A Playoff Birth is the Expectation for Paolo Banchero and Jalen Suggs

The Orlando Magic held media day on Monday afternoon at the AdventHealth Training Center. Brandon and I sat down with some of the biggest stars for exclusive In The Zone interviews.

Here were some of my biggest takeaways...

1) Making the playoffs is the expectation of this group

When asked what Paolo's goals were for this season, he without hesitation mentioned not only personal accolades, but more importantly team success - making the playoffs. Catch Paolo's full interview below.

Third-year guard Jalen Suggs also hopped in on the action, disregarding the goal of making the play-in, and setting the goal of finishing as a top-6 seed and making the playoffs. You can listen to Jalen's full interview below to hear about his goals for this season, along with his growth not only on the court, but in his personal life as well.

2) For the first time in a long time, the team is completely healthy heading into training camp

This isn't a stretch. From one end of the bench to the other, there is not a single major injury to note for this Orlando Magic roster. No boots, no braces, no casts, nothing. That has come to be an anomaly the last couple of seasons for a team which has been one of the more injured in the league.

This is a huge advantage for the Magic heading into the 2023 training camp. Last season, veteran forward Jonathan Isaac was still recovering from knee surgery that sidelined him for over 900 days. Additionally, Markelle Fultz missed the first chunk of the season, suffering a big toe injury only days before training camp. Combining the factors of injuries and the Magic being one of the youngest teams in the league, led to a 5-20 start and a spot in the basement of the Eastern Conference standings. Once the team was settled into the season and healthy (sort of), the Magic finished the season 29-28. With the play-in tournament being here to stay in the NBA, a .500+ record will most likely earn you a postseason birth.

3) This isn't the "morale victories" team we saw last season. They're here to win games

Last season, the Magic were riding off of the high of being the 4th youngest team in the league and optimistic of their No. 1 overall pick in Banchero. I think the Magic community knew that the success of the season wasn't going to be measured based on wins and losses. Instead, it was often times the hope of seeing growth amongst the young players.

The script has flipped this year. Although this may be a young team age-wise, they have the mentality of vets. Many players mentioned having a "chip on their shoulder" and "something to prove" for an organization that has not finished higher than the No. 7 seed in the conference since the 2011-2012 season. This team is on a mission.

4) Joe Ingles might be the new fan favorite

You're just going to have to trust me and listen to the full interview with Joe to grasp this one.

You can catch all of our exclusive ITZ interviews form the 2023 Orlando Magic media day at the link below.

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