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How Have Magic Sophomores Fared Through Year 2?

The Athletic's John Hollinger recently rated the top picks of the 2021 class and their progression through year two.

When the Orlando Magic held two top-10 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, the franchise knew the selections would be building blocks for the future. 

Fast forward to a year and a half later, and while the start to Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs' career's may be different, the organization still anticipates the same impact approached that draft with. 

The Athletic recently wrote a piece on many of the players from that class and how they have fared through their sophomore season, with the Magic sophomores receiving differentiating views.

"A big (6-foot-9), mobile wing with ball skills, few players are more fearless attacking shot blockers at the rim," The Athletic said. "Wagner loves to get a head of steam off the dribble and then slalom his way to the cup; he’s shooting 66 percent at the rim, according to Cleaning the Glass."

After playing his way onto the All-Rookie First Team in year one, Wagner has improved mightily on both ends of the floor, even after the Magic acquired the No. 1 pick in this past summer's draft. 

"All of this has added up to steady improvement this season, even as Paolo Banchero has taken on a big chunk of Orlando’s offense. Wagner has upped his PER from 14.7 to 16.7, his true shooting percentage from 55.9 to 58.5 and his scoring rate from 23.8 points per 100 possessions to 29.0."

Suggs, the No. 5 pick in last years draft has not quite played up to the potential the world saw in his one-and-done campaign at Gonzaga. 

"Suggs has only played in 14 games this season, and the overall trend line isn’t radically different from his rocky rookie season," The Athletic said. "The fifth pick in the draft still struggles mightily in two areas: shooting and half-court pick-and-roll offense — and those two limitations are an anchor on his stock."

With injuries limiting the guard to just 48 games in his rookie campaign and just 15 of a possible 39 games this year, Orlando and Suggs have yet to see just how impactful he can be when healthy. 

"His defense is significantly ahead of his offense, with the size and toughness to switch onto bigger players and the anticipation to swipe 2.3 steals per 100 possessions for his career. He’s also a good player in transition, with great straight-line speed and some explosiveness at the rim. Because of that, it’s possible his long-term future may be off the ball, especially if he can start hitting 3s more consistently."

The Magic is back in action tonight on the road against the Golden State Warriors

You can follow Riley Sheppard on Twitter @RileyDSheppard.

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