Orlando Magic has been looking for a franchise player since doing business with Dwight Howard with the Los Angeles Lakers before the 2012-2013 season. In the nine years since then, Orlando has averaged 255-464 overall – the worst record in the NBA during that time.
Howard has picked four top-five picks and three top-eight picks in The Magic Draft since trading. None of these players appeared for the All-Star for Orlando. Victor Oladipo, the top pick of that lot, the No. 2 overall pick of 2013, could not become a star until he was in his third team with the Indiana pacers. Aaron Gordon, the No. 4 overall pick of 2014, has always been more of a role player than a focal point. Mario Hezonza rose straight as the No. 5 pick in 2015. Jonathan Isaac – the No. 6 pick in 2017 – emerged as an amazing defender, but he hasn’t played for two years now due to injury and a variety of off-court pursuits. Mo Bamba became a tough player last season as the former No. 6 pick in 2018, but the team refused to extend his first contract.
Magic picked up two top-eights last year, taking No. 5 guard Jalen Sags and No. 8 forward Franz Wagner. Wagner was particularly impressive as a Rocky, and going forward should be a great part. There is a lot of hope for the Suggs, too, but no one feels like a future All-NBA level player.
In 2022, Magic, the No. 1 overall player, has a golden opportunity to finally find their franchise player. Chet Holmgren, Xavier Smith Jr., and Paolo Banchero are all legitimate options to go first in the draft, but only one player truly matches what Magic needs.
That player is Paolo Banchero. Read our complete breakdown of why Banchero is our top prospect in this draft. That’s why Magic should be ranked No. 1 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft.