The Orlando Magic have a massive offseason ahead for the future of the franchise. Over the last several years the organization has built a solid group of young talent. Players such as Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter, Markelle Fultz, and Jalen Suggs have set the Magic up well with a foundation for the future.
As the NBA season nears its’ end and the offseason approaches, the Magic may be one of the most fascinating teams across the league during the summer. The Magic won the NBA Draft Lottery and have the No.1 pick in the draft. How the team chooses to use the pick could determine the future of a franchise that has been unable to find consistent success since the departure of Dwight Howard.
The First Overall Pick
Since Howard was traded to the Lakers the Magic have looked for an impact player to build the team around. Nikola Vucevic was the closest the franchise came to a star, but outside of him, the Magic were unable to develop a true star to become a true perennial championship, or even playoff, contender.
Now, with a group of good, young players, including First-Team All-Rookie selection Franz Wagner, the Magic have won the lottery at quite possibly the best time for the franchise. The organization is able to determine and pick the player they feel fits the franchise the best at a critical time for the development of the team’s young core.
There have been some suggestions that the Magic should trade the first overall pick in pursuit of an already proven star, such as Donovan Mitchell. It seems unlikely that Orlando will go that route, as the long-term sustainability of adding potentially the final piece to an exciting young team could set the Magic up for years of success.
Ahead of the draft, there are three clear options for the Magic at No.1 overall; Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero. Holmgren is a talented young center with huge potential, but the Magic have seen Wendell Carter establish himself in the frontcourt over the course of the last season and he’s entering the first year of a new contract extension.
Banchero was outstanding at Duke last season and could complement fellow-Duke star Carter in the frontcourt. The Magic’s frontcourt situation is unclear outside of Franz Wagner and Carter, with Jonathan Isaac having dealt with injuries over the last few seasons, Mo Bamba likely leaving the organization, and Terrence Ross most comfortable in his role as the sixth man.
Jabari Smith might be the best fit for the Magic. The Auburn standout is a great fit for the roster and the culture Orlando is trying to build over the course of the next few years. He would add another great, young player to the frontcourt rotation, and potentially work excellently with Franz Wagner.
Where the Magic Are Headed
If the Magic have a successful offseason, and more particularly a successful draft. They will be set up with an opportunity to become one of the NBA’s best teams in the next few years. Smith, Banchero, or Holmgren would add yet another tremendous young player to the already exciting group the Magic have assembled over the last few years.
There will be big decisions to make this offseason for the franchise, which finds itself in its’ best position for sustained success since the early 2010s. Orlando’s front office has done a good job of going through the rebuilding process, and the decision to trade Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and a few other key players over the last few seasons may set the team up for long-term future success; even if it caused a period of tough rebuilding seasons.
For the first time in what feels like a decade, the word most people would probably use to describe their feelings on the Magic is hope. The future seems bright for the franchise in the middle of the Sunshine State, and time will tell if they take another huge step towards success this summer.
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