Three Things For The Orlando Magic To Look Forward To This Season
By Space Coast Daily // August 30, 2021
The Orlando Magic are once again in the NBA wilderness. After a couple of seasons at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Orlando went 21-51 last season, and finished 14th in the East.
No team has longer odds to win the title than the Magic, according to sidelines.io sports odds comparison website.
However, they are tied at an unfathomable (+50000) with Cleveland/Detroit/Houston and Oklahoma. In the depths of a rebuild having traded Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier at the trade deadline last season, the Magic are focused on player development in 2021/22.
That doesn’t mean it’s a lost season, however.
Here are three things for the Orlando Magic, and their long-suffering fans, to look forward to in 2021/22.
The Magic were the winners of the 2021 NBA Draft. It was a stroke of immense fortune for Jalen Suggs to fall to them at fifth overall. They then landed two-way forward Franz Wagner with the eighth overall pick.
Some believe Suggs should have gone in the top three. Wagner is a 6’9 playmaker who slots seamlessly alongside Suggs with the capability to play on or off the ball. The combination of Wagner’s switchable defense and passing him makes him an ideal fit as Orlando looks to develop this young core.
Before injuring his thumb, Suggs justified the hype at Summer League. He’s a high-IQ super-athlete. While Orlando has a logjam in the backcourt, Suggs’ minutes are going to be a must-watch throughout this season.
Returning Key Men
Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac are on their way back. With both receiving hefty contract extensions not so long ago, Orlando has backed their talent and is banking on development from both.
Fultz has looked more comfortable with the Magic. He’s shown he can defend well at the NBA level, and there are signs he could yet regain some sort of outside shot.
Isaac is a Defensive Player of the Year caliber player. His position is clearer with Aaron Gordon off the team, but Orlando still needs an uptick in his three-point shooting over the next 12 months or so. If he can diversify his offensive game, Isaac could yet become a fringe All-Star.
Acquiring Gary Harris in the Gordon trade and keeping Terrence Ross past last season’s deadline, Orlando still has veterans to flip in 2021/22.
Getting rid of solid NBA players might not excite every Magic fan but landing more picks can only help the long-term direction of this team. Perhaps Harris can rebuild some value after a rough couple of seasons. Ross should garner a protected first or a couple of seconds as a bench scorer for a contender.
Draft evaluators are high on the 2022 class. Any extra draft assets are valuable to Orlando at this point. They are at least a couple of seasons away from contending for a playoff spot, even if they see solid development from Fultz, Isaac and Cole Anthony.