Z The 2022-23 NBA season is upon usThe Orlando Sentinel presents a five-part series of Orlando Magic storylines to follow heading into training camp, which begins Tuesday at their new state-of-the-art AdventHealth training center. The first part is considered has the Magic done enough to turn around their shooting woesfor now part two focused on issues related to trauma.

Part Three: Beginners

Paolo Bunchera and Caleb Houston took the first step in the NBA career on the same night. But the outside expectations surrounding them couldn’t be more intense at the start of their rookie season.

Houston faces minimal outside pressure as the Magic’s second-round pick (No. 32).

As the top pick in June’s NBA draft, all eyes are on Buncher.

Bunchero is used to the spotlight after being a 5-star recruit at Duke during coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season.

He was used to high expectations and accepted the pressure.

Banchero used summer league to show what he can do the type of guy people expect most to pick #1 to be

That process will continue once Magic camp begins.

Orlando has been careful not to publicly place too many expectations on Buncher, but he’s the preseason favorite for Rookie of the Year for a reason: He might be the closest option to an offensive tackle in this draft class.

The Magic are making a bet, realizing whether Banchero lives up to long-term expectations won’t be answered right away.

“We’re going to ask him to do a lot of things,” coach Jamal Mosley said The official podcast of Magic, Pod Squad. “He’s going to be at the elbow, he’s going to play basketball, he’s going to be in the post, he’s going to be on the wing — there’s going to be all these spots where he’s going to be, but he’s going to have to learn the pace at each spot. Physically, he will be able to get to the basket [and] punish the defense.”

Buncher’s physical attributes (6-10, 250 pounds) are eye-catching and should help him adjust more easily to the physical characteristics of the NBA compared to college.

“He’s going to be a guy that can get to the paint when he needs to,” Mosley added. “Get to the free throw line when he needs to, and we’re going to keep asking him to do that. He has this gift. It’s not a selfish gift because once he gets there, teams start to break down and he has the mentality to find the open man.”

For Mosley, Bunchero’s way of seeing and reading the game is just as impressive, if not more so, than his physicality.

That’s why Bunchero is expected to be one of the Magic’s top decision makers — not just as a scorer, but also as a passer, point guard/forward center and off the ball.

“He’s just physically gifted,” Mosley said, “but his mind is so similar to Franz’s [Wagner] see the game like Markel [Fultz] see the game like Wendell [Carter Jr.] you can see the game.

“The ability to know when, where, why I do it and how to do it, [Banchero] it already has it. We were watching film together during summer league and we would sit and pause the film and say, “Tell me what you see.” And he breaks things, “If he comes here, I can transfer this guy over there.” If I can turn the corner, I can go for the front.” He is breaking everything now. Because he has a pass-first mentality, it’s going to be a different decision-maker.”

It is not known where Houston, a 5-star out of Montverde Academy, will occupy in the Magic’s “decision makers” hierarchy.

Unlike Buncher, who should start from day one, Houston’s role is unclear.

Houston has the potential to knock down threes and defend at a high level, making him a strong option for the Magic on the wings.

Gary Harris performing arthroscopic surgery On August 31, he will undergo a meniscectomy left knee after tearing cartilage leaves his status in camp and the start of the season unknown. This could open up opportunities for Houston.

It also wouldn’t be surprising if the Magic forced Houston to spend time with their G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, so he could get more playing time.

Banchero will be able to prove himself in 2022-2023, and his rookie season will be focused on getting a better understanding of his skills and getting comfortable in the league.

The same will be true for Houston regarding his understanding of the league and his skill set. It is not known how and when these opportunities will open up for him.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Write Khobi Price at khprice@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.



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