April 28, 2023, 12:29 pm
After landing the first pick in the 2022 draft, the Magic had multiple options to choose from as there was not a consensus No. 1 pick among Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith Jr. Many rumors suggested that they were going to select Smith and this seemed to be the case until a few moments before the official selection was to be made. Contrary to all the speculation though, Orlando chose Banchero to be the potential heir to their franchise ahead of the 2022-2023 season.
How’d It Go?
The Magic improved on the previous season’s 22-60 record (.268) to a more respectable 34-48 (.415) as they never went into a true tank. Franz Wagner played 80 games, Paolo Banchero played in 72 and after another long-awaited injury return, Markelle Fultz only missed one game afterwards on his way to 60 appearances. Not everyone on the roster wast so fortunate though, as Wendell Carter Jr. only got up to 57 games after another injury-riddled season, while Jonathan Isaac’s return from multiple years on the sidelines only lasted for 11 contests.
From a developmental perspective, the season can be viewed as a positive despite the ups and downs of individual young players. The biggest success has to be the play of Fultz, as he came into his own more and more with each passing week. Fultz has shown off unique and stylish play from the PG position and Magic fans will be hoping that a healthy summer to work on his shot will help to expand his game even further. There was also positive progression for players such as Franz Wagner, Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter Jr. and Bol Bol, while Paolo Banchero has recently been named Rookie of the Year. Although, their work is far from over, as they all still have a lot of room to grow.
The Magic should have two lottery picks in 2023, with their own having the sixth-best odds at being No. 1, while they are also owed a top-4 protected pick (currently slated for the No. 11 spot) from the Chicago Bulls. If they can nail those picks, Orlando could take another step next season as a Play-In challenger, in a similar fashion to this year’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
Jamahl Mosley was hired as the team’s new head coach in July 2021 on a four-year deal. It has now been two years into his first experience as a head coach, having spent the previous 15 years as an assistant. He was fulfilling that role for the Dallas Mavericks before he began this journey and was apparently endorsed by none other than Luka Doncic as a potential replacement for a departing Rick Carlisle. However, the Mavs ultimately chose Jason Kidd for the role.
So in 2021, Mosley replaced the departing Steve Clifford for the Orlando Magic, at a point where they had traded the top players on a roster which had been yielding mediocre results. A rebuild was always going to be a difficult task, especially for a rookie head coach. Mosley has shown capable hands so far though, as the Magic appear to be progressing well under him. In last season’s edition, we pinpointed Mosley’s pedigree as a player-development coach, alongside his emphasis on establishing a strong defensive foundation.
Despite their record, the Magic were No. 18 in the NBA for defensive rating at 113.7, while they were also top-8 for defensive-rebound percentage. They were generally around the middle of the pack for most defensive metrics as a team, other than being below par for opponent points off turnovers, but top-6 for least opponent points in the paint. The Magic have a good base due to the length of their wings in Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, while Wendell Carter Jr. is a bit underrated for his defensive versatility as a center. If they luck into the first pick and add Victor Wembanyama to this group, the sheer size they would have on the court would make for an interesting watch. We saw a peak of that already this season through Bol Bol, but Wembanyama has all-time potential as a talent and his rim protection could contribute to them becoming a true menace as a defensive unit. Offensively, from the 2021-2022 season to the current one, the team improved by plus-seven PPG and plus-four FG%, but their APG remained about the same and they dropped off by about two 3PM per game.
Mosley will have his hands full with the integration of their two potential lottery picks and Wembanyama isn’t the only prospect who could help this team take another leap. The Thompson twins (Amen and Ausar) or Scoot Henderson would be intriguing for the addition of ball-handling and playmaking as the Magic have been linked to a PG in free agency despite the progression of Markelle Fultz. Anthony Black and Cason Wallace also fall into that category as later lottery picks with combo-guard skills, but another forward like Brandon Miller, Jarace Walker or Taylor Hendricks could also provide unique big-lineup opportunities for Mosley.
The PlayersMarkelle FultzPG, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 60 60 29.6 5.8 11.3 51.4 1.9 2.4 78.3 0.5 1.5 31.0 14.0 3.9 5.7 1.5 0.4 2.3 21-22 ORL 17 2 19.4 4.6 9.6 47.9 1.5 1.8 80.6 0.2 0.8 28.6 10.9 2.8 4.9 1.1 0.3 2.1 20-21 ORL 8 8 26.9 5.1 13.0 39.4 2.1 2.4 89.5 0.5 2.0 25.0 12.9 3.1 5.4 1.0 0.3 2.3
ADP: 141/143 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 99/113 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 71/90 (8/9-cat)
Fultz suffered a left big toe fracture in September of 2022, which kept him out of action until November 30. From then on though, the oft-injured Fultz only missed one game, which was a case of rest purposes for the team’s usual suspects on April 6, 2023. Besides the initial preseason injury which would have had everyone shaking their heads and muttering “not again,” Fultz was able to have a very healthy season thereafter. This allowed us to finally see some development, as he turned an up-and-down start into a phenomenal and exciting season by the time April rolled around.
Fultz was essentially a second-to-last-round flier in drafts, but he likely ended up on most waiver wires since he missed time at the beginning of the season. Initially, he was a bit of a schedule play for those in needs of dimes and steals. However, as he got his legs under him, his play evolved into something more steady and there was better scoring to go along with his typical strengths. This coincided with a career-high 28 points on March 18 vs. the Clippers, two games with a career-high-tying three 3-pointers and a similar joint-best six steals back in January. Unsurprisingly, he had season-best averages for points, FG% (both 2PT% and 3PT%), rebounds, assists, steals and blocks as he also logged his most MPG as well.
As a fantasy asset, Fultz matured into a mid-round player, as he was posting around sixth-to-seventh-round value on a per-game basis for 9-cat during the final two months of the season. As with most ball-handlers, you can add a couple rounds of value to that for 8-cat and there may be chances to steal Fultz in drafts next season, as his ADP may not quite catch up to this season’s value based on his prior injury history.Wendell Carter Jr.C, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 57 54 29.6 5.6 10.8 52.5 2.5 3.4 73.8 1.4 3.9 35.6 15.2 8.7 2.3 0.5 0.6 1.9 21-22 ORL 62 61 29.8 5.8 11.0 52.5 2.3 3.3 69.1 1.1 3.5 32.7 15.0 10.5 2.8 0.6 0.7 1.9 20-21 ORL 54 44 25.5 4.3 8.5 50.3 2.4 3.3 73.2 0.3 0.9 29.4 11.2 8.2 1.9 0.6 0.8 1.4
ADP: 106/75 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 140/144 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 102/104 (8/9-cat)
Managers on ESPN would have been satisfied with Carter’s production as he was pretty much on par with his ADP and per-game value. He had injury issues once again though, as a midseason plantar fascia issue cost of a number of games in tandem with more short-term absences for the same issue, as well as others.
The differences were subtle from his 2021-2022 season, which finished as follows:
ADP: 107/104 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 92/102 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 81/82 (8/9-cat)
While Carter hit a few more triples in 2022-2023 and even improved his FT%, the per-game rank was lesser due to a drop-off in his rebounding numbers by almost two per game, alongside a minuscule reduction in his already anemic defensive-stat rate. However, Carter was top-70 for 9-cat during his final 18 games this season, as he got up to over nine RPG, swiped almost one SPG, hit a few more 3-pointers and turned over the ball less as well. The key improvement was in his steal rate and the addition of any half-decent numbers in the defensive-stat columns would help to maintain him as a mid-round per-game asset. Of course, he also needs to be healthier to help out in H2H leagues.Franz WagnerSF, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 80 80 32.6 6.8 14.0 48.5 3.4 4.0 84.2 1.6 4.5 36.1 18.6 4.1 3.5 1.0 0.2 2.1 21-22 ORL 79 79 30.7 5.8 12.3 46.8 2.4 2.8 86.3 1.2 3.4 35.4 15.2 4.5 2.9 0.9 0.4 1.5
ADP: 92/75 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 48/57 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 93/107 (8/9-cat)
Depending on how you value per-game production vs. totals, Wagner either smashed it or he may have been a slight disappointment. ESPN managers should be happy with him either way, as he was essentially on par with his ADP there on a per-game basis, although it is likely that managers were hoping that he’d actually be a bit of a steal at that spot. Overall, having steady production for 80 games is surely valuable, especially given the large number of missed games across the league for many players.
Wagner had an up-and-down sophomore season, which should surely be understandable for a young player like himself. He was at times barely playable in 12-team leagues due to sub-top-100 stretches, while his best spans of play coincided with comfortable mid-round value on a per-game basis. Generally, his base-level stats did not change dramatically from his rookie season to his second year, but a couple more shots and minutes, plus an extra free-throw attempt yielded a rise in PPG from 15.2 to 18.6. Wagner has only missed five games across his first two seasons, so his best ability has been availability.
He has the tools to be greater though, so we shall be monitoring him closely next season to see if he takes a third-year leap. Wagner will need to be more consistent on the offensive end, while some improvement in his defensive-stat rate would go a long way towards improving his per-game value.Paolo BancheroPF, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 72 72 33.8 6.7 15.6 42.7 5.5 7.4 73.8 1.2 4.0 29.8 20.0 6.9 3.7 0.8 0.5 2.8
ADP: 59/75 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 120/178 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 137/214 (8/9-cat)
For rookies who play consistent minutes, their inaugural seasons tend to go one of two ways. In many cases, they start slow and build up to better performances later on as they adjust to the NBA. In other cases, they start off unbelievably well and then hit the infamous rookie wall, wherein their production falls off a cliff, usually most notable through their efficiency numbers.
The No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft experienced the latter scenario, as he opened up his campaign with 27 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks, shooting over 60% from the field in 35 minutes against the Pistons. He scored 20-plus points in each of his first six games and marked the 10th game of his career with a stellar 33 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and one block, alongside 5-of-5 FT and another efficient showing from the field. He followed this up with another 30-point game and then missed seven straight contests with an injury.
While the efficiency was never consistent, as should be expected for a rookie, the truly disastrous shooting games began to be sprinkled in more and more from December onwards. This continued until everything went downhill in February, shooting under 38% from the field during that month. This is the typical issue with rookies in fantasy, as they tend to be poor in percentages and turnovers. Those three categories (FG%/FT%/TO) were by far his worst, which is why Banchero’s rank improves dramatically for 8-cat without the turnovers. If you added a FG% punt on top of that, he’d be near the top-100 per game, while adding a FT% punt to those two yielded top-80 per-game value.
Besides the aforementioned weaknesses, Banchero wasn’t inspiring for defensive-stat production either — better than anticipated, but not quite where he could be. He has been named Rookie of the Year and deservedly so, but he still has a lot of room to grow. There is a chance that he will be over-drafted again next season, as managers buy into the novel nature of a budding star and also tend to focus on the points-rebounds-assists categories more than the others. Even if Banchero takes a sophomore leap, it is unlikely that all the flaws in his game are ironed out in one offseason, so the best strategy would likely be to draft him in specific punt builds. Although, minor increases in his efficiency could do wonders since his shot volume emphasized the negative influence on percentages.Cole AnthonyPG, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 60 4 25.9 4.6 10.2 45.4 2.5 2.8 89.4 1.3 3.4 36.4 13.0 4.8 3.9 0.6 0.5 1.5 21-22 ORL 65 65 31.6 5.5 14.0 39.1 3.3 3.9 85.4 2.0 6.0 33.8 16.3 5.4 5.7 0.7 0.3 2.6 20-21 ORL 46 33 26.8 4.5 11.5 39.7 2.1 2.5 81.2 1.2 3.5 33.7 12.3 4.6 4.1 0.6 0.4 2.2
ADP: 131/127 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 148/142 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 128/124 (8/9-cat)
Anthony managed to return value on his ADP on a per-game basis, although he was not a must-roster player for 12-team leagues throughout the entire season. He only started four games this season, but Anthony emerged as a bit of a sixth man, as he often got near-starter-level minutes off the bench. Anthony seemed to settle into this role by the end of the season, as he held a near-top-100 per-game rank during the final few months.
While the sixth-man role seems promising for Anthony moving forward, the Magic have been linked to a PG in free agency and there are also a few lottery talents who could fulfill that role as well. If the Magic do obtain another guard who will demand a high-minute role, Anthony could have his upside capped. Markelle Fultz is clearly the best guard on the roster at the moment, while Gary Harris provides balance and Jalen Suggs is another young guy with room to grow — Anthony didn’t really get rolling until Suggs was out of the lineup when Fultz was already hurt, so the less crowded, the better for him. Fantasy managers will need to keep a close eye on offseason developments before expecting a similar season from Anthony.Gary HarrisSG, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 48 42 24.7 2.9 6.4 45.0 0.6 0.6 90.0 2.0 4.5 43.1 8.3 2.0 1.2 0.9 0.3 0.6 21-22 ORL 61 30 28.4 3.9 9.1 43.4 1.4 1.6 87.4 1.9 5.0 38.4 11.1 2.0 1.8 1.0 0.1 1.0 20-21 ORL 38 37 28.1 3.6 8.9 39.7 1.7 2.0 81.8 1.3 3.7 34.5 10.0 2.1 2.0 0.7 0.3 0.9
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 248/222 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 205/171 (8/9-cat)
The 28-year-old guard signed a two-year, $26 million extension with the Magic in the 2022 offseason, so he has one year left on his current deal. Harris was once touted as an elite 3-and-D guard, but injury issues have never allowed him to realize that potential.
This season provided a positive uptick in his value as a shooter though, as he hit two 3-pointers a game, which is the second most in his career, while he also converted a best-ever 43% from beyond the arc and 90% from the free-throw line on the season. Those are elite shooting numbers and the 3PM carried most of his fantasy value (the free throws were low volume). He seems some way off his early career days with elite steal numbers, but he did swipe almost one a game, so he should continue to view him as a 3-point stream with the chance of some steals on a good night.Bol BolC, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 70 33 21.5 3.7 6.8 54.6 1.2 1.5 75.9 0.4 1.6 26.5 9.1 5.8 1.0 0.4 1.2 1.6 21-22 ORL 13 6.2 1.2 2.1 55.6 0.2 0.2 66.7 0.1 0.3 25.0 2.5 1.5 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 20-21 DEN 31 2 4.9 0.8 1.7 46.2 0.3 0.5 64.3 0.3 0.7 39.1 2.1 0.7 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.4
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 150/166 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 164/178 (8/9-cat)
Bol mania came and went with a bang and a flash. In 33 games as a starter, he averaged 12.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.4 blocks to go with percentages of 57.3% from the field, 36.2% from three and 76.1% from the charity stripe in 27.6 minutes of action. Bol was a mid-round fantasy asset during the madness, but unsurprisingly, that did not last as his role was reduced when the team got a little healthier. Additionally, despite the counting stats, Bol didn’t actually offer significant impact on winning.
Bol certainly has the potential to put up valuable fantasy numbers if he is given the minutes and freedom, so he is still a noteworthy name. However, the story of his season should serve as a prime example towards caution, as some who bought into the hype may have sold a safer top-100 player for him or perhaps held on to him for too long. This was a good run to learn from for the future. It is surprising that the Magic bailed on the Bol experiment so quickly, as the fantasy potential expands into reality as well; if you can turn Bol into a real rotation player, his unique talents will speak for themselves.Jalen SuggsSG, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 53 19 23.5 3.5 8.4 41.9 1.6 2.2 72.3 1.2 3.8 32.7 9.9 3.0 2.9 1.3 0.5 1.8 21-22 ORL 48 45 27.2 4.1 11.4 36.1 2.6 3.4 77.3 0.9 4.1 21.4 11.8 3.6 4.4 1.2 0.4 3.0
ADP: 107/140 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 198/218 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 166/192 (8/9-cat)
The second-year lottery pick had another injury-riddled season, as he has only featured in 101 of 164 games across his first two seasons, in major contrast to Franz Wagner who was drafted alongside him. Suggs was actually off to a nice start to the season, dropping some big numbers in the absence of Fultz, but hurt his ankle and was out of the 12-team picture from there. The ADP information from ESPN and Yahoo tell two different stories, as managers on ESPN reached for him a little early, while he was clearly more of an end-of-draft flier on Yahoo. The second strategy was clearly superior, as such fliers are an easy drop if they don’t pan out. However, selecting him in the eight-to-ninth-round range on ESPN was surely a regret, as there were definitely better tries at that spot.
While the stupendously poor FG% and turnovers of his rookie campaign improved, he was still far from even hitting neutral territory for efficiency. The turnovers were actually under control though and he solidified himself as a defensive-stat specialist from the guard spot. He will need to put in work on his shot and handles this offseason in order to get himself easier looks and open up his game to realize the potential many saw in him as a top-5 pick.Moritz WagnerPF, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 57 18 19.5 3.5 6.9 50.0 2.7 3.2 84.1 0.9 2.9 31.3 10.5 4.5 1.5 0.6 0.2 1.2 21-22 ORL 62 2 15.0 3.1 6.2 49.9 1.6 2.0 80.3 1.0 3.1 33.0 8.9 3.6 1.3 0.3 0.2 0.9 20-21 ORL 44 23 15.6 2.3 5.1 44.6 1.5 1.8 81.5 0.7 2.0 33.7 6.7 3.2 1.1 0.6 0.4 1.0
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 208/209 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 190/199 (8/9-cat)
Wagner is an underrated NBA player, as he has been an impactful backup who also slides into larger role smoothly when needed. He played 26.4 minutes in 18 starts this season, averaging 13.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, 50.9% FG, 34.4% 3PT and 85.7% FT. While the 3-pointers and free throws were on low volume, those are still better-than-usual splits for a big man. He also isn’t much of a shot blocker but the other counting stats are typically passable.
He is an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason, but could be brought back by the Magic since he isn’t a big earner and is already well-integrated into the team. If that is the case, he should retain a similar role unless another frontcourt option is acquired in the draft.Jonathan IsaacPF, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 11 0 11.3 2.0 4.8 41.5 0.5 0.8 55.6 0.5 1.4 40.0 5.0 4.0 0.5 1.3 0.4 0.4 21-22 ORL 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 20-21 ORL 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
ADP: 136/142 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 420/405 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 246/213 (8/9-cat)
Long gone are the days when Isaac was looked upon as a potential early-round fantasy producer due to his sensational affinity to mount up massive defensive-stat numbers. While those pure numbers don’t always amount to truly elite defense, Isaac did look like a future DPOY prior to his injuries. This season marked his return from a multi-year absence, being sidelined since August 2020 when he tore his ACL in the bubble. The Magic were unbelievably cautious with his return, giving him a strict minutes limit and not allowing him to play on back-to-backs. Yet, after 11 appearances, Isaac suffered another season-ending injury, needing surgery for a torn left adductor muscle.
Disappointment aside, Isaac showed flashes of his prior greatness, tallying 1.3 steals and 0.4 blocks a game in only 11.2 minutes of action. The upside is clearly still there, but the question is whether or not his body can hold up to a grueling 82-game season when he could not even last for one month of play, during which he never got above 17 minutes. At this point, he is not a viable H2H player in redraft leagues until he proves he can stay healthy with decent minutes. Dynasty managers should continue to hold out hope though and his upside should be worthy of a roto stash if he looks somewhat healthy heading into 2023-2024. He signed a four-year deal in December of 2020, so the Magic believed in him then despite the ACL tear and they may still see his value as he is only a 25-year-old player.Jay ScrubbSG, Free Agent
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 2 0 15.0 2.5 3.5 71.4 0.5 1.0 50.0 1.0 1.0 100.0 6.5 3.0 0.5 1.0 0.0 1.5 21-22 LAC 18 6.7 1.0 2.6 39.1 0.4 0.6 70.0 0.3 1.2 28.6 2.7 0.9 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.4 20-21 LAC 3 1 16.0 2.3 6.3 36.8 1.7 1.7 100.0 0.7 1.7 40.0 7.0 2.3 0.0 1.0 0.0 2.0
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 494/492 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 200/230 (8/9-cat)
Scrubb was the No. 55 pick in the 2020 draft by the Brooklyn Nets and is yet to establish himself in the NBA since. He was actually waived by the Magic in October of 2022, but they re-signed him on a two-deal deal on March 24, 2023. Since his NBA career spans only 23 games, including a mere two this season, there isn’t much to be said about him in the top level of competition. The highlight of his career is probably a 17-point game (his best tally) back in 2021, but there isn’t much to note outside of that performance. Currently, he is only someone with an outside chance of playing during silly-season shenanigans.Chuma OkekePF, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 27 8 19.2 1.6 4.5 35.2 0.6 0.8 76.2 1.0 3.2 30.2 4.7 3.6 1.4 0.7 0.4 0.6 21-22 ORL 69 19 24.9 3.0 8.1 37.4 0.8 0.9 84.6 1.6 5.2 31.5 8.5 4.9 1.7 1.4 0.6 0.8 20-21 ORL 45 19 25.2 3.0 7.2 41.7 0.7 0.9 75.0 1.1 3.1 34.8 7.8 4.0 2.2 1.1 0.5 0.8
ADP: 140/141 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 363/353 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 291/271 (8/9-cat)
Okeke had a bit of a breakout season in 2021-2022, finishing with fantasy value as follows:
ADP: N/A /138 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 103/83 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 130/104 (8/9-cat)
This likely resulted in some extra enthusiasm towards him on draft night as a late-round flier. He was always going to have a tough time replicating that value after the addition of Paolo Banchero (and the long-awaited Jonathan Isaac return which didn’t last very long), so unsurprisingly, the 2022-2023 season did not work out as favorably. This was likely fine in 12-team leagues as such a pick would not have been a season-breaking decision. He does seem like a rotation-worthy player though, so Okeke may be able to find a role on an NBA team, even if it isn’t the Magic. However, the unopposed high-usage role he had in stretches during the previous season was likely a one-off circumstance, unless he lucks into that again during end-of-year shenanigans in the future.Caleb HoustanSG, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 51 4 15.9 1.3 3.6 36.3 0.3 0.4 83.3 0.9 2.7 33.8 3.8 1.9 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.4
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 365/358 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 439/427 (8/9-cat)
Houstan was the No. 32 pick in the 2022 draft, but he did not get many opportunities for significant minutes in his inaugural season. The 51 appearances were awesome for a second-round pick though and there seems to at least be some type of latent potential which the Magic and other draft personnel seem to like — he was in the rotation on opening night, after all. Houstan is a 20-year-old 6’8″ forward and with his physical assets, he just needs to develop his shooting ability so that he can be a reliable 3-and-D wing. He shot 35.5% from three in college, but only 33.8% in his rookie season, so there is definitely room for growth as a shooter.Goga BitadzeC, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 39 1 11.7 1.8 3.2 55.2 0.6 1.1 54.8 0.2 0.7 23.1 4.3 3.5 1.0 0.4 0.7 0.6 21-22 IND 50 16 14.5 2.6 5.0 52.0 1.3 1.9 68.1 0.5 1.6 28.8 7.0 3.5 1.1 0.4 0.8 0.9 20-21 IND 45 3 12.5 1.8 4.3 42.8 1.0 1.4 73.8 0.4 1.8 25.3 5.1 3.3 0.8 0.2 1.3 0.4
ADP: 140/160 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 345/337 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 329/313 (8/9-cat)
Bitadze landed on the Magic at the trade deadline and after needing some time to establish himself in the rotation, he was able to garner decent minutes off the bench in his final seven games this season. Bitadze showed interesting per-game production, especially for blocks, as he swatted multiple shots on three separate occasions during that seven-game stretch and only had one game during that run with zero blocks. His upside was accentuated by top-notch numbers in his only start, recording 12 points, 15 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block during 26 minutes of action.
Bitadze was not close to returning value on his ADP, but that was a product of opportunity rather than talent. He has been touted as an intriguing dynasty player for years due to his shot-blocking prowess and the potential to develop a 3-point shot. Orlando is loaded with young talent though, so this may not be the place for him to unlock his potential. He just went from one team with too many bigs to another. Although, some consistent backup minutes would be better than anything he has seen in his career before, so Bitadze is someone worth keeping an eye on, albeit as more of a deep-league flier.Kevon HarrisSG, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 34 0 13.4 1.4 3.1 43.9 0.9 1.2 75.6 0.5 1.3 37.2 4.1 2.1 0.5 0.5 0.1 0.6
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 386/381 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 407/402 (8/9-cat)
Harris was an older draft prospect who shot 39.7% from 3-point range across a four-year college career. He was undrafted in 2020 and did not get a real shot at NBA minutes until this season. The 25-year-old forward shot 37.2% from 3-point range this season, albeit on low-volume attempts. The 3-point shooting seems to be where he will have a chance to earn his stripes in the NBA, but thus far, that has not been enough for him to get consistent minutes. If he can carve out a bigger role, he may be someone to note as a 3-point streamer in fantasy leagues.Admiral SchofieldPF, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 37 0 12.2 1.5 3.3 45.1 0.6 0.6 91.3 0.6 2.0 32.4 4.2 1.7 0.8 0.2 0.1 0.4 21-22 ORL 37 1 12.0 1.4 3.3 41.5 0.3 0.4 80.0 0.6 2.0 32.4 3.7 2.3 0.7 0.1 0.1 0.6 19-20 WAS 33 2 11.2 1.1 2.8 38.0 0.3 0.5 66.7 0.6 1.8 31.1 3.0 1.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.2
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 384/377 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 421/405 (8/9-cat)
Schofield is memorable in name only, as he is yet to carve out a consistent rotation role in his NBA career. At the moment, it does not seem likely that he can truly impact fantasy leagues. He does not have a standout skill for real-life NBA purposes or for fantasy.Michael Carter-WilliamsPG, Orlando Magic
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 ORL 4 0 11.0 1.5 3.5 42.9 1.0 1.8 57.1 0.3 0.8 33.3 4.3 1.3 1.8 0.3 0.3 1.0 21-22 ORL 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 20-21 ORL 31 25 25.8 3.4 8.7 38.9 1.6 2.6 61.2 0.5 2.0 24.6 8.8 4.5 4.2 0.8 0.5 2.2
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 509/517 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 483/511 (8/9-cat)
Carter-Williams logged 11.1 MPG, tallying 4.3 PPG, 0.3 3PM, 1.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG alongside shooting splits of 42.9% FG and 57.1% FT. MCW only appeared in four games and was always going to be a non-factor. He was waived in February of 2022 after a major injury and the Magic re-signed him February 2023 to “add a veteran voice to the locker room.” It mostly seemed like a signing made in good faith to their former player, so he will likely remain a non-factor moving forward as an off-the-court mentor to their young players. After all, MCW had a promising start to his career which didn’t amount to much, so he may have some positive advice to offer.
The star of this season was undoubtedly and unequivocally Markelle Fultz. The former No. 1 pick has had a tough start to his NBA career, which saw him shipped off to the Magic for essentially nothing when the Philadelphia 76ers figured that a change in scenery would be best for both parties. When Fultz looked to be coming into his own a couple years ago, he was torn down once again by an ACL injury and he didn’t have enough games in the 2021-2022 season to show any progress. At the start of this season, it looked like it was going to be the same old story of tragic circumstance for Fultz, as a left big toe fracture kept him sidelined until the end of November.
That was not the case though.
Fultz had the best stretch of his career after returning, staying healthy and making immense strides in terms of his confidence and consistency of play. This culminated in 60 games where he set a career-high 28 points and tied career-highs of three 3-pointers and six steals in a game. Fultz also attained his highest season averages for minutes, points, 2PT%, 3PT%, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. He also did it in style, garnering fans with his herky-jerky style of play, underlined by his subtle strength and flashes of athleticism.
For 9-cat leagues, he topped his ADP by about 50 spots on per-game value and approximately 30 spots on totals, while he was clear of it by 70 spots for per-game 8-cat value and 40 or so spots for totals. The best part about this is that he was likely dropped due to his toe injury, so Fultz may have been a league-winning pickup for some managers. During the final two months, Fultz established himself as a comfortable mid-round fantasy player and it is difficult not to be happy for someone who had to face so much adversity early on in his career. Let’s hope for an even healthier 2023-2024 season with more strides forward.
Unfortunately, the letdown has to be star rookie, Paolo Banchero. Banchero was drafted in the middle rounds, with an ADP of 59 on ESPN and 75 on Yahoo. This was understandable, as the hype factor of a novel young player served as a compelling draft-day target for fantasy managers. However, even the best rookies tend to have struggles during their inaugural campaign, especially for fantasy. This is usually most apparent in efficiency-based categories and turnovers, as the adjustment process affects those stats the most. Rookies need to acclimatize to the pace and physicality of the NBA game, while also dealing with their newfound stardom (even for those who have been well-known since high school).
Banchero also struggled in the defensive-stat columns, but he was good in the shiny and popular “Big 3” categories of points, rebounds and assists (a little less so with the assists). Banchero’s best ranking was No. 120 for 8-cat totals, while his worst was No. 214 for 9-cat per-game value. Banchero required a double-punt build at the very least in order to return passable value, while a triple-punt build ignoring both percentages and turnovers would have been more on par with his ADP of 75 on Yahoo. The ADP of 59 on ESPN was simply too much of a reach to have had any chance of returning value. Banchero should improve next season, but it is difficult to predict how far a second-year leap may take him.
One to Watch
Orlando is a young team, so we should genuinely be keeping an eye on many of their players. The aforementioned Paolo Banchero will be looking to improve in his sophomore campaign. Franz Wagner will be looking to take the third-year leap. Markelle Fultz will be looking to maintain the progress and health he had this past season, while fringier players such as Bol Bol, Goga Bitadze, Chuma Okeke, Caleb Houstan and Kevon Harris will all be looking to improve in order to solidify their NBA roles.
However, of them all, the most intriguing may be Wendell Carter Jr. Carter has been touted as something of an “Al Horford lite” in his career. A versatile and switchable big man known for his defense, who can knock down some 3-pointers on the offensive end as well. While it isn’t a perfect like-for-like comparison, there are some definite similarities. Carter’s defensive nous is a strength and he has become a more confident 3-point shooter over the years.
Most notable was the addition of defensive stats, especially steals during the final months of the season. While 0.9 SPG is far from elite, it was enough to prop up Carter as a mid-round player during that period. If we can get around 16.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 triples, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks a game, Carter could end up being a hidden gem on draft night. He will also need to be healthier, since he has never played more than 62 games in a season. Of course, better health can work in tandem with increased confidence and consistency as we saw for Fultz this season. Hopefully it will be Carter’s turn next year.
One Burning Question
The one burning question is both a real-life and a fantasy concern moving forward. As stated at the beginning of this review, the Magic will likely have two lottery picks unless the Chicago Bulls first rounder owed to them miraculously becomes a top-4 pick despite being slated for the No. 11 spot. Their own pick has the sixth-best odds at the No. 1 spot, so that will likely result in a high-level talent if the draw goes well. How do the two new draft picks complicate this rotation further?
The preferred starting five in 2022-2023 turned out to be Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr. At times, we also saw players such as Bol Bol or Moritz Wagner in place of Harris or one of the forwards, while Cole Anthony essentially became the team’s sixth man as the the first guy off the bench. That still isn’t accounting for former lottery selection Suggs, or a healthy Jonathan Isaac — guys that should see good minutes themselves.
Lottery-projected guards such as Scoot Henderson, Amen Thompson, Ausar Thompson, Cason Wallace and Anthony Black could all be in contention as additions to this roster depending on where their picks land. While premier forward and frontcourt talents include Victor Wembanyana, Brandon Miller, Jarace Walker and Taylor Hendricks. Cam Whitmore is also a bit of a guard-forward hybrid who is also projected to leave the draft board early on and there are other unmentioned talents who could also fit this roster. Since this roster lacks shooting, a highly-touted sniper like Gradey Dick could also be a draft target. The Magic have numerous highly coveted draftees to choose from and that is the issue.
Those guys will need minutes to develop and apart from Harris, Orlando already has a young core in need of playing time to develop and grow together. Too much quality is better than too little though, so it will be a pleasant conundrum for head coach Jamahl Mosley to figure out.
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