well emerge in Mickey.
#5: Will Terrence Ross finally be transferred?
He’s been waiting for his discharge since 1967, but right now, Terrence Ross is still an Orlando Magic player. The only player in the squad to be over 30 years old, the former Raptors knows that the clock is ticking and that his chances of playing the title with a contender are dwindling. No time to fool around, the back is a professional and continues to give his all but no longer wants to be part of a reconstruction. He is one of the main Orlando players, along with Gary Harris, who always has a suitcase packed in the hallway, just in case. His salary is affordable ($11.5 million this season) and his contract is expiring, which should interest contenders looking for a short-term reinforcement and then cap space.
Terrence Ross can still provide good services off the bench based on distant shots. He’s a Gerard at heart and taking 15 shots from the parking lot per game is absolutely no problem for him. The Lakers, potentially interested in all the backs of the NBA and especially the vioques on the downward slope, could show interest and go on the attack to seduce the Orlando front office, just like the Knicks, in search of players to rise from their ashes. Unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season, the outfielder did not request a transfer but is unlikely to extend to the Magic who therefore risks losing it without compensation. The franchise therefore has every interest in fulfilling its wish to pursue its career elsewhere, a priori in a big market and/or a team that will fight for the title. Especially since its market value will drop, the Magic wants 1 first round of Draft, but who would be inclined to let go so much?