Photo Credit: Forbes
The look at all 30 NBA teams continues with the Magic as we continue to count down the East. Check out previous teams by clicking on the team name: Hornets / Wizards / Knicks / Pistons / Cavs / Bulls.
The Magic had a fairly stable offseason. They had no draft picks of note and lost nobody of importance. The biggest moves were resigning Vucevic and bringing in Al-Farouq Aminu. I am a big Aminu fan in the modern NBA, and I think his loss will hurt Portland a lot more than people realize. Overall his addition should help the Magic, but they already had some solid stretch 4s in Gordon and Isaac so adding him while helpful, isn’t a big game changer. Vucevic was the big news of the offseason. Many fans and analysts questioned the massive contract just 1 year after drafting Bamba, but really it was the best option. Orlando wasn’t going to lure anyone better, and while Vucevic might have been overpaid, the team can’t let an asset like that walk. Vucevic led a surprise playoff team last year, and this gives them a chance to run it back and see if they can take the next step. If not they can always look to trade him at the deadline to a contender (see Marc Gasol last year) and get value for their best asset. Bamba being there gives them lots of options and keeping him from walking was the best move they could make.
G: DJ Augustine
G: Terrance Ross
F: Johnathan Isaac
F: Aaron Gordon
C; Nikola Vucevic
Bench: Evan Fornier, Al-Farouq Aminu, Mo Bamba, and Markelle Fultz
This lineup is long and athletic especially when Bamba is in the game. Aminu will help with the shooting and this team actually complements each other very well. DJ Augustine is an underrated guard, but also is the weakest link on the team. The Magic should have targeted a player like Tyus Jones this offseason to help get back into the playoffs. Terrance Ross will need to continue last years production to prove he is worth that contract.
Prediction: 38-44 (9th in East) / Misses Playoffs
I think the Magic take a slight step backward and miss the playoffs. I have them tied with the next team on the countdown but losing the tiebreaker. The Magic stayed steady with a team that overachieved last year. This is a matter of teams like the Cavs, Bulls, and Hawks all getting slightly better and taking a few more wins off teams like the Magic.
The first major question for this team comes around the deadline. If the team is struggling back in the 7-10 seed in East again, do they try to move Vucevic? I believe the team should attempt to move him unless they take the next step and are a contender (top 5-6 team in East). This team will struggle to gain major cap flexibility, but if Bamba can take a step forward and a veteran like Aminu can help Isaac and Gordon grow maybe this team can compete. Fultz development will be something for Magic fans to watch. He will likely go down as one of the biggest busts in history, but if he can turn his career around the Magic could quickly be looking at a very good young squad in a nice state with no income taxes.
*Everything in this article was discussed with Louie Snyder