The Orlando Magic have been trying to find a franchise participant since buying and selling Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers forward of the 2012-2013 season. Within the 9 years since, Orlando is 255-464 total — the worst report within the NBA over that point.
The Magic have had 4 top-five picks and three top-eight picks within the draft since buying and selling Howard. None of these gamers have made an All-Star look for Orlando. The very best decide of that lot, 2013’s No. 2 total alternative Victor Oladipo, didn’t develop right into a star till he was on his third group with the Indiana Pacers. Aaron Gordon, 2014’s No. 4 total decide, was all the time extra of a job participant than a centerpiece. Mario Hezonja was a straight up bust because the No. 5 decide in 2015. Jonathan Isaac — the No. 6 decide in 2017 — emerged as a tremendous defender, however now he hasn’t performed in two years due to accidents and weird offcourt pursuits. Mo Bamba changed into a stable participant final season as the previous No. 6 decide in 2018, however the group declined to offer him an early contract extension.
The Magic had two top-eight picks final yr, and took guard Jalen Suggs at No. 5 and ahead Franz Wagner at No. 8. Wagner was significantly spectacular as a rookie, and ought to be a fantastic piece shifting ahead. There stays loads of hope for Suggs, as nicely, however neither appears like a future All-NBA degree participant.
The Magic touchdown the No. 1 total decide in 2022 is their golden alternative to lastly discover their franchise participant. Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr., and Paolo Banchero are all respectable choices to go first within the draft, however just one participant actually matches what the Magic want.
That participant is Paolo Banchero. Learn our full breakdown on why Banchero is our prime prospect on this draft. Because of this the Magic ought to take Banchero at No. 1 total within the 2022 NBA Draft.
Paolo Banchero has a greater likelihood to turn into a major initiator than anybody within the 2022 NBA Draft
Banchero, Holmgren, and Smith are all nice prospects with distinct talent units. Holmgren is an elite rim protector on protection who will present offensive worth by shifting the ball, hitting spot-up threes, and ending nicely on the rim with dunks. Smith is probably the most effective shooter within the draft as a 6’10 sniper who can take and make extraordinarily troublesome pictures.
The rationale Banchero has been our No. 1 prospect because the begin of the cycle is as a result of he’s the one one of many three who initiatives as a lead offensive possibility within the NBA.
At 6’10, 250 kilos, Banchero thrives taking part in with the ball in his arms along with his superior dealing with and glorious passing capacity for a participant his measurement. Banchero can manufacture offense for himself and his teammates off the bounce, whereas Holmgren and Smith each want another person to set them up. Holmgren and Smith are usually not bending the opposing protection and discovering teammates for straightforward scores like this. There are usually not many (any?) NBA gamers who can do that at 6’10, 250 kilos.
Banchero can rating off the bounce, too. Put an even bigger participant on Banchero and he’ll usually shake free utilizing his deal with. Put a smaller, sooner defender on Banchero and he’ll use his measurement and energy to his benefit to attain inside. Throw two on the ball, and Paolo might be counted on to make the best cross.
Once more, neither Smith or Holmgren can create separation off the dribble like this in opposition to a set protection within the halfcourt.
Banchero’s capacity to create benefits at his measurement is what separates him from his friends on this draft class. That’s a beautiful match with what Orlando’s roster wants.
The Magic are nonetheless trying to find a major creator
The Magic have quite a lot of good items proper now. What they’re lacking is a star shot creator to assist slot everybody into acceptable roles and maximize their strengths. Listed below are the core items on Orlando’s roster for the time being:
- G Jalen Suggs: The 6’4 combo guard does just a little little bit of every part. Suggs initiatives as an excellent secondary pick-and-roll possibility, a transition killer, a feisty point-of-attack defender, and he ought to be round a league-average three-point shooter subsequent yr (say, 35 p.c) after hitting solely 21 p.c of his threes this season. Suggs took 39 p.c of his pictures on the rim final season, a mark that ranked within the 88th percentile amongst combo guards, per Cleansing the Glass. Whereas that’s definitely spectacular, he feels extra comfy attacking defenses which might be already compromised slightly than being the principle man who creates benefits off the bounce.
- G Cole Anthony: Anthony simply turned 22 years outdated, and is coming off an encouraging season in his second season within the NBA. The 6’2 guard is a greater shooter than his 33.7 p.c mark would point out, and he’s a very good athlete going to the rim. He additionally graded out in solely the forty second percentile as a pick-and-roll ball handler, and had some struggles ending. He’s one other participant who would profit from taking part in subsequent to a star who may set him up for straightforward pictures.
- F Franz Wagner: Final yr’s No. 8 total decide is a 6’9 wing who is sweet at quite a lot of issues slightly than being nice at something. He’s a reliable defender each on the perimeter and inside, confirmed some promise as a pick-and-roll ball handler and passer, and made 35 p.c of his threes. Each group within the league covets large wings with Wagner’s talent set. He could be the most effective creator on the roster proper now, nevertheless it feels overly bold to fit him in as a No. 1 possibility long-term.
- F/C Wendell Carter Jr.: Carter is a combo large coming off a career-year in his fourth professional season. He’s equally sized to Banchero at 6’10, 270 kilos, however doesn’t create off the bounce like Paolo. As a substitute, Carter is generally an undersized middle with flashes of passing and capturing talent who can keep stable defensively and compete on the glass. He’s a pleasant participant, however you’re not passing on a possible lead creator due to him.
- C Mo Bamba: Bamba is a restricted free agent and is probably not round subsequent season. His body is just like Holmgren’s with a 7’7 wingspan, and he hit 38 p.c of his threes this season, totally on spot-ups. Bamba’s talent set could be a pleasant complement to Banchero’s if Orlando does take him at No. 1.
You’ll be able to add Markelle Fultz, Chuma Okeke, and R.J. Hampton to the combo as nicely. All eight of these gamers talked about will likely be 24 years outdated or youthful subsequent season. Orlando has hit on some good younger items within the draft, however all of them would look so significantly better taking part in subsequent to a go-to offensive possibility.
Paolo Banchero is each the most effective match for the Magic and greatest total expertise within the 2022 NBA Draft
Right here’s a common rule of thumb I attempt to persist with: If an NBA group doesn’t have a major creator, their largest want is discovering one. Holmgren is an superior expertise who would instantly present a giant enhance to Orlando’s protection, however he’s not creating straightforward offensive alternatives for himself and his teammates. Smith is an unreal shooter, however he’s at his greatest when somebody units him up for his pictures. Smith’s largest weak spot is scoring off the dribble and ending contained in the arc after he solely 43 p.c of his two-point area objectives at Auburn. Holmgren’s one-on-one scoring remains to be a query mark regardless of all of his strengths that contribute to profitable basketball. Each are play finishers, not play creators.
The Magic will get an excellent participant in the event that they draft both, nevertheless it appears like they’ll nonetheless be seeking their major creator if it occurs. After all, it’s attainable Suggs or Wagner turns into that man. Anthony and Fultz may pop in that position, too. It simply feels just a little too optimistic to assume any of the 4 can actually be the man for a franchise.
Banchero might be the man in the best atmosphere. It is a star transfer.
It is a star transfer:
Paolo Banchero is at his greatest when attacking off the catch. So good at manipulating that 2v1 with Williams and the opposing large to his benefit. pic.twitter.com/KsSvBObWSU
— Itamar (@Itamar_17_10) March 25, 2022
It is a star transfer, too:
Banchero isn’t an ideal participant. He’s not a tremendous run-and-jump athlete. He solely made 33 p.c of his threes this yr, and his catch-and-shoot capacity from the NBA line stays a query mark. His lack of elite pace or eye-popping size limits his protection to round “common” — which makes him possible the worst defender of any potential top-3 alternative.
On the identical time, Banchero can create offense off the bounce in a method Holmgren and Smith can’t dream of. He’s by far the most effective ball handler within the halfcourt, and by far the most effective reside dribble passer. He additionally has a wonderful mid-range scoring bundle, and a few good strikes within the put up.
The early studies are that Orlando will select between Smith and Holmgren, however no less than to me, Banchero’s talent set is strictly what the Magic have been missing.