1 question for every Orlando Magic player entering training camp

Cole Anthony is among the many Orlando Magic players who will see a role change and face questions as camp begins. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Cole Anthony is among the many Orlando Magic players who will see a role change and face questions as camp begins. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 7
Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 09: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic goes to high-five a teammate after a play against the Sacramento Kings during the 2022 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 09, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

1 Question for each Orlando Magic player

The Core Guys

The Orlando Magic are still largely figuring out their core players and the guys they actually want to build their team around. That is going to be one of the big pieces for discovery throughout this season.

Ask Magic fans though and you will find at least two guys are at the top of the list at the moment and probably a third most believe will be important. And that is where this roster will start and where the Magic will begin their examination for what to do and where to grow next.

Having the first overall pick helps with a lot of things. And that is undoubtedly one of the key storylines for the season.

Paolo Banchero — How ready is he for the NBA?

Entering the NBA Draft process, it was hard not to believe Paolo Banchero was the most NBA-ready of the top prospects. He had an NBA-ready body — the Orlando Magic are listing him at 6-foot-10, 255 pounds — and seemed to have all the skills.

The run up to the Draft probably had everyone overthinking the problem. Banchero was always the most NBA-ready player and the best individual scorer of the bunch. The Magic have not had someone who could just break down a defense and score a bunch in a long time.

What surprised them in Summer League was just how willing and smooth a passer he is. Coach Jamahl Mosley is already talking about how he wants to leverage that passing with Banchero in the high post and on different spots on the floor. Not to mention the Magic had Banchero running point in Las Vegas.

Orlando is eager to throw Banchero out there and explore every part of his game that the team can.

The question then for the rookie forward — the betting favorite to be Rookie of the Year — is just how ready is he for the league?

All the signs point to him being a very good player and holding his own. But the Magic want to see that hint of stardom and they want to see it early. Where Banchero finishes his season will go a long way to setting the tone for the Magic.

Franz Wagner — Can he expand his offensive role?

Throughout Franz Wagner‘s first-team All-Rookie season last year, everyone wanted to see more from him. Everyone loved the versatility he brought and his ability to fill in gaps in the offense. But to many, it always felt like he was not as involved.

Never mind, the stats said he took the second-most field goal attempts per game for the team last year. Perception beat reality.

Wagner’s run at EuroBasket got everyone irrationally excited for the gaudy numbers he put up — 15.2 points per game and 63.0-percent effective field goal percentage. But also led to the same complaints — he was not involved enough in pick and rolls or as a primary scorer.

The reality is we know Wagner enters this year at the very least better at the things he was already pretty good at last year. And that is exciting in itself because Wagner is better.

But everyone wants to know if Wagner can reach another level and whether he can be a better on-ball attacker and pick and roll threat, not merely a complementary player.

Orlando is in a good position to test out how much the team can expand his offensive role while still using him in ways that he was clearly comfortable in last year.

Either way, Wagner is due for a really strong second season.

Wendell Carter — What can’t Wendell Carter do?

Wendell Carter entered the league with the dreaded label of “jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.” That is the death knell for any prospect. A label that is meant both to justify how high they are being drafted but put them down as a player who cannot do everything that is necessary to star in the league.

That certainly proved to be the case for Carter in Chicago in all the wrong ways. The Chicago Bulls simply could not figure out the way to use him. And his confidence sunk without the direction or trust from the franchise.

In his season and a half with the Orlando Magic, they put a lot more trust in him. Carter took on the challenge and has started to succeed. To the point where the Magic are now feeling a bit overloaded and trying to figure out how best to use their newfound center.

The Magic can use Carter as a low post threat, a pick and roll threat, a potentially floor-spacing big, a fulcrum from the high post. Carter really can do a lot and the question he faces this year is how much he can increase his skill level and consistency in a whole bunch of different areas.

Carter might well be the team captain and leader for this team. When he speaks, he seems to command his team’s respect and attention. That is a powerful thing. And there is probably no one who is a consistent drum beat more than Carter for this team.

He had a strong year last year. Now he has to do it again and do it better.