Orlando Magic 2024 NBA offseason preview: Things are just getting started

2023-24 season: 47-35

Highlight of the season: Their post All-Star play. The Magic went 17-10, cementing themselves as a legitimate winning team this season. While their 30-25 record before the break was stellar, skepticism was still widespread given the age of the primary core. Those doubts were silenced as the Magic made it to the playoffs as a top-five team in the East, proving to be a future force to take note of.

With a lot of purpose and a clear set of needs going into the summer. The Magic became an overwhelming defensive force this season, their third under head coach Jamahl Mosley, and ended the regular season as the second-best defensive team in the league. For a team with only one player above the age of 30 (Joe Ingles), that speaks volumes of their collective potential.

While most will talk about the play of Paolo Banchero, the Rookie Of the Year who made his first All-Star team this season, arguably the biggest story is the evolution of Jalen Suggs. The third-year guard did not have the best start to his professional career, struggling offensively during his first two seasons and was often a liability on the floor.

This season, however, Suggs changed his approach. Instead of trying to become a do-it-all point guard, he pivoted to becoming a 3-and-D two-guard. He worked off the playmaking of Banchero and Franz Wagner and converted 39.7% of his 3-point attempts, with 85% of them being assisted, a significant rise from the 69.4% mark over his first two seasons.

Suggs turning into a reliable shot-maker was well-timed, as Wagner, the team’s second-leading scorer, struggled with his outside shot (28.1% from 3) all season, playing a notable role in Orlando being one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA. Ingles (43.5%) was the only Orlando player who connected on over 40% from downtown this season, so the team dealt with severe spacing issues that minimized its overall efficiency.

The good news is how the Magic kept themselves relevant despite a rough offense. For a young team, being able to utilize defense and hustle players to squeeze out wins — and quite a few of them — is an enormously strong recipe for future success.

While the Magic didn’t make it far in the playoffs, they were able to respond after two miserable performances against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Games 1 and 2. The team could easily have rolled over, but kept at it, and managed to get back into the series. Now the Magic's focus changes to the offseason, where their to-do list is extremely obvious.

CLEVELAND, OHIO - MAY 05: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic looks to pass against Isaac Okoro #35 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second quarter in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on May 05, 2024 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic looks to pass against Isaac Okoro of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday during the second quarter of Game 7 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

A real point guard and 3-point shooting. Orlando has seemingly drafted half the world’s guards in recent years, but no one has really popped as a star for them just yet. The Magic need to hit the market hard this summer and find someone who can run the ship alongside Banchero, who will also handle the ball quite a bit. Whatever guard they find, that player must be a high-volume 3-point shooter. Do they have the necessary assets for Trae Young? That remains to be seen, but he would fit the archetype of player they need.

Last year the Magic invested in the backcourt, drafting guards Anthony Black and Jett Howard in the lottery. The draft this year could focus on adding size in the post with Duke's Kyle Filipowski, Yves Missi from Baylor, Kel'el Ware from Indiana or versatile 6-foot-11 G League Ignite forward Tyler Smith, who was one of the most improved players in the league. — Krysten Peek

Draft picks:

Nos. 18, 47

Orlando has one of the cleanest cap sheets in the NBA. No player is slated to make more than $17.4 million (Jonathan Isaac), and the combined cap holds of Fultz, Harris, and Chuma Okeke ($55.8 million) are expected to all be renounced. The team could also turn down its $11 million team option on Ingles to further clear up money.

The Magic should have at least $40 million to play around with, meaning they can go after big fish and offer teams to absorb players into their cap space, which for expensive teams deep into the luxury tax could be a saving grace. Expect the Magic to kick around several big ideas this summer to keep momentum going.

Key free agents

Markelle Fultz (UFA)

Gary Harris (UFA)

Get even better and go deeper into the playoffs. Orlando isn’t about to turn around and go into a more passive direction. Not after this year. The Magic are leaning into their core, they’re leaning into Banchero, and they’re leaning into the idea of building something sustainable. Magic fans have every reason to be excited.

The Magic exceeded last year's win total by 13 games, the second-highest margin in the league. Banchero earned his first All-Star berth, and Wagner put up career-highs in points, rebounds and assists. But what really caught the league by surprise was Orlando's shift in becoming a top-three defensive team, a testament to their potential for future growth and performance.

One of the most exciting developments this season was Suggs' mini-breakout. His improved defense and shooting from the field make him a promising prospect for the upcoming season. Similarly, Wendell Carter Jr. is expected to see a rise in his numbers, especially if the Magic decide not to re-sign Goga Bitadze. These potential player developments hint at a bright future for the Magic.

As we look ahead to next season, there are still some uncertainties for the Magic. It's too early to know if Black or Cole Anthony will take over point guard duties, or if Isaac can maintain his performance for fantasy relevancy. However, one thing is for sure: There's a lot to look forward to for this young Orlando unit. Don't be surprised to see the Magic invest in some much-needed shooters to pair with Banchero and Wagner this summer as they continue to shape their roster for the future. — Dan Titus