Even in elimination, it's hard not to be excited about the Orlando Magic's future

After a solid showing in the NBA Playoffs, it's clear that the Orlando Magic have a very bright future.
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Seven
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Seven / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Even after being eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, it's hard not to be excited about the Orlando Magic's future.

Blowing an 18-point lead in Game 7 of an NBA Playoff series is never something any team should be proud of. But even after their Game 7 collapse on the road at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, there isn't much the Orlando Magic shouldn't be proud of during the 2023-24 NBA season. As they prepare for the offseason, it's hard not to be excited about this young team's future.

A big part of that excitement heading into the offseason is Paolo Banchero. In what will be remembered as one of the most impressive playoff appearances in recent history, Banchero continues to prove that he could be a worthy building block for the Magic heading into the future.

Paolo Banchero is a rising NBA star

In defeat, Banchero closed his first taste of the NBA Playoffs by averaging 27 points, nine rebounds, and four assists per game on 46 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from 3-point range. He nearly led the Magic to a first-round upset of the Cavs in the process. While he may not have accomplished that, he did announce himself to the rest of the league.

At 21 years old, Banchero is one of the best young stars in the league. And as the Magic prepare for the offseason, this is a team that should feel comfortable in leaning all the way into the build around Banchero.

While Orlando heads into the offseason with plenty of questions surrounding some of their other players, the Magic know they have a cornerstone for the franchise. There's an argument to be made that the Magic haven't felt this good about the face of the team since the days of Dwight Howard.

Even then, there were still questions of how Dwight fit in a quickly changing NBA, as it began its move to a more perimeter game. This time around, the Magic have exactly the type of player that every team in the NBA desires to be the face of their franchise.

Banchero can score from anywhere on the floor, is physically imposing as a wing, and has athleticism that can mirror almost any other player in the league. And, perhaps most importantly, he's already begun to prove his worth with an excellent showing in the postseason.

I'm not 100 percent sure that the Magic will be "next" in the Eastern Conference but with another addition or two, there's no question that this team is going to emerge as a real player in the conference in the next 1-2 seasons.

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