We’ve seen NBA players enter the season hot after a summer of international play and Franz Wagner could be the latest player to benefit from offseason competition.
Wagner participated in EuroBasket this summer, helping his home country Germany bring home the Bronze medal. Wagner still has work to do to reach his NBA ceiling, though he showcased the play-making and three-point shooting that made Magic talent evaluators thrilled to land him at the No. 7 overall pick just a year ago.
The former Michigan star was named to the 2021-22 All-Rookie team last season, playing in 79 games for the Magic. He averaged 15.2 points per game while grabbing 4.5 rebounds and dishing out 2.9 assists.
Year 2 could bring higher heights for the 21-year-old, especially with more talent around him.
Orlando Magic Trade Watch
Rumblings about the future of Jonathan Issac with the Magic continue and Sports Illustrated’s Grant Afseth recently wrote about how Isaac’s contract may not be a hindrance to rival trade suitors.
For a potential trade suitor, there is less long-term risk associated with the idea of acquiring Isaac than what may appear on the surface. He is signed through 2024-25 and his final-year $17.4 million salary is fully non-guaranteed while his 2023-24 salary only features $7.4 million guaranteed.
Isaac hasn’t played over the last two seasons because of a series of injuries. First, the forward tore his ACL, and then, he had to undergo hamstring surgery.
Conventional wisdom may indicate that teams would want to see Isaac showcase his health in an NBA game before acquiring him, though recently, we’ve seen clubs trade for players coming back from injuries without doing so. The Rockets trading for John Wall serves as an example.
The Orlando Magic have elevated expectations entering the season after landing Paolo Banchero, though the No. 1 pick is not the only rookie who can make an impact this season.
The team selected Caleb Houston with the No. 32 overall pick in the draft and while the former Michigan wing may not see a consistent role immediately, he’s a player to watch with Gary Harris recovering from a torn meniscus in his left knee.