5 Names to know from the Orlando Magic's Summer League team

The Orlando Magic return to the court for the beginning of Summer League on Friday. Orlando will see the debut of rookie Tristan da Silva and the development of sophomores Anthony Black and Jett Howard along with diving into some other intriguing players on their roster.
Anthony Black has a lot to prove in his second run through Summer League as he tries to carve a clear place in the Orlando Magic's rotation next year.
Anthony Black has a lot to prove in his second run through Summer League as he tries to carve a clear place in the Orlando Magic's rotation next year. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Anthony Black and Jett Howard

There are plenty of criticisms for the Orlando Magic's decision to bring back the bulk of their roster. There is a sense that perhaps the Magic did not get meaningfully better. But a big piece of that criticism centers on the question of where the Magic are supposed to get second-year players Anthony Black and Jett Howard into the lineup.

President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman promised after the 2023 Draft, and reiterated after the 2024 Draft, that every player on the team has to earn what they eat. The Magic are not gifting minutes to anybody.

That only increases the pressure considering Black was completely out of the rotation at the end of the season and Howard spent a gap year in the G-League with the Osceola Magic.

Weltman has spoken highly of the progress both players have made and touted successful rookie years for both. But it is hard to tell how much of that is spin and how much of that is real.

That is what Summer League will be for.

For both Black and Howard, they are entering with the sophomore advantage. Everyone expects second-year players to look dominant in their Summer League performances. They have the year of NBA experience that a lot of other players do not have. They are expected to dominate.

That is especially so for Black, who appeared in 69 games and averaging 4.6 points per game. Black averaged 5.1 points per game in 33 starts. Black showed his incredible defensive potential and an improving 3-point shot.

What Black needs to show as he potentially steps into the backup point guard spot next year is that he can be a better playmaker and creator. The Magic limited his role and did not give him much playmaking responsibilities. But considering the Magic's need for a playmaker and their lack of acquisition for one, they are betting on internal improvement from both Anthony Black and Jalen Suggs to fill the void.

Nobody really knows what the Magic have in Howard either.

Howard spent the majority of the year with the Osceola Magic—he played only 18 games and 67 total minutes with the Orlando Magic last year. Howard though did average 18.5 points per game in the G-League's regular season. He shot 37.7 percent from three on 9.5 3-point attempts per game.

Howard gives the Magic the potential for a mircowave volume 3-point shooter. But nobody really knows what they have.

Orlando probably wanted to see Howard improve as a secondary playmaker and defender. And those are difficult things to judge just looking at G-League stats. If Howard wants to play, he needs to prove he can defend first. And that will be the big thing to watch with Howard as he steps back onto the floor this week.