5 questions for the second quarter of the Orlando Magic's 2024 season
Will Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner become All-Stars?
The Orlando Magic really are not about individual awards.
Moe Wagner has said as much when talking about the team's hot start and his potential for winning the Sixth Man of the Year. Cole Anthony has discussed that too when he has been asked about the early Sixth Man of the Year race.
Coach Jamahl Mosley continually says the team will do things by committee. Nothing about this Magic team is about one star or anything else. They are about the whole.
Still, the Magic do have a pair of elite forwards and players who are going to make noise and gain consideration for the All-Star team -- voting opens Tuesday on the NBA App and NBA.com. Everyone acknowledges there is something of a pecking order with this group and two defined stars on the team.
And the question then is if the Magic continue to win at this rate and stay near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, who or how many All-Stars will the Magic get?
Orlando will earn an All-Star if the team is experiencing success. It is just a question of who the coaches will reward for the honor (and who will likely be the first alternate should there be an injury -- and Evan Mobley and Darius Garland's injuries for the Cleveland Cavaliers further open the path for two All-Stars this season).
In the first quarter of the season, Paolo Banchero averaged a team-high 20.6 points per game on 49.2/42.4/67.7 shooting splits with 6.8 rebounds per game and 4.7 assists per game. All of his numbers, and especially his scoring efficiency, were up across the board. A weird dip in his free throw shooting is the only thing keeping him from some really strong scoring numbers.
And that included his 42-point game in the loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers and before he scored 36 in Sunday's loss to the Boston Celtics.
Banchero took a jump to stardom in the first quarter of the season and he seems only to be getting more comfortable and confident right now to give the Magic whatever they need -- whether that is scoring or playmaking.
Wagner was not too shabby either. He averaged 20.4 points per game on 45.3/31.1/83.8 shooting splits (oddly inefficient for him as he looks to be more aggressive). He had three straight 30-point games in the process.
If both players continue this trend, they will become the first pair of Magic players to average 20.0 points per game in the same seasons since Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway in 1996. That is the kind of class of players these two are entering.
They may not both be All-Stars this year. But it will not be long until they both are.