Who is the next Orlando Magic All-Star?

Markelle Fultz and Aaron Gordon are part of a future for the Orlando Magic that includes no clear All-Star. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
Markelle Fultz and Aaron Gordon are part of a future for the Orlando Magic that includes no clear All-Star. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /
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Mohamed Bamba, Orlando Magic
Mohamed Bamba is making progress for the Orlando Magic. But subtly and slowly. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

5. Chuma Okeke & Mohamed Bamba

The Orlando Magic might be in playoff position and might be fighting for their spot in the Eastern Conference, but it is still vitally important to remember this is a young team and a team in transition. They are still relying on a ton of veterans (more on them in a bit) to buoy the team, but the future is clearly elsewhere.

Most fans expect the team to go through some transformation this coming offseason. And, at some point, the Magic will have to turn their focus and attention to the future.

Nobody screams the future more than Mohamed Bamba.

Mohamed Bamba entered the league as a wispy thin center who needed to add strength. Even in his limited rookie season, he proved he could be a dynamic shot blocker. He just needed to learn and understand defensive positioning and add strength.

This year has not seen Bamba increase his scoring, but his defensive consistency has been much better. Bamba is showing signs of his development and growth and everyone is hungry to see him get more minutes.

Opponents are shooting just 50 percent at the rim against him and Bamba’s 8.7-percent block rate is the best in the league among players who qualify for the blocks-per-game leaderboard.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

Bamba is not likely ready to start yet. But he is getting there quickly. And that will put some pressure on some decisions.

Orlando is not going to develop him too quickly though. He is going to progress as his body and his skill allow. the better he does, the more the Magic will work him into the rotation. But Bamba clearly has All-Defensive team talent as a shot blocker. And he is on his way to getting there.

And that leads into the Magic’s other young player who is not ready to do anything.

Chuma Okeke is recovering from a torn ACL suffered during last year’s NCAA Tournament in March. Chuma Okeke did not sign his rookie contract and is doing his rehab in Lakeland. Everyone around him and within the Magic organization seems very excited about his prognosis and potential.

Analytics loved Okeke entering the draft. And he was picking up steam on the biggest stage at the NCAA Tournament. The game where he tore his ACL was an astounding 20 points in 25 minutes to lead the Auburn Tigers to a lead over the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Okeke projects as a solid wing defender who can hit from the outside. Everyone is eager to see him out on a NBA floor.

But like many draft picks from Jeff Weltman’s tenure both with the Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors, the idea is to develop them in smaller roles and slowly expand them. Unless Chuma Okeke is a secret All-Star, his development probably tracks more similarly to Pascal Siakam. He will be a guy working his way up the rotation until he gets the trust to do more.

Okeke remains a curiosity. But one with a ton of talent.