1 worst case, 1 realistic, 1 dream scenario for Orlando Magic rookies
Worst Case: Michael Carter-Williams
There was a time when everybody thought Michael Carter-Williams was next up.
And almost dropping a quadruple-double in his NBA debut against the LeBron James-led Miami Heat and winning Rookie of the Year presented a strong case.
But since his opening campaign, Carter-Williams regressed every year statistically and simply never developed into the player he could have been. Injuries slowed him down. So too did his struggling jump shot.
By the time the Orlando Magic gave him a lifeline in 2019, Carter-Williams was struggling to latch on everywhere. He was a big factor in the Magic completing their 22-9 run to make the playoffs that year. But then injuries prevented him from growing any further under Steve Clifford.
Carter-Williams proved a solid locker room presence and defender. But he never fulfilled his potential.
He has career averages of 10.2 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and 4.3 assists per game. He is shooting 25.6 percent from three and 40.0 percent from the field overall That is the picture of a big guard who could fill up a stat sheet, but made little impact. Certainly not for the accolades for his early career.
This would be the worst-case scenario for Anthony Black.
Like Carter-Williams, Black is an excellent defender and an oversized point guard. But that questionable jumper could be what causes his career to stall and fade into journeyman territory. Especially since Black is not known as a strong playmaker — averaging only 3.9 assists per game at Arkansas, a product of Arkansas’ own issues with poor spacing and shooting.
Realistic: Lonzo Ball
Many people would put a Lonzo Ball comparison in the worst-case scenario category. But focus on the similarities both players have when Ball is healthy.
Taking injuries out of it, Anthony Black might take a similar career path as Lonzo Ball.
Both entered the league with a few established young players. Both needed to fix their shooting form. And both have a feel for the game that shows despite the shooting concerns.
In Summer League, Black averaged 11.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Those stat lines were similar to what Ball had when he was out on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers.
In Ball’s rookie year, he averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game.
Now, he did shoot a poor 36 percent from the floor, so Magic fans will hope Black does not struggle to that degree. But the similarities seem to be there.
Dream scenario: Josh Giddey
The vision for Anthony Black’s best-case scenario is whatever Josh Giddey ends up being. Last year, Giddey averaged 16.6 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game and 6.2 assists per game.
Giddey’s shooting percentage also went up by about seven percentage points from his rookie season from 41.9 percent to 48.2 percent. The second-year jump Giddey experienced would be a dream come true for Magic fans and Black.
It would put Orlando in the running for possibly winning a playoff series if Black was able to turn into Giddey.
But it must be noted that while Giddey’s game is similar to Black’s game, Black’s scoring numbers are lower for a slightly different reason.
Black’s shooting form needs work which might mean he needs to start all over in that department.
Giddey did not experience that when he entered the NBA and it might be an indicator that Black will need more than two years to get to Giddey’s level.
Regardless, if the shot is fixed for Black, he will be in the league for a long time.