1 Orlando Magic candidate for each NBA award
Most Improved Player: Franz Wagner
Franz Wagner saw his 3-pointer per game increase in his second season, averaging 18.6 points per game on a similar minute-per-game average. In addition, he averaged 4.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game on 48.5/36.1/84.2 shooting splits.
Wagner has taken a step up in defensive rebounding and pushing the ball up in transition. Early in his career, smaller guards could bother Wagner by applying on-ball pressure.
Last year, Wagner did most of his damage despite only having the fifth-highest usage rate on the team. He has moved up to second behind Paolo Banchero, fitting in seamlessly as the second star on Banchero’s team.
Wagner is one of the safer bets to win an award out of all the Magic players. FanDuel has listed his odds at +3400 to take home the prize.
It has been a slow start for Wagner that may hurt his chances for the award. But Magic fans have to like how assertive he has been and how he has hunted more 3-pointers. There are some expected growing pains in the process.
With noticeable growth from the franchise’s two cornerstones and an intriguing mix of talent through the roster, there are expectations of a potential play-in push for the Magic this season.
Another leap from Wagner in terms of consistent reliability in scoring could push the Magic into the play-in conversation, leading to some national eyes noticing Wagner’s play.