Following a 22-60 season in 2021/22, the Magic are crossing their fingers that No. 1 overall draft pick Paolo Banchero can become their transformative franchise player. In a new piece for The Athletic, Zach Harper recaps the Banchero draft selection and the rest of Orlando’s eventful 2022 offseason
In addition to Banchero, the Magic selected swingman Caleb Houstan out of Michigan with the No. 32 pick in the draft. Harper thinks that the team had a solid, under-the-radar summer and views Banchero as a prospect capable of making a positive impact on the team even as a rookie. Still, Harper cautions that the team will probably continue to have trouble recording a significant uptick in wins this season. He also wonders about how the team’s top three healthy backcourt players — Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz — will contribute.
There’s more out of Orlando:
- Magic small forward Franz Wagner, the No. 7 draft pick in 2021 out of Michigan, enjoyed an eventful 2022 EuroBasket run playing for his native Germany. Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel takes a look at where the 21-year-old thrived for the German national team, and what areas could still use some work. Price notes that Wagner’s play-making, his three-point shooting, and his skills as an off-ball cutter were among the highlights of his summer abroad. Price suggests that Wagner could still work to upgrade his ability to finish around the rim in coverage.
- After nabbing the bronze medal against Poland today, Wagner is optimistic that the German national team can look at its success at EuroBasket as a foundation for the future, per John Rammas of Eurohoops.“Hopefully, we can keep a little momentum from this,” Wagner said. “It was very difficult, I thought. Mentally, to re-focus and get a really intense Polish team. They did a good job fighting all tournament and obviously tonight. That was the toughest part.”