The Orlando Magic are 3-11. That’s not good by any means, but it’s expected. The team is full of young players, and their main veterans include Terrence Ross, Gary Harris, and Robin Lopez. Those are role players on contending teams.
With that being said, the team’s young core looks very promising. New head coach Jamahl Mosley is aware of the team’s rebuild, so he’s giving this core a chance to develop and prove themselves. This is the right approach and one that is going very smoothly. The current young core, that has played and impressed so far, includes Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, and R.J. Hampton in the backcourt and Franz Wagner, Mo Bamba, and Wendell Carter Jr. in the frontcourt.
The Impressive Orlando Magic Young Core is Showing Up
The best player thus far in the young core and backcourt has been Anthony. He’s also been Orlando’s best player overall. So far this season he’s averaging 20.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. In addition, he has a very solid 44/40/86 shooting split. Anthony is quick and resourceful, he can score in bunches, find open teammates, and has also shown a knack for showing up in clutch moments. At only 21-years-old, Anthony is quickly growing and displaying the talent to lead this franchise into the future.
Suggs is also a very important piece. Orlando spent the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft on the former Gonzaga Bulldogs stud, and he’s lived up to most expectations thus far. Thirteen games into his NBA career and he’s averaging 11.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. His shooting is off at times, compared to how he played in college, but he’s just begun his learning curve at the professional level. Suggs is already capable of playing amongst NBA veterans and could very well be a star in the making.
Lastly, there’s Hampton. He’s only in his second season and just 20-years-old. The combo-guard hasn’t been given as many minutes as Anthony and Suggs, but he’s still performing very well. Hampton is averaging 7.5 points per game to go along with three rebounds and two assists. He’s also shooting 43 percent from deep which is great, but he has work to do at the free-throw line.
Three Frontcourt Studs for the Orlando Magic
Wagner was Orlando’s second pick in the last NBA Draft lottery, selected eighth overall, and has earned every bit of that. Coming into the draft, Wagner was considered highly skilled but perhaps with not the highest ceilings. Any criticism, for now, is nonexistent. Wagner is averaging 13.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. He also holds a very respectable shooting split of 45/37/76. The future is very bright here.
Then, of course, there’s Bamba. It looks like he’s finally living up to his potential under Mosley. Bamba is showing off a bevy of post moves and dominating the paint while also being a solid outside threat. So far he’s averaging 11.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game. Bamba is clearly contributing in all facets of the game, and even holds a three-point percentage of over 35 percent. His potential has always been scary, and Mosley is unlocking it.
Finally, there’s Carter Jr. who arrived from Chicago last season. He’s always been a very good big man and is continuing to do the same in conjunction with Bamba. Carter Jr. is averaging 13.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. He also has a 52/46/65 shooting split, which is very good for a player of his type.
Orlando will lose plenty of games this season, but this young core paired with a lottery pick next season will have this team set for the future.
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