Orlando Magic have foundation set to shake up East in 2023-24

Orlando Magic duo (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Orlando Magic duo (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic Jalen Suggs and guard Cole Anthony (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports) /

The projected rotation

The Magic’s frontcourt rotation will have many options to choose from but the starters seem to be already entrenched as they have Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner, and 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year winner Paolo Banchero rounding out an impressive group. Carter Jr., always a double-double threat, is a monster on the boards and serves as a defensive anchor on the defensive end.

He is only 23 and he is still improving as it’s evident that he has taken more responsibility to contribute on the offensive end. The small improvements and strides he made last season made a huge difference as he has added a nice midrange jump shot to his arsenal and is playing with more aggression and being more assertive.

Carter Jr. averaged 15.2 points per game all while Markelle Fultz, Wagner, and Banchero received the majority of the touches but it’s the consistency that stands out more than anything else. Wagner has been absolutely lights out during his two seasons in Orlando and he is becoming one of the most versatile young wings in the NBA. The question now is just how much better can he get?

It’s hard finding any weaknesses in his game. He doesn’t mind sharing the ball, he plays solid defense, doesn’t turn over the ball much, and is a scoring threat inside and out. Whenever a player is selected with the first overall pick, along comes the expectations that can overwhelm players but not Banchero as he was all the Magic expected him to be. Banchero led all rookies in points per game, was 4th in rebounds per game, 3rd in assists per game, 6th in blocks per game, and 4th in steals per game.

Then comes the question about Johnathon Issac and his health. While Issac is a talented player who can contribute, it’s his availability that’s a concern. But when he is healthy he is a dominating force on the defensive end with NBA All-Defensive Team potential. With Carter Jr.’s emergence and stellar play, it’s likely that Issac will begin the season coming off the bench which could become a good thing considering there won’t be much of a fall off whenever one of the starters comes out of the game.

It’s possible that the Magic could dangle Gary Harris and Chuma Okeke as trade bait just to see what they can receive in return. Harris is on an expiring contract and a contender may be searching the market for a versatile wing making him expendable with the other talented players on the roster. Okeke has had his fair share of trouble with injuries and has struggled to stay on the court.

The good thing is that he is only 24 and still has time to show that he can become a viable rotational piece within a young core. The rotation in the backcourt is a little more complicated due to the wealth of talented guards they have. Fultz has pretty much secured his spot in the starting lineup but the other guard spot should be up for grabs between Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony.

According to StatMuse.com Anthony has averaged 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 69 games off the bench for the Magic so Anthony is better equipped as the 6th man. It’s like a mirror image because Suggs’ numbers as a starter are very similar to Anthony’s. Suggs averaged 11.8 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.5 rebounds in 64 starts.

Other than Fultz, there may be concerns about the lack of size at the shooting guard position. This is where Mosley could experiment by using second-year player Caleb Houstan and rookies Anthony Black and Jett Howard if he ever needs size in the backcourt.