Orlando Magic Question: What happens if they draft Victor Wembanyama?

LEVALLOIS-PERRET, FRANCE - MARCH 28: Victor Wembanyama #1 of Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 thanks the fans after the match between Boulogne-Levallois and Le Mans at Palais des Sports Marcel Cerdan on March 28, 2023 in Levallois-Perret, France. (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)
LEVALLOIS-PERRET, FRANCE - MARCH 28: Victor Wembanyama #1 of Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 thanks the fans after the match between Boulogne-Levallois and Le Mans at Palais des Sports Marcel Cerdan on March 28, 2023 in Levallois-Perret, France. (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic’s Play-In pursuit is now officially over. And the organization appears to be letting their starters begin their offseason early by sitting them for the last few games.

There is a method to this approach, even if some fans were unhappy not to be able to see Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner and Markelle Fultz in their final home game on Thursday.

The franchise still needs to lose games to assure themselves of a high lottery pick, with the objective complete in losing that last home game to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It looks like, despite some maneuvering on the injury report Friday afternoon, there will be another skeleton crew on the floor in Brooklyn.

Unlikely as it is, the Orlando Magic still have an outside chance at selecting first overall for the second year in a row in this year’s NBA Draft — if they remain tied for sixth in the Lottery standings with the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers, they would have a 7.5-percent chance of hitting the jackpot again.

There is no mystery what anyone will do if they get the No. 1 pick. Even with the big-heavy roster the Magic already have.

The prize if this scenario were to unfold is taking generational talent Victor Wembanyama, so let’s try and play out what would happen if the stars aligned.

Once the parade was finished taking place and the front office had picked their collective jaws off the floor, would the real fun begin?

Right away the Magic would be dreaming not only of making the playoffs next year but of trying to snag a top-four seed.

Victor Wembanyama looks like he is going to be that good, but equally as important the organization now has a young core and a head coach in position that are already starting to bear fruit.

More. Nobody wants Orlando Magic's season to end. light

Then the hard questions would begin. You do whatever it takes to accommodate Wembanyama into your roster. But if there is one area he is going to struggle, it is defensively.

The remedy for this is surrounding him with guards like Markelle Fultz and Jalen Suggs who will hound opponents outside, while Franz Wagner is an underrated forward defensively already.

It would also potentially give a player with a high defensive upside, such as Chuma Okeke, a lifeline with the organization.

Unfortunately though, the first casualty of unexpectedly landing Wembanyama would surely be center Wendell Carter.

He is currently their anchor, but would he want to accept a role off the bench? Would he even work as a sixth-man type? Could the organization still get the most out of the roster lining a humongous lineup with Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero on the wings with Victor Wembanyama and Wendell Carter on the interior? Is that tactically sound? Would the organization have the money to make that scenario possible?

So many questions to answer, and while having Wembanyama outweighs all of them, it would still represent an unwelcome problem for a young roster to overcome.

If Carter’s future would be thrown into uncertainty, then Banchero would surely be ruffled.

He is of course not going anywhere, but he currently looks the part of a franchise cornerstone, and the Magic are already trying to figure out ways to always highlight his strengths.

The Rookie of the Year for the entire season, Banchero has spent a small amount of time as the center in smaller lineups. We are going to see more of this in the coming years.

But if you introduce Wembanyama to the mix, it becomes more difficult to play to both of their strengths more often than not.

This is a good problem to have. But it would require Banchero to become a better defender. It would also require Wembanyama to be comfortable setting screens and moving without the ball.

These are two players who would rightly think everything should flow through them, and there would be growing pains as a result.

Head coach Jamahl Mosley is certainly an individual who wants to emphasize defending at a high level always, and Wembanyama would not be capable of doing this.

On the other hand, the Magic also need an isolation player in order to take their game to the next level. And Wembanyama looks like he could be that plus a whole lot more.

In this scenario, the importance of Wagner and Fultz would also be magnified. Wagner is comfortable already playing second fiddle to Banchero, and his growth would not suffer.

Fultz would also be the ideal partner for a two-man game with Wembanyama. Fultz’s IQ and Wembanyama’s limitless ability would combine to make them a deadly duo.

It then gets murky again for other players, as the introduction not only of Wembanyama, plus another lottery pick from the Chicago Bulls, would make the futures of Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony unclear.

Suggs looks to have the higher ceiling right now, while Anthony has the backing of the entire fanbase.

Deciding which of the two should start next to Wembanyama and Banchero would be a headache for Mosley that would take some time to resolve.

Next. 3 Magic players who earned untouchable status, 2 who didn't. dark

We are not saying all of this to put a negative spin on the Magic defying the odds to draft Wembanyama. It would be a historic occasion for the franchise, one of the best in their history. You figure out how to make talent work together. That is never a bad thing.

But it would not be easy sailing either, and the great foundations that have been put down over the last two seasons would have to be modified to include the Frenchman.

Given where this organization has been in the last decade, however, it would be the most welcome problem that the Magic could have ever hoped to have had.