3 reasons the Orlando Magic are on the rise, 2 reasons to remain concerned
Concern: Lagging Offense
Paolo Banchero certainly seems like a player who can be the centerpiece of an offense. That is what a great scorer can do. And obviously, the Magic are still eager to find out just how good of a scorer Banchero can be.
But even with Paolo Banchero having a strong scoring season and the potential and efficiency Franz Wagner had in his second season, the Magic’s offense was still fairly flat.
Orlando ranked 26th in the league in offensive rating at 112.5 points per 100 possessions after Dec. 7 (when we take out the 5-20 start). The remaining Magic player with the highest on-court offensive rating for the entire season was Gary Harris at just 113.0 points per 100 possessions.
Taking out the 5-20 start, the best remaining player was Cole Anthony at 114.0 points per 100 possessions. That would rank 23rd in the league for that time. After the All-Star Break, Paolo Banchero led the team with a 114.3 offensive rating (but with a horrid 117.7 defensive rating when he was on the floor). That would rank 20th in the league.
Orlando has some interesting offensive weapons and had a lot of players seemingly play better toward the end of last season.
Jalen Suggs shot the ball a lot better — 36.0 percent from deep in 22 games after the All-Star Break. Markelle Fultz looked more confident and bursty after the All-Star Break. Banchero found his shot a bit more later in the season after dealing with a nerve issue in February — where he shot 1 for 32 from deep. Cole Anthony had a really strong shooting close to his season.
There are signs the team can play better offensively. The team added some shooting in Joe Ingles and Jett Howard in free agency. And working to reduce turnovers and mature a bit more on that end will help.
Orlando wants to play better basketball and reducing those mistakes to help give the defense a leg up and value offensive possessions will go a long way.
Still, this is a Magic team that has not had an offense outside the bottom 10 in offensive rating since Dwight Howard left a decade ago. And there are probably some adjustments to the roster that need to be made to get there.
For now, the Magic are going to bank on internal improvement. They are going to bank on a healthy and fully developed Fultz pushing the pace and playing smarter. And they are going to bet they can make more threes.
This is the kind of thing where the offense is going to struggle until proven otherwise. And it will remain a big thing to focus on this season.