5 decisions the Orlando Magic face entering the 2024 season
Who starts at shooting guard?
Perhaps the most pressing question for the Orlando Magic entering this offseason is how do they round out their starting lineup. Everyone acknowledges that four spots are locked in — Markelle Fultz, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter.
What do the Magic do at shooting guard?
The simple answer is Gary Harris. He has earned his spot and there are not a lot of great reasons to upset the apple cart and move away from the consistency the Magic had with their starting lineup from December until the end of the season.
The starting lineup with Harris at guard posted a net rating of +1.4 points per 100 possessions with a 113.0/111.6 offensive/defensive rating split in a team-high 570 minutes. Considering the Magic’s record, that was ultimately a positive for the team.
Harris spreads the floor as a shooter, something the Magic need desperately.
But there is intrigue here. Suggs showed significant improvement once he put the injuries behind him including shooting 36.0 percent from three after the All-Star Break.
His real impact obviously came on defense. And the numbers plainly show this. The team had a 111.0 defensive rating with Suggs on the floor, compared to 113.7 for the season. After Dec. 7 (when the Magic’s season actually started), the Magic had a 108.9 defensive rating with Suggs on the floor compared to 113.0 overall for the team.
Put Suggs in the starting lineup and the results at least on paper are astounding.
Orlando had a +11.3 net rating with a 113.7/102.4 offensive/defensive split in 58 minutes across 15 games.
It is a small sample size, but the defense is astounding and the Magic did not appear to lose much defensively.
There is just a current the Magic need to play their young former first-round pick. And Suggs certainly has a pathway and the ability to go into the starting lineup and make an impact.
There is at least an open competition or an openness to debate about the position. Harris should be in there in pencil, right now he is more reliable and more proven for a young team. But if Suggs has improved his shot, his overall talent and potential will be too much to pass up.