Orlando Magic’s 2022 Offseason Needs
The biggest need for the Orlando Magic still remains the most important piece of the puzzle for any team trying to rebuild. They need a true centerpiece player and a primary scorer.
Watch the NBA Playoffs and the teams that advance and win critical do-or-die games are the ones that have a player who can shoulder the load and get tough shots against defenses loaded up against them.
If the goal is to make the Finals one day, the Magic need one of those.
Even on a smaller scale, Orlando made the playoffs because Nikola Vucevic emerged as an All-Star-caliber scorer. He is the lone 20-point-per-game scorer for the Magic since Dwight Howard left. There is clearly a big hole to fill there still.
As good as Cole Anthony was last year — a team-high 16.3 points per game — his inefficiency leaves a lot of question.
Anthony’s strong first quarter of the season — 19.6 points per game and 41.6-percent shooting through his first 16 games — is at least some hint that this primary scorer might already be on the roster.
Wendell Carter had a strong finish to the season — 17.8 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game in the final half o the season — and showed plenty of ability to stretch the floor. Fans were demanding Franz Wagner get more touches, even though he finished second on the team in field goal attempts per game despite his fairly pedestrian usage rate.
Markelle Fultz was a driving force for the team throughout the final quarter of the season.
There are potential scoring bursts from those players. But the team needs to find that starring player.
The first pick in the NBA Draft is obviously the easiest place to go first. That is where a lot of people envision getting their star player.
All three of Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero have the potential to be that starring player. There is a reason they are all at the top of the draft class. They all score in different ways and create different things for their team, but they all could easily be the best player on the team.
For now, Banchero is probably the best player as a primary scorer. That is what he was and excelled at while playing at Duke in a way that none of the other prospects did.
That does not mean that neither Jabari Smith nor Chet Holmgren could get there either. They both have the talent and the ability to get there too.
But this is something the Magic need.
Of course, the draft is not the only path for Orlando to get that kind of primary scorer either. The team has enough cap room to make a play on a max contract.
They are betting long shots to chase the big free agents on the market. But at least someone is setting decent odds they could sign Zach LaVine.
Orlando has the money to throw around. But more likely than not, the Magic will rely on the draft to fill this vital need. The top pick is supposed to develop into a star player. The team will be leaning on that selection to do that.