Orlando Magic 2023 Offseason: Re-evaluating the depth chart post-Draft

Nov 9, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs (4) drives to the basket against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 9, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs (4) drives to the basket against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The moment the Orlando Magic selected Anthony Black with the sixth pick, the questions began.

Really, they began before the Magic even made that sixth overall selection and people began to believe the team would take Black with that pick. The rumors already started flying that if the Magic went with a guard with the sixth pick that they might begin shopping Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz or Jalen Suggs.

Rumors surrounding Suggs are already getting some serious legs with a reporter from his hometown of Minneapolis suggesting the Los Angeles Lakers are sniffing around for him — what they have to offer is another question and that answer is very little.

But that little bit of smoke is still present nonetheless.

President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman seemed to swat those ideas down quickly, suggesting Anthony Black could play some small forward in three-guard lineups. He is not concerned about a guard logjam.

But it did not help that Orlando also drafted Jett Howard, another wing player. That logjam exists nonetheless.

The Orlando Magic’s draft has raised a lot of questions about the team’s guard situation. The depth chart reveals a bit of a logjam for sure. It also shows the road map to the rest of the offseason.

The Magic enter free agency now with a depth chart that is getting very crowded. They have nine players under contract with seven more on non-guaranteed deals. It is safe to assume the Magic will retain potentially four of those players.

With 13 players accounted for and a few more needs to fill before they can start the season — not to mention the cap room and roster deadlines coming this week before free agency gets going — there is still a lot of work to do on this roster.

The draft though has changed our outlook on the Magic’s depth chart. And before we dive too deep into free agency, we have to reset where the Magic stand and where the opportunities for change are and what needs the Magic actually have to fill.

Whether the Magic want to talk about it or not, they are a bit loaded at the guard and wing positions. And finding that mythical pathway to play for their rookies will be a bit of a challenge.

Additionally, they are clearly banking a bit too much on Jonathan Isaac’s health at the forward spot and they are still in need of center health. A rebalancing of the roster in trade or free agency seems imminent now.

So here is the Magic’s current depth chart as they enter free agency:

Markelle FultzGary HarrisFranz WagnerPaolo BancheroWendell Carter
Cole AnthonyJalen SuggsJett HowardJonathan IsaacMoe Wagner
Michael Carter-WilliamsAnthony BlackCaleb HoustanBol BolGoga Bitadze
Kevon HarrisAdmiral SchofieldChuma Okeke


It is already pretty clear how crowded things are for the Magic. This was inevitable with all the young players the Magic have.

There will very clearly be some competition for minutes from the get-go as Black tries to break through among the guards. Even if he plays some small forward and pushes Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero to split more of the power forward minutes evenly, that leaves little time for Jett Howard.

That scenario is somewhat unlikely though.

Banchero and Wagner played the majority of their minutes together last year — 61.1 percent of Wagner’s minutes and 65.6 percent of Banchero’s minutes. There is no reason to think that would not change.

Finding the rookies that playing time is going to be difficult. That was always going to be one of the big questions the Magic’s two draft picks focused on the wings would bring.

Of course, there is the potential for some release before free agency begins.

Gary Harris’ final year of his contract is non-guaranteed with a guarantee date on June 30. It was long assumed that if the Magic released the final year at $13 million, it would mean the Magic are hunting for big fish in free agency.

From an asset management standpoint, this seemingly would not make sense with few big men available and a guard room that is already too full. The veteran guard would be much more valuable as a trade asset than releasing him into the wilds of free agency.

There is very little indication the Magic are interested in letting him go with a likely competition brewing for that starting shooting guard spot between him and Suggs, who had a strong finish to the season but has had several injury issues throughout his young career.

Certainly, the depth chart looks a lot cleaner and opens clearer pathways for the young players to play if the Magic trade one of their guards. That has recently been a rumor the Magic could look to trade one of their young guards — Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony or Jalen Suggs — to relieve some of this playing pressure.

Of course, there is the other side of this coin too.

The Magic have dealt with so many injuries during the last three seasons, they could see this depth as a benefit. As Weltman put it, they want to create some internal competition for playing time. The rookies he just drafted are not guaranteed playing time. And having now four players to run the point would make the scenario that led to a 5-20 start far less likely.

Although it certainly feels like the Magic could be looking to consolidate some players in a trade within the next year. They could stick with what they have and see how it all shakes out and who steps up or backs off.

Black and Howard’s presence certainly muddies extension talks for Anthony and Fultz this summer.

The question about their futures certainly has come to a head with the Magic perhaps only able to keep one and still have a roster that can function.

At least now, Orlando has an area where the team is obviously open for business if a trade opportunity comes around.

Of note too then on a brief look at the depth chart is that Orlando stands at 13 players on the roster.

In free agency, the Magic are almost certainly going to focus on power forward and center. The team has already been rumored to be among the many teams interested in Grant Williams. He would give the Magic a solid stretch-4 option and a tenacious defender.

Options at center include Naz Reid, Drew Eubanks, Trey Lyles and Chimezie Metu. The list gets pretty slim pretty quickly.

There is still clearly work to do to complete this roster.

Orlando has the resources to get things done — an estimated $23-$25 million in cap room depending on some of these roster decisions. They can use that cap space to go out and sign a player or use it to absorb more salary in a trade.

It should be assumed the Magic are not done, even if they make some more cosmetic moves to finish their offseason.

But a lot of the possibilities lie in what the Magic ultimately want to do with their guard situation.

If they feel comfortable with their guard situation and allowing all those players to compete, they may just make surface moves in adding forward depth and a center to their roster.

If they feel like they need to create a clearer path for their rookies to play, they may trade one of their guards to bolster some other area on their roster.

Either choice feels possible at this point.

Next. Orlando Magic welcome Anthony Black, Jett Howard to family. dark

Orlando has muddied up that guard position. Everyone saw that when the Magic made their selections in last year’s draft. But the team now has a road map to complete its offseason.