ORLANDO - Heading into next season, there are several question marks surrounding the Orlando Magic’s development.
Starting with betting odds, which places the Magic with the second worst chance to represent the East in the Play-In Tournament, along with bringing in the current Rookie of the Year favorite Paolo Banchero.
But with last year behind them, there may not be somebody with a bigger chip on their shoulder than second-year guard Jalen Suggs.
In The Athletic’s most recent article listing players and coaches with the most to prove, Suggs was the choice for Magic City.
“[Suggs] had a rough rookie year. He got hurt. He struggled shooting. His defense was strong, especially for a rookie guard, but he had issues on offense,” The Athletic said.
“If [Suggs] can improve as a shooter and playmaker, the Magic should have a really interesting future, and Orlando could turn the franchise around next season, even without a playoff appearance.”
The 21-year-old had an up-and-down rookie campaign, posting averages of 11.8 points, 4.4 assist, and 3.6 rebounds with shooting splits of 36/21/77 over 48 games.
Despite suffering multiple injuries that held him out nearly half the season, Suggs still showed immense promise, most notably on the defensive side of the ball.
According to BBall Index LEBRON Tool, Suggs ranked eighth defensively among players under the age of 21 last season, above those such as the Toronto Raptors' Scottie Barnes and Minnesota Timberwolves' Jaden McDaniels.
“LEBRON is a great stat to quickly ballpark a player's impact and provide so much context the traditional box score is lacking,” BBall Index said on their LEBRON tool.
Keeping that in mind with training camp right around the corner, the Magic and Suggs will head into this season with a ton of optimism and promise.