5 players to watch at Orlando Magic’s Summer League

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R.J. Hampton, Orlando Magic
R.J. Hampton is nearing his return from a sprained knee ligament as the Orlando Magic prepare to close their season. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic are getting ready to tip-off their Summer League tonight against the Houston Rockets. They will see a parade of the top picks on their schedule and there will be a lot of attention on the team.

For the first time in a long time, the NBA world is carefully watching everything the Magic do — they are still trying to figure out how the Magic kept everything so buttoned-up come draft time.

That is what having the top pick in the draft will do.

NBA Summer League appears to be back in full force — including all the overreactions and worrying that comes with the showcase summer exhibition event — and it appears its debut game in Las Vegas is getting a lot of attention.

The matchup between top overall pick Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic going up against the presumptive No. 1 pick (and actually No. 3 pick) Jabari Smith and the Houston Rockets at the Thomas & Mack Center on Thursday night to kick off the event has everyone’s eyes on it. It is sounding like it will have a healthy number of fans in addition to the NBA league personnel that populate these games and events.

Everyone is excited, to say the least.

The Orlando Magic are set to begin Summer League and find out what they really have in players like Paolo Banchero and more.

Especially for rebuilding teams, Summer League is a chance to evaluate young talent and make roster decisions. It is a chance to see growth and test out rookies.

That is what the Magic will be getting. While neither Jalen Suggs nor Franz Wagner will play in this Summer League, the Magic will still learn a lot about their roster players.

They will get their first look at Banchero and what he looks like within their system and within their ecosystem. They will get an extended look at Devin Cannady as he continues to establish himself after his recovery from injury.  They will see Admiral Schofield once again and even third-year guard R.J. Hampton trying to get some extra reps.

It is also a chance to try to find some undiscovered gems and fill out their G-League roster.

The Magic’s roster is currently full — the team has 15 players currently (or reportedly) signed to contracts and a two-way qualifying offer out. Orlando does not have many opportunities to spend on its main roster heading into Summer League. Perhaps players sensed that, weakening the team’s roster a bit.

But the Lakeland Magic are also looking to rebuild their roster after their worst season in four years (at least, by record, the team had plenty of players contribute something to the parent club).

There is a lot to learn.

While Summer League is not the NBA, it still leaves an impression. And there are still things to watch and examine as Summer League tips off. The Magic signed their players for a reason and they want to see what they can get out of all of them.

As Summer League gets ready to get going, there are plenty of things to watch.