The Orlando Magic are entering this NBA season with a sense of cautious optimism. This is the third attempt at a rebuild in 10 years, but you get the sense that this crop of players has the potential to eclipse what has come before them. Granted, the bar is pretty low at two playoff appearances that yielded only two wins under former head coach Steve Clifford.
But Jamahl Mosley, entering his second season at the helm of this roster, has a lot more youth and flexibility to work with. In some ways, the timing of the Magic’s beginning another attempt at ascension couldn’t be worse, with a certain Frenchman looking like the best NBA draft prospect of all time.
You can’t put an entire organization on hold when the young talent is in place, especially when you’re a small-market team like the Magic.
There are lottery picks in the form of Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz, and Cole Anthony here. Two of those (Banchero and Fultz) were first-overall selections in their classes. Additionally, Wendell Carter Jr. has been a brilliant addition since coming over from the Chicago Bulls in the deal that sent Nikola Vucevic the other way.
Behind all of them, Jonathan Isaac, Mohamed Bamba, Gary Harris, Chuma Okeke, and R.J. Hampton provide, if nothing else, plenty of intrigues and roster flexibility. If one of them can make a jump this year, it will allow the Magic to begin thinking seriously about the play-in tournament.
Finally, there is Terrence Ross, the beloved veteran of the group who has stuck around to become a leader in Orlando. But only one out of all of these players will emerge as the undisputed number one scoring option for the roster. Given where the Magic have been offensively over the last decade (it has been… not good…), this is a great problem to have. Let’s examine the top three candidates for the position.