Saturday’s loss against the Detroit Pistons ended Orlando Magic’s NBA summer league campaign in Las Vegas with a disappointing record of 2-3. The Magic’s summer-league season came to an end with a 102-86 defeat, but they remain optimistic.
The Magic has a better solution. They see potential in players like No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero, RJ Hampton, Cole Anthony, and No. 32 pick Caleb Houstan for the upcoming season.
The Magic’s future appears brighter, but they still had to deal with three straight defeats at the end of the summer league.
In Saturday’s loss, the Magic shot 22.6 percent from outside the arc and 65.2 percent from the line while being outrebounded 37-31.
The Magic considers this summer league as an opportunity for everyone in the organization to learn and grow, despite the team’s recent setbacks.
“They did a nice job this summer in this short little season,” said Jesse Mermuys, Magic summer-league coach. “No matter what happens, you just have to keep grinding and keep believing, and that’s for everybody involved.”
There were several positives in the Magic’s game versus the Pistons. The most impressive player was Justin James, a small forward who had previously played for the Sacramento Kings for two years.
He scored 18 points in 25 minutes, making 6-of-11 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 4-for-4 free throws.
“I’m happy about my opportunities,” James said. “Obviously looking back on it, there are things you want to correct but I’m happy the way I played and I’m excited for the future.”
“So pleased as an organization, the front office did a great job of putting a really good group of human beings together,” Mermuys said. “As far as professionalism, effort and playing the right way, they all fit into our culture and did a really nice job.”
Besides James, Paolo Banchero, the Magic’s No. 1 overall choice, was a big reason for the team’s upbeat attitude after his impressive play in his first two games.
Averaging 20 points, six assists, and five rebounds each game, Banchero established his worth. Even NBA veterans with decades of experience and championship history have been pleased by the former Duke star’s mentality.
“The plays that he made that did not involve him having the basketball is why I think Paolo is gonna be one of them guys,” Draymond Green commented on his podcast. “Him getting on teammates coming in as a rookie, the winning plays that he was making down the stretch.”
NBA.com has picked Banchero’s winning play against the Sacramento Kings as the Summer League’s best play.
Summer league is more than simply a five-game stint for the Orlando Magic in the NBA. It’s a predictor of what’s to come for the team and its players.
Despite the team losses, good news came from the Magic brothers, forwards Franz and Mo Wagner have been selected to represent Germany in EuroBasket 2022.
Additionally, Indiana Pacers center Daniel Theis, who played last season for the Boston Celtics during their championship run, and free agency Dennis Schroder, who was traded for Theis by the Houston Rockets, will be competing for Germany with the Wagners as well.
Group B of the competition has Germany as one of its competitors, alongside France, Hungary, Slovenia, and Lithuania, as well as Bosnia & Herzegovina and Lithuania.
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