2024 Orlando Magic Trade Value Column
1. Paolo Banchero (3-Years, $39.1 million, Team Option for 2026) -- Last Year: 1st
Undoubtedly though, the most important player and the guy around whom everything revolves on this roster is Paolo Banchero.
Even during his rookie year, when Franz Wagner was an objectively better player, it was clear that this would become Paolo's team soon. Living through his inefficiency and mistakes was OK. He was the kind of primary scorer that you take with the No. 1 pick and build your team around.
Banchero has improved in every way this year, it seems. He is averaging 23.0 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game and 5.1 assists per game. He has had big scoring games regularly now, too. And there are so many ways he can continue to get better.
Banchero has impacted winning. The advanced stats may not show it yet -- partly because of the burden he is learning to carry. But Banchero is a significant driver for this young team and its success.
That should be the ultimate conclusion of all of this.
The Magic have a star. In his second year, Banchero has established himself among the best young players in the NBA (whether the national media recognizes it or not), and the Magic have a driving force to push their team forward.
That is all the Magic have ever wanted for this past decade. A player who could guide their rebuild.
They have that in Banchero. And as the deadline approaches, the goal is to make his life as easy as possible.
That is part of the problem, too. Orlando does not know what it needs because Banchero is a dynamic and versatile player. The team is still figuring out what the contours of his game are. The team does not want to box him in.
The most important thing for the Magic this year is to get Banchero in a playoff series and see how he responds to the pressure and what he learns about how defenses play him.
That is the exciting thing about the Magic right now. Anything seems possible, but the future is also more clearly in focus.