3 Orlando Magic players who will surprise in 2023

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Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic
Mo Bamba had a breakout season as a starter that earned him a new contract with the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

3 Orlando Magic players who will surprise in 2023

1. Mo Bamba

After the Orlando Magic landed the number one overall pick and selected Paolo Banchero, whether Mo Bamba would re-sign, kind of took a backseat in the media.

And there was not a big decision the Magic had to make on Bamba because he did not receive a lucrative offer like some were predicting.

So when he re-signed with Orlando, it went under the radar for most.

But after a promising year, Bamba is actually in a great position to continue his improvement and put together a surprise season.

Going into last year, Bamba only logged 15.8 minutes per game in the 2021 season under head coach Steve Clifford. And with Jonathan Isaac missing all of that year due to injury, it was all the more disappointing that he could not find his way into more playing time.

The stock on Bamba was at an all-time low and many considered him to be a bust.

But last season under first-year coach Jamahl Mosley, Mo Bamba saw his minutes increase by 9.9 per game and his averages go up across the board.

He averaged career highs in points (10.6), rebounds (8.1), assists (1.2), steals (0.5) and blocks (1.7).

And even with the increase in volume, his shooting numbers went up. He shot 38.1-percent from three off of 4.0 attempts per game and shot 48-percent from the field off of a career high 8.7 attempts per game.

Bamba showed he was prepared for an increased role. And after re-signing in free agency for two years, $20.6 million, the organization has committed themselves to at least one more year of his development and likely two (the second year on his deal is non-guaranteed).

There is not much reason to think Bamba will not continue to receive opportunities even with Isaac coming back.

He may have to move to the bench as Paolo Banchero steps into the team. But the Magic have shown a willingness to be creative with their lineups. If Bamba plays well, he will earn his minutes and the team will find a way to play him.

Bamba was the main benefactor from the coaching change and has an entire year with Mosley that Isaac does not have.

On top of that, Robin Lopez left for the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency, giving Mo Bamba some extra wiggle room in the front court.

Markelle Fultz coming back will also provide a veteran option at the point guard position, and should allow Mo Bamba easier looks at the rim.

All these signs should lead to another career year for Bamba.

Which should not be much of a surprise. But with Isaac coming back and Banchero being injected into the lineup, people seem to have forgot about him.

But that will not be the case for long, next year could be the year he surprises a lot of people.