5 Biggest Questions for the Orlando Magic Heading this Offseason

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R.J. Hampton, Orlando Magic
R.J. Hampton has shown plenty of promise in his first run with the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

What is the ideal guard rotation going to look like next year?

For the time being, Markelle Fultz is the undisputed starting point guard for the Orlando Magic. The former first overall pick signed a 3-year, $50-million contract extension with Orlando that begins next year.

Unfortunately, he tore his ACL only eight games into this season. Fultz is essentially starting from scratch as he returns from this major injury and he may not be ready for the start of training camp. He averaged 12.9 points, 5.4 assists, and 2.4 rebounds before his injury.

It will be interesting to see how patient the Orlando coaching staff will be with the 22-year-old  before there is growing pressure from the fans to play R.J. Hampton and Cole Anthony. Especially considering it feels likely the Magic add another guard in the NBA Draft with one of their two likely picks.

Like Mohamed Bamba, R.J. Hampton was given a real chance to prove himself at the end of the season.  In the last 13 games, he averaged 13.2 points, 4.1 assists, and 5.8 rebounds.

In 34 starts, Anthony averaged 14.1 points, 4.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds. And he really began to step up his play as he got more comfortable and confident on an NBA floor. Especially after returning from his rib injury.

Hampton and Anthony actually form an interesting combination. Those two had a 114.1 offensive rating together which was the highest tandem for the team during the entire year among duos that played at least 20 games together. That includes all of the original members of the team to start the season.

The Orlando Magic had a team offensive rating of 104.6 which was 29th in the league this season.

The team struggled with that duo on the floor together, but it was clearly a lineup combination coach Steve Clifford wanted to experiment more with. Injuries likely prevented him from doing so.

But in his past, Clifford has been more than willing to play ball handlers together — think of the times Markelle Fultz paired with D.J. Augustin or Michael Carter-Williams. Before Fultz’s injury, Clifford said he wanted to get to the point where he could play Anthony and Fultz together.

It is very likely the Magic will feature a lot of two-point-guard lineups next season with all the ball-handlers the team features.

What role the Magic expect from Gary Harris is also a mystery at this point.  He had the second-worst field goal percentage of his career at 36.5-percent in his short stint with the team. His days as a starter may come to end but Clifford will need him to produce coming off of the bench in the future.

Fultz, Hampton and Anthony are all just beginning their careers. The quicker the coaching staff for Orlando can hone in on where they fit within the organization, the better the franchise will be for it.