Orlando Magic’s power forwards need to help out Paolo Banchero

Jonathan Isaac was a disruptive defensive force before injuries forced him to miss the last two seasons. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Isaac was a disruptive defensive force before injuries forced him to miss the last two seasons. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

It is quite obvious Paolo Banchero is going to come in and be a star for the Orlando Magic but every rookie has their learning curves and makes mistakes.

Even Orlando Magic Legend Dwight Howard averaged 12.0 points per game his rookie year and NBA legend Kobe Bryant averaged 7.6 points per game his rookie year. Banchero may become a star, but he may not be a consistent superstar his rookie year.

Rookies are rookies in the end.

But what the Magic can do for Banchero that Bryant and Howard maybe did not have as much of is help from their position group. The Magic will likely give Banchero plenty of playing time his rookie year, but they do not need to rely on him with plenty of solid options to fill the position.

Paolo Banchero is expected to slot in as the Orlando Magic’s starting power forward. But the Magic’s top pick and rookie will not be alone in mannning the spot as he learns the league and goes through his first run through the league.

The next best center on the Magic in 2004 after Howard averaged 4.9 points per game. The next best small forward which is what Bryant was listed at in 1996 was traded after eight games.

What Banchero has is the best of both worlds being able to be taught in practice and learn in the game when Banchero is struggling. He has Johnathan Isaac, who is an elite perimeter defender and rim protector when he is healthy. Not to mention Franz Wagner can play both forward positions. Not to mention the Magic have Wendell Carter capable of playing alongside Mo Bamba.

Jonathan Isaac’s support

Jonathan Isaac is a guy who can guard all five positions and is a very versatile defender.

In his career, he averages 1.1 steals per game and 1.5 blocks per game. In his last season before his injury, he was averaging more than two blocks per game. He has a career average of a 105 defensive rating and even had a 102 defensive rating his last season that he played in.

In that same season, he had a game against the Milwaukee Bucks where he had seven steals and a game against the Dallas Mavericks with six Blocks. In 2019, he was top 20 in blocks, blocks per game and block percentage.

There is so much on that side of the ball he can teach Banchero. Once Isaac is back on the floor, he will give the Magic a huge boost defensively.

It is just getting him back on the floor.

Coming into the league based on college and the few summer league games the Orlando Magic let Paolo Banchero play, you have seen his offensive upside.

He can shoot and score from all three levels. He has an underrated playmaking ability and he can even rebound extremely well. The only question in his game has been his defense and that is exactly where Isaac can come in and help.

If Isaac can give Banchero tips and help on how to play defense at the power forward position where Isaac has primarily played his career, and where Banchero will most likely play alongside Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter. Then Banchero can have a complete game and be a well-rounded superstar.

Isaac has also had to guard some of the league’s premiere players. If he can help Banchero by showing him tendencies and players’ go-to moves, then he will be more prepared and ready to face some of the league’s brightest stars.

For Isaac, the challenge this season will be about getting back up to speed after missing the last two seasons. Orlando is likely to limit his minutes early on and he is going to be brough along slowly.

It is very likely the Magic will stagger Isaac and Banchero’s minutes, and have Isaac in more defensive situations and Banchero in more offensive situations in addition to limiting Isaac’s minutes.

Isaac has a lot of unknowns. But even before his injury, his offense was a bit inconsistent. He can be a good 3-point shooter. But nobody knows what to expect from him this season.

The offense from Chuma Okeke

That is where Chuma Okeke can contribute. Chuma Okeke plays both sides of the ball very well but he can help bring Paolo Banchero’s offense to a whole new level.

Okeke specializes in the few areas where Banchero struggles. Okeke is very effective off the ball and scores a majority of his points when he is moving off the ball. Banchero is great at creating his own shot and he has elite ball handling skills for someone his size but he does not move too much without the ball.

Okeke who is an elite cutter and off ball player can show him how to be even more effective on the offensive side.

Next is three-point shooting, specifically catch and shoot shooting and consistency. Banchero shot 33.8-percent from three in college. That is decent, but the three-point line in the NBA is further back and he was very inconstant in college from three.

He could have a game where he hits three threes and then the next make none.

Okeke was a very consistent three-point shooter in college and it has translated greatly to the NBA. If he can help Banchero become more consistent from three then Banchero can really be an effective stretch four which would be very useful for a struggling shooting Magic team.

Aside from consistency, he is tremendous off the catch and shoot. Most of Okeke’s three-point makes off of the catch and shoot.

Once again Banchero is very great at creating his own shot but did not take to many catch-and-shoot threes. This will help Banchero gel more with the offense and fit in to the Magic’s system better since they are a. team that likes to drive and kick and move the ball.

Lastly on offense, Okeke can help Banchero run the floor. Banchero is an amazing half-court offensive player but does not score in transition as a traditional superstar does.

If Okeke can show him how to be more effective in transition then Paolo will be unstoppable in every aspect of the game.

Okeke can not only help him on offense but can help him on defense.

Okeke is an amazing defensive playmaker and has a high defensive IQ and quick reactions. Okeke averaged 1.4 steals per game last season and averaged 0.6 blocks per game.

Banchero needs to be able to learn from Okeke’s high IQ so he can create offense from defense.

Banchero is going to be a star for years to come and he will get a lot of help from the coaches and training staff, but players learn the most from players who are seeing and living the same things they are.

The players out there on the court with him, especially the ones that play the same position and have the same jobs as him can help him the most. The help he can get not only from coaches but his teammates, specifically Isaac and Okeke, will help him transition into a generational talent smoother and faster.

Magic fans should not only be excited for the young and talented Banchero but for the help he will get from his fellow power forwards.

Jonathan Isaac’s defensive ability and highlight-level blocks will be extremely fun to watch, as well as Chuma Okeke’s brilliant shooting and exciting transition plays.

Next. Orlando Magic will get early test with schedule. dark

Whichever power forward is in the game will bring their own skill level and grit to the court, so no matter who is out there at the four for the Magic it should be must see basketball.