When you hear about the Orlando Magic on ESPN or read about them in the paper, you mostly hear about Cole Anthony’s electrifying performances, Jalen Suggs’ crazy dunks and Franz Wagner’s play on both sides of the ball. It is because they are the favorite and most exciting players.
But it is time to give credit where credit is due.
The Magic’s centers have been doing the dirty work and not receiving as much media buzz because they do not do behind-the-back passes and flashy dunks. The Magic’s centers last year actually accounted for one-third of the team’s points which is the most by any position group.
They were just solid and dependable. Even if they were not racking up the highlights. It is something the Magic will need them to do again.
The Orlando Magic’s group of centers do not get the headlines or the highlights of this young group. But they are big part of the heartbeat and the foundation for this team’s potential success.
Players like Wendell Carter, Mo Bamba and Moe Wagner have been playing great basketball and it is undeniable. With the new addition of Bol Bol, this could be the most polished and aggressive position group on the team that is ready to win games. And their play shows for it.
All of the Magic’s centers played in at least 62 games and they were terrific. They combined for a total of 34.6 points per game lead by Carter’s 15.0 points per game, followed by Bamba’s 10.6 points per game and then Wagner’s 9.0 points per game.
For them to have to split time and stagger minutes, they were scoring in abundances in all aspects.
Wendell Carter’s expansion
Wendell Carter is normally known for his scoring down low, but he expanded his game tremendously this year. He did have a great inside scoring year as he shot 78.1-percent from three feet, 75.0-percent within five feet, which was 12th best in the league, and 65.5-percent from within 10 feet. But that is expected of him.
It was the expansion of a mid-range game and a three-point shot that really brought him to the next level.
He shot 47 percent between 10 feet and the three-point line. He shot 55 percent on pull-up mid-range shots and 49 percent on catch-and-shoot mid-range shots.
But what is even more impressive is the addition of a three-point shot to his game. That really began to open up his offensive potential.
For the first time in his career, he made at least one three per game, making 1.1 per game. He made 70 threes this year which is way more than his second best of 15 threes in a season and these numbers should only continue to grow and grow as he works on his shot more.
He made these threes at a pretty efficient rate as well. Carter shot 32.7 percent from three and even shot 36.4 percent from the corner.
The ability he has gained to space the floor opens up a whole new world for the Magic’s offense and could bring their offense to whole new levels. A five-man lineup on the court where everyone can shoot is a dangerous five.
Carter’s ability to space the floor will not only make him a tougher guard but open up space for his teammates. If he can bring opposing starting centers out of the paint, he opens up a wide-open lane for players like Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero who love to attack the basket.
He also averaged 2.2 offensive rebounds per game which was 21st in the league. Second chance points for him and his teammates are huge. Giving him easy opportunities under the basket and allowing to make shots for his teammates is another thing that makes him an even bigger offensive threat.
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