Moe Wagner says Orlando Magic are on ‘the right trajectory’

ORLANDO – Few Orlando Magic players have experienced the ups and downs that Moe Wagner has endured in his career.

After the Los Angeles Lakers drafted him in 2018, Wagner spent the early part of his career bouncing from team to team. The Lakers traded him to the Washington Wizards in 2019. He played for them and the Boston Celtics in the 2020-21 season before being released and landing with Orlando at the beginning of their rebuild.

Now, Wagner has been an integral part of the Magic’s evolution from a lottery team to a 47-35 record, a playoff berth and a bright future.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that the right trajectory is being followed,” Wagner said. “People pull the same strings and want to get somewhere here. Good things take time. I think this was a great step. I firmly believe that you don’t need to lose to learn, (but) unfortunately, it seems to be part of it. “

Wagner was instrumental in Orlando’s success this season, as he averaged a career-best 10.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game off the bench. His scoring ability helped the Magic rank fourth in bench points with 41.5 per game.

His brother, Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs and Paolo Banchero have been at the center of Orlando’s resurgence. They were the Magic’s top three scorers in the regular season and playoffs and are the first trio under the age of 23 to each score 20 or more points in a playoff game since Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka did so for the Magic. Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011.

Those three young Magic stars, the core of the NBA’s fifth-youngest roster, legitimize the hope that Orlando can become a perennial playoff team and a contender in the Eastern Conference.

“Understanding where we came from two or three years ago, when (coach Jamahl Mosley) first came here (and) we were halfway away from advancing out of the second round,” Wagner said. “So there are definitely a lot of positives for us as a young group and we’re going to take advantage of that this summer and we’re going to come back stronger.”

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