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WATCH: Paolo Banchero makes history in NBA debut, Magic drop season opener to Detroit

Jae Fortune

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Photo Credit: Orlando Magic

 

PAOLO HAS ARRIVED

Since his arrival in the City Beautiful, Orlando’s young star has made his presence felt around the league without actually speaking much. Before his first NBA game, the soft-spoken Paolo Banchero had already been chosen as an heir-apparent to Jordan, and lauded as the future of the league. No pressure. Tonight in Detroit, Paolo’s game spoke louder than any interview soundbite, or press release.

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In the first 48 minutes of his professional career, Paolo scored 27 points, the most ever by a Magic rookie in their NBA debut. For good measure, the rookie also racked up nine rebounds and five assists, becoming the fifth player since the merger, and the first player since LeBron James (2003), to record a 25-five-five performance in their first NBA game. Only players to be drafted as the No. 1 pick to score 25+, with 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in their debut? Lebron, Kareem, and Paolo.

“A moment that you’ve been working for my whole life – trying to get to this point right here. It’s definitely a milestone. I’m proud of myself for getting here. But also, this is the start. It’s not the end. You just have to come in and be prepared, be ready and play our best, play my hardest.”

 


MAGICAL SEASON AHEAD

Despite the No. 1 pick’s record breaking debut, the Orlando Magic fell 113-109, in the season opener. And while we wanted a win, a huge part of being a Magic fan is celebrating progress. And, Banchero & Co., gave Magic fans plenty to be excited about. For instance, Franz Wagner’s game continues to develop, as he contributed 20 points to the offensive effort for the Magic.

In fact, as explained by Head Coach Jamahl Mosely post-game, self-inflicted mistakes are the only reason the win proved out of reach for his squad. Frustrating enough: the Magic held the biggest lead of the entire game, but costly fouls and youthful mistakes in transition proved the hardest opposition of the entire night. On talent alone, the Orlando Magic will have the biggest turnaround from last year’s results.

Now, to be clear: no one in Central Florida should be mentioning a magical return to the NBA playoffs yet.

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But, that doesn’t mean we can’t can watch this team gel, fix mistakes, and muse about the endless possibilities. As the Magic regroup for a trip to Atlanta, fans also anticipate the return of Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, Jonathan Isaac and Moe Wagner to a line up that’s already good enough to win.


Opening Night is Saturday, vs. Boston. 

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic Linked to Career 38.5 3PT Shooter Player

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Malik Beasley

The Orlando Magic are one of the teams expected to pursue Malik Beasley once he hits the free agency market this July.

The Magic, who have already been linked to several incoming free agents with respectable shooting acumen, are reportedly among the teams showing some level of interest in Beasley.

Other teams linked to the sweet-shooting veterans are the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.

“Houston has identified floor spacing and shooting as an area of need this offseason privately and publicly and have an interest in veteran sharpshooter Malik Beasley,” a source close to the situation told the New York Times.

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Beasley started 77 games for the Milwaukee Bucks this past season, converting 41.3 percent of his shots from 3-point distance. He’s a career 38.5 percent three-point shooter.

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Orlando Magic

Magic Have Interest in Sweet-Shooting Point Guard

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D'Angelo Russell

The Orlando Magic has reportedly shown interest in potential free agent guard D’Angelo Russell, the Athletic reported on Wednesday, May 21.

Russell, who can opt out of his $18.7 million player option with the Los Angeles Lakers, is expected to draw interest from teams looking to shore up their shooting in their backcourt.

The 28-year-old point guard averaged 18.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 32.7 minutes per game while shooting 45.6 FG% and 41.5 3PT% during the 2023-24 season.

His numbers dipped in the playoffs as he averaged 14.2 points on 38.4 FG% and 31.8 3PT% in the five-game series with the Denver Nuggets.

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The Magic direly need some reliable shooting in their lineup for next season after shooting 35.2% from deep in the regular-season.

Aside from Russell, the Magic are also rumored as a potential destination for Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson.

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Orlando Magic Linked to Big-Time Scorer in Free Agency

According to reputable NBA insider Ramona Shelburne, the Magic are one of the teams eyeing the service of NBA All-Star Paul George.

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Paul George

The offseason officially started for the Orlando Magic seconds after the final buzzer of their 94-106 Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. According to reputable NBA insider Ramona Shelburne, the Magic are one of the teams eyeing incoming free agent Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers.

“There’s two teams that are paying very close attention to Paul George: the Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers, because both of them have the money to throw at him and need a wing just like him, a veteran guy,” Shelburne said on “the Brian Windhorst & the Hoops Collective” podcast on May 1.

Sportrac projected the Magic to have a practical cap space of $19 million, but their maximum possible cap space could balloon to as high as $58 million if they forego their team options on Jonathan Isaac, Joe Ingles, and Moritz Wagner.

Despite turning 34 once the free agency window opens, George is expected to be a hot commodity on the market because of his reputation as a flat-out scorer and above-average wing defender. He’ll be looking for his final max-level deal of at least $45 million per year before he enters the twilight years of his career.

George averaged 22.6 points on 47.1 FG%, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game during the regular season with the Clippers. His scoring production dipped a bit during the six-game series against the Mavericks, putting up 19.5 points on 41.1 FG% and 36.7 3PT%.

NBA experts expect the Magic to bring over either a legitimate shooter or a scorer who will help address the lack of shooting on their roster. George, a career 38.5 3PT% shooter, would be a solid addition to a resurging team like the Magic.

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