Missing piece of Magic’s roster may be impossible to acquire after Caldwell-Pope deal

The Magic might not be able to address one of the team’s needs this offseason.
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers / Harry How/GettyImages

The Orlando Magic's most obvious needs last season were outside shooting and playmaking—someone who could set the table and get everyone else easy shots. For most of the season and the playoffs, Jalen Suggs acted as the team's starting point guard. That is not his strong suit, however. Suggs is not a table-setter or a great facilitator. 

As a result, the brunt of that responsibility fell on Paolo Banchero's and Franz Wagner's shoulders. Asking a 21-year-old to be your primary scorer as well as your primary playmaker is a lot. Understandably, Banchero sometimes looked tired towards the end of games and struggled with turnovers in the playoffs. Pretty much the entire offense ran through him and it did not always go smoothly. 

Banchero already voiced his desire for a table-setter to be added to the team to help him shoulder the facilitating responsibilities. The front office did not make that their priority this offseason, however. 

Clearly, the priority was to bring in a veteran two-way player. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope checks a lot of boxes for the Magic and should be able to find his footing quickly. He is not much of a playmaker, however, averaging 1.8 assists per game for his career. 

Orlando might go into next season without a point guard upgrade

The Magic already spent a significant amount of their cap space, and there are not many great starting-level point guards available in free agency. Tyus Jones would probably be on top of that list, and he does not fit the type of long two-way players the Magic generally like. Plus, signing Caldwell-Pope doesn't really leave any room to bring in a starting-level point guard. 

The Magic very likely do not want either Suggs or Caldwell-Pope to come off the bench. Suggs is a part of the team's core, and the Magic would not have gone after Caldwell-Pope as they did, leaving the chances of getting Paul George or Klay Thompson behind, to ask him to come off the bench for the first time since the 2019-20 season. 

So, getting the high-level table-setter Banchero asked for seems almost impossible now. That means Banchero and Wagner will likely have to carry the brunt of the facilitating responsibilities once again unless Suggs and/or Anthony Black take a huge leap as point guards. 

All in all, last season was a success, but expectations for the 2024-25 season are much higher. Winning a playoff series should definitely be a goal for the Magic. If they struggle to run a functioning offense and score like they did at times last season, that might be difficult. 

This team, as currently constructed, would really benefit from a floor general running the show but it seems that they will have to make do without one for now.