Franz Wagner's shooting the key to unlocking Orlando Magic's offense

The Orlando Magic have found the winning formula. Getting their second star in Franz Wagner going is a clear path for the team to reach its next level.

Chicago Bulls v Orlando Magic
Chicago Bulls v Orlando Magic / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The Orlando Magic have found the answer.

No, the Magic organization has not hired Allen Iverson. But they have found a way to win games consistently. It starts and ends with their third-year star, Franz Wagner.

The Orlando Magic are 7-0 this season when Franz Wagner scores 30 or more points.

This should be all the evidence that the organization needs in order to continue developing Wagner's shooting ability. It is at least a growing sample size of how much getting Wagner going benefits the team as a whole.

With the attention Paolo Banchero receives, the Magic need to lean on Franz Wagner to relieve that pressure and fill those gaps. When he does, the team is extremely dangerous.

While it feels like Wagner has had a down year, he is averaging a career-high in points, but his efficiency has decreased this year as he went through a prolonged shooting slump earlier in the season. Still, Franz Wagner is on pace to give the Magic their first duo of 20-point scorers since 1996 when Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway each averaged 20 points per game.

Wagner is averaging 21.1 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game and 4.1 assists per game. He is shooting 31.9 percent from beyond the arc.

But things have changed since returning from his early January injury. Since Jan. 21 (12 games), Wagner is averaging 21.8 points per game and shooting 50.0 percent from the floor and 38.7 percent from three. That includes three 30-point games.

He will need to improve his outside shot still, but it is a large piece of the puzzle for why he does not average more and why it feels like he has taken a step back this season. When Wagner is scoring, he typically shoots the ball well.

In Wagner's seven 30-point games, he is shooting a combined 22 for 40 (55.0 percent). The worst he shot in any of these games was 1 for 3 in the Magic's Dec. 1 win over the Washington Wizards (he scored 31 points and made 12 of 14 free throws in that game).

Wagner was excellent from deep in his last 30-point game, Saturday's 114-108 win over the Chicago Bulls. He made 5 of 12 3-pointers in that game to score 36 points in 44 minutes.

This is the type of shooting performance the Magic need consistently from Wagner in order to win more games.

Wagner was on fire in this matchup. He looked as if he was the best player on a court that he shared with Paolo Banchero, Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan. The next highest scorer was DeRozan with 28 points. The Magic needed every one of those 36 points to win a close game against a team fighting for a Play-In spot in the Eastern Conference.

But what made Wagner successful in that game was his ability to finish and attack at the basket. He made five of his six shots inside of five feet.

In his seven games where he has scored 30 points, Wagner has made 52 of 63 (82.5 percent) of his shots within five feet in these games. He is shooting 63.0 percent on 7.5 field goal attempts per game on shots within five feet this season.

Wagner is an analytics dream and finding a healthy balance between attacking the basket and hitting from the outside is critical. That versatility is what makes him special.

The Magic cannot lose any time that Wagner scores 30 plus. It usually means he is both getting downhill to the basket and putting pressure on the rim, but also hitting from outside, something the Magic desperately need.

Even if he does not score 30, he has to become more of a threat from downtown to space the floor for his teammates. In the victory against the Bulls, he hit from the outside and was able to get to the foul line for 7 of 10 free throws.

Everything was working.

Things were different in the games he has struggled during this stretch.

In Tuesday's loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Wagner only scored 15 points on 1-for-5 shooting from downtown. He made only 3 of 9 shots at the rim and settled for only four free throws. The Magic lost a lot of their offensive attack now having Wagner finishing efficiently at the rim or hitting from downtown.

Consistent shooting has been an ongoing problem for the Magic and it needs to be resolved.

Jamahl Mosely and his coaching staff have to continue developing Wagner's three-point shooting and encouraging him to be aggressive in attacking the rim. That adjustment alone will allow the offense to become more of a threat from the perimeter and more versatile.

The Magic can also do a better job getting him the ball so he can create opportunities for himself and his teammates. He is a magician with the ball, and he can get to his spots using the Euro-step better than about anyone in the NBA.

They also can get him easier baskets by putting Franz Wagner in slashing situations on the baseline when Paolo Banchero has the ball and is trying to create, kind of like they do with Jalen Suggs on occasion.

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These are a few ways that the coaching staff can give more opportunities to their star. If they don't remember anything from this article, remember this. Get Franz Wagner his 30 points. That is usually a sign of a healthy Magic offense.