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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Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic, OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
Aaron Gordon is among the Orlando Magic star players struggling to get started this season. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

1. Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon will once again be the talk of All-Star Weekend with his amazing Dunk Contest performance and robbery of the title. He is the People’s Champion, there is no doubt about it.

But the criticism was surprisingly quick as people tried to defend Gordon. At his experience in the league and his talent level, he really should be focused on playing in the Sunday game and not the Saturday exhibition event. They are probably picking nits there, but they are not wrong.

If there is one element that has disappointed most in the Magic’s season this year, it is the regression they have seen from their 24-year-old forward.

Gordon had a more efficient and effective year as his scoring average dipped last year. But this year, his decrease in scoring is a bit more baffling.

Gordon is averaging 14.2 points per game and shooting a career-worst 42.4-percent from beyond the arc. For the first time in his career, his 3-point shooting will not improve as he has just only recently climbed above the 30-percent plateau.

There are plenty of reasons for these frustrations.

The Magic’s offense has been notably stagnant, stifling some of his athleticism and giving him less space to fly to the rim. Orlando has to do a better job getting out in transition and running through their offense with better pace.

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  • Gordon too deserves some blame. He tends to overdribble and favor his mid-range jumper or pull-up jumper and he is still inefficient in the post, despite some improved footwork. There are still a lot of bad habits and tendencies Gordon has to fight.

    He largely suppressed them last year and that led to his best season and even a strong playoff performance when everyone else struggled.

    That had everyone thinking Gordon could take a star leap this year. Everyone is disappointed, to say the least. The trade winds were blowing hard at the deadline and they will likely pick up again in the offseason as the Magic look to make changes to the team.

    It is still hard to give up completely on a 24-year-old forward. Among the Magic’s young players, Gordon is still the closest to reaching stardom. It is about consistency with him for sure and improving his jumper, but he has all the elements — not to mention the star power and notoriety around the league thanks to his dunk contest exploits — to reach that level.

    Perhaps if the Magic change their offensive style or move some other players on the roster, they can create an environment that will make the most of Gordon’s skills. There are still those brief glimpses of what Gordon might look like in that role or how Gordon can find his offense.

    In his last 11 games, Gordon is averaging 16.9 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. It is not a perfect picture, but the offense has been better.

    More recently, Gordon has tried to put more focus on attacking the offensive glass and moving the ball. The offense has been better for it and things may be starting to click back into playoff mode for him. Especially now that he appears healthy for the first time all season.

    The Magic can only wait so long for Aaron Gordon to reach that level before they move on with the next part of their plan — there are still legitimate questions about how he pairs with Jonathan Isaac.

    But it is still pretty clear that the next All-Star for the Magic is as likely to be Gordon as anyone else. The talent is all there, it is just about him and the team putting all the pieces together.

    Next. Markelle Fultz showing glimpse of Orlando Magic's future. dark

    Maybe next year, we will see him in Indianapolis on Sunday instead of Saturday.