The Orlando Magic have gotten off to a dream start in the opening quarter of the season. Going .500 in the first 10 games followed by a nine-game win streak to get them to 14-6 at the 20-game mark has the Magic in position to make the playoffs and flirting with contention in the Eastern Conference.
Perhaps nobody is expecting the Magic to keep up this pace -- the team is currently on a 57-win pace, a mark only one team in franchise history has beaten. But the magic seem like they are going to hang around in the playoff race.
The start has certainly forced everyone to take notice of the team. Paolo Banchero won the Eastern Conference Player of the Week last week. Franz Wagner has a good chance to win the award for this week after three straight 30-point games this week.
The Magic are at the front of a lot of national conversations at this point in the season. Inevitably that is going to continue building the chance for the team to get national recognition and have a few players book their trips to Indianapolis in February for All-Star Weekend.
All-Star balloting is set to open Dec. 20 until Jan. 21. There will be a month for everyone to make up their votes and book the trip to Indianapolis. Banchero and Wagner are likely going to be waiting for the coaches to vote them in as reserves.
Their All-Star candidacies were always going to depend on the team's overall record. If either player wanted to take the jump into the Sunday showcase at All-Star Weekend, the Magic had to have a strong record and be near the top of the Eastern Conference.
A few weeks ahead of the opening of balloting, the Magic have done that job. We need to talk very seriously about the campaign for both Banchero and Wagner to reach All-Star Weekend. They are both very much in the running.
Wagner currently leads the Magic in scoring with 20.7 points per game on improving splits of 46.6 percent shooting, 32.7 percent from deep and 84.3 percent from the foul line.
Banchero has been steady too, averaging 19.5 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game and 4.9 assists per game. And he still has plenty of time to improve his counting stats to stay in the conversation.
That much should be clear at this point of the All-Star "race." Both Banchero and Wagner deserve your consideration.
The Orlando Magic have not had an All-Star since Nikola Vucevic in 2021 during the COVID-shortened season (and just a few weeks before the team dealt him to the Chicago Bulls). The Magic have not had multiple All-Stars in the same season since 2009 when Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson all made it to play in Phoenix.
Who knows if the Magic will have multiple All-Stars this year? That still seems a possibility but a remote one. There are a lot of games yet to play.
It will be important for Orlando to continue winning to support these campaigns. Banchero and Wagner are likely to put up the numbers to be in the conversation. It will take both of these players continuing to play for a winning team to push them into the All-Star Game.
For now though, let's take the temperature of where Banchero and Wagner sit in their All-Star candidacies. This is the first of our ongoing series power ranking the All-Star candidates in the Eastern Conference.