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 /
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Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic
Terrence Ross has made a lot of memories for the Orlando Magic but his time with the team appears set to end this offseason. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

1 Question for each Orlando Magic player

The Veterans

The Orlando Magic have only two players older than 25 years old right now. If there is a weakness in the team, it is its youth. That could be the biggest thing that could hold the team back at the end of the day.

The Magic’s veteran players will have a key role for the team though. They will provide stability and some composure to a young team that is short on experience and is developing our leaders.

These guys will have key roles to play on a young team.

Terrence Ross — Can T-Ross re-light the Torch?

Terrence Ross entered this season with the weight of a light trade request hanging over him.

The credit to him is that he was still committed to the team and the rebuild. He just has other individual goals he wants to accomplish right now at his age. But Ross always said he believes in this team’s future and the culture the team is building. Nobody has embraced being in Orlando more than Ross.

The reason Ross is probably still in Orlando though was the team did not get the value back it wanted. Ross just had a very bad season last year for the Magic.

That may change by the time the trade deadline comes around once again. But Orlando held onto Ross. And so Ross has to push through those struggles from last year.

Ross had his worst shooting percentages since his rookie year, averaging 10.0 points per game and shooting 39.7 percent from the floor and 29.2 percent from beyond the arc. Playing with the Magic’s depleted and very young bench hurt Ross a ton and teams put extra focus on top blocking and preventing Ross from getting to his shots.

To Ross’ credit, he said at Media Day that he spent a good chunk of his offseason shooting difficult shots. He was actively practicing the kind of contests he faced last year so he could be more efficient. He understands his role is to hit these bailout shots.

Orlando needs Ross to regain that spark that turned games regularly in the 2019 playoff run. And if Ross indeed wants to find himself on a contender by the end of the season, he needs to reignite that spark too.

Gary Harris — Can Harris claim a starting spot?

The question when Gary Harris arrived in Orlando was simply could he be healthy again? This was the question that has followed Harris since his breakout 2018 season with the Denver Nuggets. The Orlando Magic just needed to see Harris healthy and out on the court.

He had a fantastic season last year, averaging 11.1 points per game and shooting 38.4 percent from beyond the arc. That was the exact contribution the Magic needed from a veteran like Harris.

It felt like, with Jalen Suggs’ struggles, Gary Harris was in line to start to give the Magic some stability and shooting in their starting lineup. Then Harris tore his meniscus and that opportunity was taken from him once again.

The Magic are rightfully focused on their youth and developing young players. That will always give Suggs a leg up — especially if he improves as a shooter and a decisionmaker. But Harris’ solid defense and shooting are known commodities when he is healthy. That has value.

And depending on where the Magic are at, Harris might still be important enough to start.

The first goal, as always, is to get Harris healthy. He seems to be further along than many expect. But the Magic are not about to rush him back. They need starter-level play from him and they cannot afford for Harris to miss time because of a poor recovery.

Moe Wagner — How many fights will Moe Wagner pick?

Is it fair to reduce Moe Wagner’s role to needler and instigator on this team? Absolutely not.

Wagner had a season last year that flipped plenty of opinions about him (especially yours truly). He was a very good backup big, able to hit some shots from beyond the arc just as capably as he was on the inside. Wagner has limited skills but is very good at what he is good at.

Of course, the highlights of his season were the times he got in it with star players. Luka Doncic became the latest to get annoyed by Moe Wagner’s presence. There were plenty of others.

Wagner is good at using his time to get under people’s skins. He gives the team a bit of an edge — in a similar but still different way that Michael Carter-Williams used to.

Every team needs a guy that can do this. They need someone who is going to pick a fight and change the energy for a team. Someone who is going to make sure their team is not getting punked.

Wagner could very well have a key goal in training camp too. The team needs an edge and to test how far its young players can go and how they will handle players trying to needle him.

I almost want Jamahl Mosley to let Moe Wagner hack away at Paolo Banchero without blowing the whistle just to test his limits and challenge him physically. That is sort of Wagner’s role on this team. To be a presence physically and needle opponents to change tempo.

So how under the skin can he get during the course of the year? Orlando hopes it will not have to use it. But it is something the team has in reserve.