NBA Team Preview: The Orlando Magic
Over the past 5 seasons in the National Basketball Association, the Orlando Magic have very rarely found success, and the success found was meaningless. In the 2020-2021 season, the Magic went 21-52 and failed to make the playoffs. The year before, they went 33-40, made the playoffs, but lost in the opening round against the Milwaukee Bucks in 5. And the year before, they went 42-40 and then lost in 5 to the Toronto Raptors. And the two previous years they failed to make the playoffs, going 25-57 and 29-53, respectively.
This year the Magic look to swing things around. Maybe a strong playoff run is not a very reachable goal, but they look to develop chemistry for their young roster for future years and playoff runs to come.
After ending their previous season 21-52, the Magic had one thing to look forward to: a high draft pick. With this draft pick, the Magic looked to fill vacant spots in the center and forward positions. Fans hoped to select center Evan Mobley from the University of Southern California or Scottie Barnes from Florida State University. However, those two were taken by the Cavaliers and Raptors, respectively. The Magic were in a bit of a puzzling state. Should they take a forward earlier than his projected draft spot, trade down, or take generational point guard talent?
The Magic decided to choose the last option and they took Jalen Suggs, point guard from Gonzaga University.
Though the Magic have depth at the point guard spot with players like Cole Anthony, Michael Carter-Williams, Markelle Fultz, R.J. Hampton, they decided Suggs was too valuable at the 5th pick to pass up on. Then just three picks later, the Magic selected Franz Wagner, small forward from the University of Michigan.
Other than these two great rookies, the Magic signed center Robin Lopez, forward Moritz Wagner, guard R.J. Hampton, center Wendell Carter Jr., forward Otto Porter, and guard Gary Harris. Though the Magic added significant talent, they are still very young and lack experience.
Impact Player Subtractions
Just about at the end of March in 2021, the Orlando Magic dropped two massive trades that would go on to shake the entire league up. Though they gained a few guards mentioned above, these trades caused them to lose star center Nikola Vucevic and great forward Aaron Gordon.
Throughout his 9 seasons on the Magic, Vucevic averaged 17.6 points, 2.8 assists, and 10.8 rebounds. He was consistently an impactful player and a great center for the Magic. And through his 7 seasons on the Magic, Gordon averaged 12.7 points, 2.5 assists, and 6.3 rebounds. He was always a very energetic player, creating several dunk highlight reels.
These two major player subtractions created emptiness in the center position that was filled by Mo Bamba. His contribution was nowhere near that of Vucevic. Therefore, the Magic added Robin Lopez to help the young player out and make an impact on the Magic.
The key players that are guaranteed to make an impact this season are Jalen Suggs and Gary Harris. Both were key additions over the course of the last season and this off season. They both will play at a high level and will generate success for the Orlando Magic.
Magic Predictions and Odds
This seems almost like a rebuild year for the Orlando Magic. I think they need to get their players and coaches together and develop a chemistry. They have the talent to take over the league in the upcoming years. However, for this year I predict the Magic will go 24-52.
+50000 to win the NBA Championship +25000 to win the Eastern Conference +10000 to win the Southeast Division
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.