Magic Notes: M. Wagner, Hampton, Bol, Banchero

Moritz Wagner‘s Magic teammates say he does a lot of things that don’t show up in the box score, including annoying his opponents, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The latest example came Friday night when Celtics forward Al Horford was ejected and given a Flagrant 2 foul after elbowing Wagner in the stomach.

“He plays with an unlimited amount of energy and he’s just out there yelling, getting on the ground, frustrating the other team — just all the little things you have to have,” Paolo Banchero said. “You have to have a player like that who’s bringing that energy and has that intensity no matter what.”

Orlando has won four in a row after a 6-20 start and has been playing better since Wagner joined the starting lineup eight games ago. He’s averaging 14.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists since the move while shooting 54.9% from the field and 36.1% on three-pointers. Wagner will be a free agent next summer, but he may be inclined to re-sign with the Magic and continue playing alongside his younger brother.

“He’s a lot more skilled than I think people realize,” Banchero added. “He’s a super smart player. Him and his brother [Franz Wagner] are very smart and cerebral. They have very good awareness of what’s going on in the game. Not just what they’re doing, what their man is doing, they know what’s going on with your man and what they see you doing. They’re just very aware.”

There’s more on the Magic:

  • R.J. Hampton is back with the team after playing G League games on Thursday and Friday, Price adds. Hampton has been out of the rotation in Orlando and requested the assignment with the Lakeland Magic as a way to get more playing time.
  • Bol Bol is displaying the combination of size and athleticism that has scouts raving about Victor Wembanyama, observes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Bol, who has emerged as a candidate for Most Improved Player in his first full season with the Magic, says he never got a chance to display his skills during his two and a half years in Denver. “Yeah, I had all of this,” he said. “It’s just I haven’t really been able to show it because I’ve been on the bench for the last couple of years. Now that they’ve given me the opportunity, I’ve just been trying to get better each game and I think it’s been showing.”
  • Before he was drafted by Orlando, Banchero got some valuable advice from Celtics star and fellow Duke alum Jayson Tatum, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “When I play against good players or good teams they kind of have a little bit of extra motivation to try to stop me or make it hard for me,” Banchero said. “That’s something Jayson told me right away, before I even got to the NBA. It’s helped a lot.”
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