The Orlando Magic were once again bottom feeders in the Eastern Conference. However, over the course of the past few seasons, the Orlando Magic have done an excellent job bringing in a plethora of young and talented players. Will these young players take the next step to push the Magic into playoff contention?
Orlando Magic 2022-2023 Season Preview
2021 Season in Review
It’s hard to find any positives for a team that went 22-60. The Magic were hit by the injury bug like no other as well. The 449 games missed by injured players, including Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, made the Magic the most injured team in the NBA. Luckily for the Magic, they weren’t expected to do anything but learn and get better, and that’s what they did. Wendell Carter set a career-high in points (15), rebounds (10.5), and assists (2.8) per game. Carter put up these numbers while only playing 30 minutes a game. The Magic could have a 20 and 10 guy with Carter in the near future. Cole Anthony set career highs with 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists a game.
If you get the pattern here, the youth on this team got a chance to go out and play and gain valuable experience in the process. That gained experience didn’t exactly translate to wins, but it did allow the Magic the opportunity to go out and draft a franchise centerpiece, and well, they did just that.
The NBA’s Next Unicorn
Chet Holmgren was thought to be a lock for the Magic in this draft. The Orlando Magic fooled everyone by drafting Paolo Banchero with the 1st overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft. Banchero’s ceiling is high as he possesses a basketball IQ that’s advanced for his age. In college, Banchero showed he could score against various defenders. Throw a big man on his, and he can use his quickness and fluidity to get a basket. If you throw a small wing on him, he’s too strong for them to handle. Banchero is an excellent playmaker for his size, which is something that the Magic could really use. Banchero can also create his own shot off the bounce, which is another need the Magic currently have.
It’s not a matter of if but when Banchero will find his way to NBA superstardom. He’s a young stud that can pretty much do it all. The only question people have about Banchero is how high his motor runs. Banchero has the chance to end his rookie season averaging 20, five, and five for the Magic.
Orlando Magic 2022-2023 Outlook
The young Orlando Magic will be a fun team to watch this upcoming season. Being a young team has its ups and down, and this Magic team will experience both. There will be games where the potential of what this team can be will show, and then there will be games in which we realize how young of a team the Magic actually is.
The young pieces the Magic have on their roster are the stuff rebuilding teams wish for. Along with Banchero, The Magic have Carter, Jalen Suggs, Anthony, and Franz Wagner, who caught a lot of people off guard with his play last season. Along with RJ Hampton, Mo Bamba, and Fultz, the Magic have eight players under the age of 25. The more these young players play, the better they’ll get, which will be a problem for the league moving forward.
Will the Magic finish in last place again? There’s a possibility of that. Not because this team is horrible and going nowhere fast, but because the teams ahead of them also got better. Due to the new play-in system the NBA has implemented, this Magic team only has to get the 10th spot in the East to have a chance for a playoff berth.
The defense for this team is already one of the league’s best, finishing 7th in defensive rating. If their offensive rating can catch up to their defensive rating, the Magic can shock some people. Unfortunately, I feel like this team is one year away from the playoffs, but they are trending in the right direction.