5 ideal lineups for the Orlando Magic
Starting Unit: Markelle Fultz/Jalen Suggs/Franz Wagner/Paolo Banchero/Wendell Carter
This group has only been able to play four out of 11 games this season but still a team-high 78 minutes together. They are +10.4 points per 100 possessions (105.4 offensive rating/95.1 defensive rating) so far while on the floor and the group has plenty of room for improvement.
Markelle Fultz has seemed uncomfortable when he does not have the ball in his hands. This has led to teams crowding the paint for a non-shooting starting five. Markelle Fultz and Jamahl Mosley have to determine what his best options are for off-ball offense.
Many fans expected Fultz to take a considerable leap this season with a full summer to work on his game. There were videos of training camp where his shot looked as fluid as it’s been since he was in college.
Fultz also showcased a new jump shot in the final game of last season against the Miami Heat. He shot a pull-up three pointer with smooth mechanics that turned heads.
Ultimately this year we have yet to see the new Fultz and left knee tendonitis has slowed him down and kept him out of the lineup most of November. This ability to shoot when open with a fluid shooting motion is severely lacking and will be worth keeping an eye on once he returns.
Oopposing defenses are becoming a hinderance to the rest of the offense as teams can double-team Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero when they look for scoring opportunities.
Fultz, Wagner and Banchero give the starting unit three creators on offense who can score in isolation or create for others.
This allows Jalen Suggs and Wendell Carter to be spot-up shooters or strong cutters to the basket. The entire roster has struggled shooting the ball (unless you are named Gary Harris or Moe Wagner) so hopefully improvement happens sooner rather than later.
One of the reasons for the low shooting percentages, the team is 27th in the NBA at 33.3 percent shooting from deep, Orlando has difficulty with spacing throughout their rotation where defenses crowd the paint and dare the Magic to take and make perimeter shots.
Banchero, Suggs and Carter should all be above average shooters this season which will raise the offensive floor for the starters. The unit has to make defenses guard the perimeter as it will increase open shots and free-flowing offense.
Mosley is not exactly a tactician on offense but wants players to use their strengths to take advantages of the defense. He might need to change his ideology so that this team can give themselves a fighting chance.
Banchero and Wagner are budding superstars, but they cannot do much with crowded defensive sets. If Banchero was primarily a perimeter scorer that’s one thing, but he isn’t. There needs to be motion on offense and designs for success.
Orlando should always have one of Wagner or Banchero on the floor at all times. They are too good not to be on the court creating for themselves and others.
The unit is already one of the elite defensive starting lineups in the league. Suggs is playing like an All-NBA Defender as he is tied for third in steals per game.
They are a sizable group with three players at 6’10 while Fultz and Suggs are both strong guards with length.
Defense will never be the issue with the starting five, and Banchero will continue to work with Coach Mose to fine-tune his skill set on that end.
The starting unit has shown promise but offensive consistency and correct spacing will determine the outcome.