5 Orlando Magic training camp battles to watch

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Chuma Okeke, Orlando Magic
Chuma Okeke was an inconsistent shooter for the Orlando Magic but carved a role defensively. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Orlando Magic training camp battles to watch

Which forward will break through?

The Orlando Magic’s starting forwards are pretty well set.

Franz Wagner is having a star-making turn for Germany in EuroBasket and has looked improved across the board. And top overall pick Paolo Banchero is expected to step in and play a pretty big role from the start.

The Magic are locked at forward.

The depth behind them is where the questions arise. And it is the case throughout the roster too. Orlando has a lot of young, talented players who likely need to play and can make an impact in the NBA. But the team does not have that many minutes to pass around.

This is the central question about the Magic’s rotation: How do the Magic spread out the minutes throughout their roster? How do they make sure everyone gets their time?

This is a big question especially at power forward where the Magic are going to have to break from doing what is best for winning to play Jonathan Isaac.

At this point, it is not 100 percent certain Isaac will be ready for training camp. It is an assumption he will be. But everyone made that assumption last fall too before the Magic started camp. Isaac obviously never played.

President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman has promised that Orlando is not going to rush Isaac back. Even further, he has repeatedly said the Magic and their training staff are cognizant that he has not played NBA basketball in two full years.

Still, the Magic need to make sure he gets his time and his run on the court to complete his rehab. Isaac may come off the bench and may play initially with a minute restriction, but he is going to play.

Gary Harris’ injury has opened a pathway to alleviate some of this immediate minute crunch (more on the guards in a second). But at full health, the Magic are locked in at every position — Jalen Suggs or Gary Harris at backup shooting guard, Terrence Ross as the backup 3 and Jonathan Isaac at 4.

Isaac probably will not play back-to-backs, so depth will be key. And Orlando has options in Chuma Okeke and even Bol Bol.

Both have their own inconsistencies and hurdles to overcome. But both feel like players who need time on the floor. Both players are young enough that they should have room to improve and grow. Both have shown they can be contributors to winning teams.

It is hard to see the Magic being able to play both when this roster is fully healthy. Someone is going to have to play very well to breakthrough and change the Magic’s planned rotation and preconceived notions.

They are both very capable of doing so too.

Okeke can be a great 3-point shooter, something the Magic are desperate to have on the roster. Bol can do that too and the potential of him as a playmaking 7-footer is hard to pass over. His problem throughout his career has been health and mobility. The Magic re-signed him, it feels like he has to play.

Moe Wagner is also dancing around there as a potential power forward for bigger lineups too.

But you can already see there are a lot of options the Magic have to sort through.