5 Orlando Magic training camp battles to watch

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Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
Cole Anthony continued to put up stellar numbers as the Orlando Magic fell short again. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

Orlando Magic training camp battles to watch

Is point guard really settled?

It is widely assumed at this point that Markelle Fultz is going to be the starting point guard for the Orlando Magic.

Fultz had a strong finish to the season after returning from a torn ACL, leaving a good impression for how the season ended. His 10.8 points per game and 5.5 assists per game in 20.0 minutes per game of limited action were encouraging. More importantly, he just left a good feeling for the impact he could make.

It has since become assumed that Fultz would ascend back to being the starter as he was when he originally got hurt in January 2021.

That may well be the case. Everyone knows where Fultz has his successes and why he makes sense as a playmaker and a point guard.

But it feels unfair to the incumbent in Cole Anthony. He has seemingly been pushed to the side through really no fault of his own.

Anthony had a career season in his sophomore year, averaging 16.3 points per game and 5.7 assists per game. He still shot only 39.1 percent from the floor as he struggled with his efficiency as the Magic’s lead option.

But everyone saw how he could affect a game with how he won games for the team during the first quarter of the season. That might not have lasted, but it is still in there.

Anthony is still incredibly young too — 22 years old! He made some strong leaps in his second year, especially as a playmaker and even as a defender a bit. There is no reason to think he will not continue to improve his jumper, his decision-making and everything else.

Why wouldn’t Anthony test and push Fultz for the starting point guard? Anthony has been the starter essentially since Fultz’s injury. That is nearly two full seasons as a starter.

Anthony still likely slots in as the team’s backup point guard. But he has earned a good, long look for the spot. Especially since he has never played the sixth man role before.

Fultz is probably still the answer. But the Magic need to see Anthony on the floor first before they make that final assessment.