5 Players the Orlando Magic should develop, 4 they shouldn’t
Don’t Develop: Goga Bitadze
Goga Bitadze spent three and a half years with the Indiana Pacers before being waived in February and signing with the Orlando Magic.
The 6-foot-11 big man was the 18th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but he has struggled to get significant playing time. Goga Bitadze was behind Myles Turner in Indiana, and Orlando has Wendell Carter and Paolo Banchero in the frontcourt.
He will compete with Moe Wagner for the backup center minutes. That is where he got most of his opportunity late last season. But there is still a lot to go over and consider with him.
The 24-year-old averaged 5.8 points, 5.2 assists, and 0.9 blocks per game in 15.0 minutes per game in 17 contests after joining the Magic. His advanced metrics all stand out. But there are reasons why the Pacers moved on.
The 6-foot-11 big man is a traditional center who has never played more than 14.6 minutes per game in the NBA. His defense and rebounding were strong in a small sample size with the Magic, but he was unable to produce those numbers in Indiana.
Orlando picked up his $2.0 million option for next season, but Bitadze becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2024.
The Orlando Magic should not be focused on his development long term. They merely punted their center questions another year.
Let him start the season as the backup center, and if he continues to produce outstanding numbers, try to sign him long-term. The Magic cannot sacrifice the development of others to get him playing time.
Getting steady production out of the 24-year-old should be considered a bonus after picking him up off waivers.