5 ideal lineups for the Orlando Magic
Undersized Lineup: Markelle Fultz/Cole Anthony/Gary Harris/Moe Wagner/Wendell Carter
If Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero both need rest, the team needs to rely on its third and fourth best offensive initiators. This group is Markelle Fultz’s to lead.
Fultz will control the offense with two solid screeners at his disposal and two of the Orlando Magic’s best shooters. There will be room for him to penetrate the defense and look for kick outs, lobs to the rim, or finishes for himself.
Moe Wagner and Wendell Carter have rarely played together but on offense they can be interchangeable as screeners with pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop abilities. Wagner is hitting 35 percent of his threes through 11 games and Carter shot 35.6 percent last season.
Teams cannot leave either of them wide open and this will create space for Fultz not only to drive into the paint but get to his spots for mid-range jump shots.
There were large stretches of last year when Fultz pulled up for a mid-range jumper it felt like he could not miss. Anywhere from 12-18 feet away from the basket has become a part of his game.
He is the best ball handler on the team and will relieve Cole Anthony of setting up the offense.
Anthony has shown an inability to handle the basketball as a point guard and will flourish in an off-ball role. Through the first 11 games, out of the top 42 players averaging the most turnovers, Anthony averages the least amount of minutes per game.
Those 42 players average 33.4 minutes per game while Anthony is at 23.7 minutes per game. Limiting the amount of time he needs to touch the ball to score or find the open pass seems beneficial to the team.
Anthony can let the offense come to him and attack closeouts and knock down jump shots. He can score in bunches and is crafty with the basketball, but shorter stints with the ball will limit his turnovers.
Fultz and Anthony will provide a solid scoring backcourt with complementary play styles. There can be a lot of off-ball action with screens set to get Cole Anthony and Gary Harris open on the wings or Wendell Carter and Moe Wagner on the block.
Gary Harris is the true Magic marksman and is vital to this lineup. He showed that he is one of the better shooters in the league last season and will give breathing room when he steps on the floor.
Initially Harris is still finding ways to generate offense for himself, but Jamahl Mosley needs to have set actions to get players into their spots.
Off-ball rub screens, down screens, flare screens, and floppy screens are underutilized in Orlando’s offense. They are nearly nonexistent.
The ability to get shooters open and force defenders to chase Harris and Anthony will create space for everyone else involved. Wagner and Carter are too good of screeners to not set screening actions on a majority of possessions.
Harris has a tall task of guarding small forwards with this group, but he is quick enough to guard taller players and force them to shoot contested jump shots.
All three guards will have protection at the rim with Wagner and Carter helping from the weak side. In time, Anthony Black would fit in a similar unit as he can be the ball handler but also defend the wing with his size.
The Magic have a multitude of options to assemble their rotation. Mosley needs to experiment to see who works well together, but also needs to influence how each unit plays.
It is no secret Orlando is struggling on offense and flourishing on defense. The team needs to find their way on offense and switching up who plays together can make a difference.
The team is 27th overall in threes made and even though this team is not built to shoot, they need to find ways to get shooters open and create space for finishes in the paint.
Opposing teams have quickly discovered that they can pack the paint against this team and Mosleyt needs to initiate offense early with designed sets that play to the team’s strengths.