Paolo Banchero comes to defense of Magic teammate Franz Wagner amidst heated criticism over playoffs exit

Orlando Magic's Franz Wagner was supported by his teammate, Paolo Banchero after their game 7 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers.


Paolo Banchero comes to defense of Magic teammate Franz Wagner amidst heated criticism over playoffs exit

Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner

The Orlando Magic put on a valiant effort in the first-round playoff matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Forward Franz Wagner drew much criticism for his lackluster showing in a pivotal Game 7 loss to the Cavaliers. Meanwhile, his All-Star teammate, Paolo Banchero, will not play the blame game.

After the game, Paolo Banchero talked about the Game 7 loss. Wagner contributed six points (1/15 FG, 0/5 3PT, 4/4 FT), six rebounds and assists, one steal, and one block in his 35 minutes of play. Despite the internet and fanbase blaming Franz Wagner, Banchero chose to point out the importance of the German to the team.

We’re not here without Franz. He holds himself to a high standard & he expects a lot out of himself as a player. I’ve been in that position as well where you felt like you could’ve done a lot more in a losing effort but this doesn’t define him.
Paolo Banchero via post-game interview

Many fans deemed Wagner’s performance as one of his worst performances in the NBA. Moreover, it was also one of the worst showing in a Game 7 matchup. On the other hand, Paolo Banchero was performing extremely well in the final game of their series, dropping 38 points on the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has excelled this season, with an All-Star appearance to his name.

Nevertheless, Franz Wagner averaged 18.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game in the playoffs, as per StatMuse. This performance in the NBA playoffs will surely haunt Wagner and the Magic fans this season. It remains to be seen how Wagner will return from this harsh setback in his career.

All-Star debut will be Paolo Banchero’s biggest 2024 season takeaway

Paolo Banchero was at the helm of securing a near-win for the Orlando Magic against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA playoffs in game 7. In an attempt to lead the Magic to the second round, Banchero finished with 38 points, 16 rebounds, and three steals in what turned out to be the last match of his debut NBA playoff series, losing 106-94 to the Cavs in game 7.

However, one of the most important takeaways for Banchero this 2023-24 NBA season would be his inclusion in his first-ever NBA all-star squad. This is indeed a fantastic achievement as a second-year player making an All-Star appearance.

Banchero is developing very quickly in the sport, and the Magic could seriously push for a title. It remains to be seen how Banchero performs in the coming months for the Orlando Magic, as he has a very huge ceiling set for him to achieve.

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