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

Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic enter the final quarter of the season with a lot to play for and a lot of growth still to make. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic enter the final quarter of the season with a lot to play for and a lot of growth still to make. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks
Cole Anthony is playing for a contract as he and the Orlando Magic will have a choice to make this offseason. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

5 questions for the Orlando Magic’s fourth quarter

Do the Orlando Magic’s point guards cement their roles?

The Orlando Magic will face a lot of questions this offseason. The team has built a solid foundation but clearly needs to continue upgrading and trying to get better. The question will be just how the Magic will do that and what they are willing to sacrifice.

They are also going to have to start figuring out how much they are willing to spend on their current roster, whether that is the group to keep building and growing with and how much they are willing to spend on this team.

There is a lot to like about a lot of the Magic’s players individually and how they have grown and developed this season. But there is a clear need to make some upgrades and find players who complement each other’s skills more. The goal is not merely to collect talent anymore but to build a winning team.

That has put the Magic’s point guards in the spotlight and should keep them in the spotlight as the season concludes. Orlando has a lot to decide when it comes to both Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony.

Fultz is entering the final year of his contract and is extension eligible if the Magic want to keep him longer. Anthony is also extension eligible coming off his rookie contract. And how much the Magic are willing to pay him and how much Anthony is seeking should make for some interesting negotiations.

Both of these players have done some great things individually.

Fultz is averaging a career-high 13.4 points per game and 5.5 assists per game this season. In the third quarter of the season, he averaged 14.6 points per game and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the floor.

Fultz has a great feel for the game and seems to have the best ability to control the team’s pace when the Magic turn him loose.

Anthony has fully embraced his bench role in the third quarter of the season. He averaged 11.3 points per game in the third quarter of the season. But did it on solid efficiency — 46.0/39.1/87.0 splits.

Anthony has had some big games off the bench too. And his ability to score makes him the perfect sixth man for the team moving forward, especially with the playmaking some of their bigs have.

Both players have done well to define and play their roles for the team. But part of the evaluation for this Magic team is figuring out if either of these players and the roles they play ultimately contribute to winning. And for both this offseason maybe about how much the Magic are willing to pay for those roles too.

Their play to end the season could well determine their futures with the team in the long run.