5 training camp questions for the Orlando Magic
Who will win the backup center spot?
The Orlando Magic’s rotation was largely set last year. Once the team was fully healthy, everyone settled into their roles and there was very little doubt about who would go where. The team had its set playing groups.
By the end of the year, Goga Bitadze and Moe Wagner were in a real position battle. The duo would essentially exchange the role for much of the final 15 games of the season, with Bitadze getting a very good look at the spot.
Perhaps this exchange was because the Magic signed Bitadze late in the season and they wanted to get a good look at him. Then again, Bitadze earned a second year with the Magic — they picked up the second-year team option on the contract he signed with the team in February.
Bitadze earned his opportunity thanks to some stellar defense. The Magic had a 104.8 defensive rating with Goga Bitadze on the floor, the best mark for any player on the team last year (including Jonathan Isaac).
Wagner is a good player too though. He is an excellent offensive player and screener, as he showed coming off the bench in Germany’s World Cup championship run. Wagner can spread the floor and hit threes. But he is excellent at scrapping for points.
He had a career season last year, averaging 10.5 points per game. He has some struggles defending at the rim. But Wagner more than holds his own overall.
Not to mention, he gives the team a needed edge.
Both will have their moments this season. And Jamahl Mosley should feel like he can turn to either one dependably based on what his team or a specific lineup needs.
Wagner probably has the edge for the primary backup center role. It is not just about his salary, but his shooting and versatility will give the Magic’s bench a needed offensive weapon.
But this is a spot that will see the Magic go back and forth. And both players will be able to contribute to the team this season.