5 questions for the third quarter of the Orlando Magic’s 2023 season

Orlando Magic, Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Magic, Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /
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Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic
Franz Wagner has proven himself to be a skilled attacker for the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

5 questions for the third quarter of the Orlando Magic’s 2023 season

Can Paolo Banchero or Franz Wagner get some All-Star love?

The third quarter of the season will essentially end with the All-Stars gathering together in Salt Lake City for the annual league showcase.

The Orlando Magic are already pretty certain Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner will represent them in the Rising Stars Game (and whatever format the league choses to use for it after last year’s four-team experiment).

It is good to know that the Magic will be there.

This season has been spent creating hype for the Magic’s young forwards and their potential.

Banchero has essentially clinched the Rookie of the Year award already at this point by putting up rookie numbers no one has seen in a Magic uniform since Shaquille O’Neal and the league has not really seen since Blake Griffin.

Wagner has been so consistent and solid for this team that several draft experts and writers along with several NBA writers are willing to entertain the notion that Wagner is the best players right now from that celebrated and deep 2021 Draft class.

In either case, Banchero and Wagner with their size, ball-handling, skill and versatility have many NBA pundits believing the Magic are set up extremely well for their future. They are going to get the recognition Friday for that.

The question is whether either will get recognition for the Sunday showcase rather than just the Friday appetizer.

That time is probably not this year. Neither is likely to get the nod from the fan voting — Banchero is surprisingly eighth in the voting for the loaded Eastern Conference frontcourt. And it is asking a lot of coaches to honor a rookie and a second-year player on a team that is still 10 games under .500.

Fourth-Quarter Franz Wagner is everything the Orlando Magic need. light. Related Story

But both Wagner and Banchero are puting in All-Star capable seasons. And if this is just the beginning for both, it will not be long until the Magic have a consistent presence in the Sunday game for some time.

Banchero is leading the team in scoring with 21.1 points per game on decent efficiency for his experience and usage at a 48.2-percent effective field goal percentage. He makes up for a lot of it by averaging 7.8 free throw attempts (only recently dipping below 8.0 per game).

Wagner is coming on strong, averaging 20.3 points per game on 54.5-percent effective field goal percentage all while taking on an expanded ball-handling role and facing the best defenders on the opposing team.

These two have become a matchup problem throughout the league. And if these numbers hold up, they will be the first Magic duo to average 20.0 points per game in the same season since Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway in 1996. That is the company this group is about to keep — even in a league with elevated scoring numbers.

Next. First Half MVP: Paolo Banchero changed everything. dark

Orlando may not see these two players play the showcase game on Sunday this year. But it will not be long before the Magic are back in the All-Star Game. So enjoy this Rookie Game one more time because the Magic are starting to plant their flag throughout the league.