5 questions for the Orlando Magic’s third quarter of the season
Will Jalen Suggs take his next step?
At the midpoint of the season, everyone’s perceptions of the Orlando Magic’s two rookies have seemingly flipped.
On Draft night, everyone was celebrating the addition of Jalen Suggs with the fifth overall pick. He was going to become the team’s future star and might very well be the most talented guard the team has drafted since Anfernee Hardaway.
Meanwhile, Franz Wagner was meant to be the solid role player who filled gaps and just fit in. That is not who he became. Wagner has seemingly continued to expand his game at every turn. He not only fits in with the team wherever he is needed. He stands out.
Suggs though has struggled to find his fit.
The Magic gave him a lot of responsibility early on and Suggs struggled with the speed of the game. Defenses were certainly keying in on him and the young guard was overeager to please at times. Suggs was searching for that breakthrough when he fractured a bone in his thumb, leaving him out for the majority of the second quarter of the season.
Suggs is averaging 12.4 points per game and shooting an icy 36.3-percent from the floor. He is adding 3.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. Suggs needed a chance to reset himself and learn a bit.
The rookie guard was not quite the star the Magic were hoping for at that point. But he has said his injury and the chance to take a break have helped him immeasurably.
It is indeed a very small sample of four games, but he is averaging 13.0 points per game, 4.3 assists per game and 6.0 rebounds per game. His shooting has improved to 51.2-percent overall.
Suggs has shown tremendous patience attacking the basket and a lot more poise when put under pressure finishing at the rim. Suggs is already a pretty solid defender and skilled enough to draw fouls on his drives.
All that promise and potential are still there. It would be hard for so many draft evaluators to miss on his offensive potential. The trick now is bringing that out.
Suggs had a 20-game pause in his development and growth. He will need some time to get ramped up again. But he was starting to put together some impressive games right before his injury. And the Magic have seen some impressive games from Wagner.
Suggs will need his breakthrough too. The Magic want to see consistency. But Orlando will begin figuring out where Jalen Suggs fits into the bigger picture — especially with Markelle Fultz coming back into the fold.
Suggs has to continue growing and continue developing in the next 20 games. That star needs to shine, if it is there to shine at all.