How two Magic youngsters can help the team address some of its biggest needs

The Orlando Magic are going into the offseason knowing they have to fill out the roster to work on the weaknesses that hurt them in the playoffs. There are multiple free-agent targets that have come up, from Malik Monk to D'Angelo Russell and everyone in between. However, there is a possibility that the answers that the Magic are looking for are already on the roster. 
2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

After the Magic’s short-lived playoff run, the two biggest needs this offseason were clear. The team needs shooting and another creator on the offensive end. To address these shortcomings, there have been ideas from free agency and the trade market on how to add these pieces to the roster.

There is an argument to be made that the Magic need to look within to find the answers, though. Instead of looking at the problem on a bigger scale roster-wise, look at the situation rotational-wise and at who can be added to the rotation that was already on the roster. The answers may very well be Anthony Black and Jett Howard. 

Magic youngsters Black and Howard could fill some bigger roles next season

The first call was for a ball handler and the need to add a point guard who plays both on and off the ball. Now that the future of Markelle Fultz with the Magic is in question, the Magic could turn to Anthony Black. 

Black showed plenty of flashes in a controlled role last season of being able to play with the starters off the ball. Although he only averaged 1.4 attempts from three, Black did shoot 39.4 percent from long range. He was a willing shooter whenever the ball would find him. One of these biggest flashes was a game against the Dallas Mavericks in which Black scored 20 points on 7-9 shooting including 4-4 shooting from three. 

The concern at the moment with Black is not the shooting, as it is believed he will continue to grow as a shooter and be able to contribute on a bigger volume next season. Nor is it on the defensive side of the ball. As a 6'7“ point guard with the ability and willingness to play defense, Black would slide right into the Magic's defensive philosophy. 

The question is more about what level of playmaking Black can reach in only his sophomore year in the league. Yes, Black was a point guard in college, but the NBA is very different, and the Magic made it a point to keep his role simple.

Regardless, the Magic need to continue to develop Black, and giving him a spot in the rotation needs to be the next step in said development. Black showed enough last season to deserve a shot at regular season minutes, if not a starting spot next to Jalen Suggs. 

Now, the other need is shooting and Jett Howard is nothing short of a great potential shooter. Magic fans were begging for Howard to get minutes last season and with good reason. Howard was drafted with the 11th pick for a reason. It was always for the future, and keeping in mind that the Magic struggled shooting the three ball. 

Now looking towards next season, it makes sense that Howard needs to be in the rotation to fill that need as someone who can shoot off the dribble and be a catch-and-shoot threat. Jett Howard shot 37.7 percent from three on 9.5 attempts per game for the Osceola Magic. Granted, it is the G-League, but his shooting was never the concern; it was his defense.

Howard failed to play for Orlando consistently because of his shortcomings on the defensive end. On the bright side, however, Howard has the size to be a solid defender, and a year under the Magic's development should have helped him improve.

Jett Howard has the chance to help fill one of the Magic's biggest needs next season, and we will get a look during summer league to see just how much Howard's defense has come along. 

In the end, this offseason will be about filling the holes that were exposed during the playoffs. There are options outside the organization, but the Magic could look inside the team and give their youngsters a chance. If Black and Howard continue to develop, it will be a key to taking the Magic to the next level.