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2018-19 NBA Season Team Previews: Orlando Magic

NBA Team Preview - Orlando Magic

The Magic continue to put up disappointing season after disappointing season. Orlando cannot seem to find a solid lineup to toss out each night. This offseason Orlando once again made quite a few moves in order to try and make themselves more competitive this season. I am not convinced it worked.

Orlando finished last season with a 25-57 record. That record was second worst in the Eastern Conference and fifth worst in the entire NBA. The Magic had the sixth overall selection in the draft. They had a decent offseason and draft, but I do not believe they have anyone that can turn the franchise’s bad luck around.

Guards

The starting Point Guard for Orlando will likely be D.J. Augustin to start out the season. Augustin averaged 10.2 points and 3.8 assists per game last season. He is a solid player, but I do not believe he is a great starter. Augustin is probably the Magic’s most consistent Point Guard though.

Evan Fournier is the starting Shooting Guard for the Magic. Fournier was Orlando’s best offensive player last season. He averaged a team leading 17.8 points per game. Fournier also had 2.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game. He is the best Guard that Orlando has.

Orlando also went out and traded for Jerian Grant from the Chicago Bulls. Grant averaged 8.4 points and 4.9 assists with Chicago last season. He is a solid bench Point Guard, but he is another player that is unlikely to take over a game. He is 26, so I believe he could continue to mature his game a little bit.

Terrence Ross and Wesley Iwundu will also be Guards coming off the bench for Orlando. Ross averaged 8.7 points with Orlando is 24 games last season. Iwundu averaged 3.7 points per game. Ross is a solid bench player for the Magic, while Iwundu is not making much noise.

Departures:
Last season the Magic traded starting Point Guard Elfrid Payton. This offseason Orlando also lost Mario Hezonja and Shelvin Mack in free agency. All three players were solid rostered guys. I believe that the Magic will suffer with all the players they have lost in their Guard core because they have not gotten any solid Guards to fill those voids.

While Fournier shows quite a bit of promise, overall this Guard core looks like it should finish near the bottom of the league. The Magic is lacking a strong Point Guard and their depth is very weak. This does not look like a competitive group of Guards.

Forwards

Jonathan Simmons is the starting Small Forward on the Magic’s roster. Simmons averaged 13.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game last season. He is not anything special, but he is a solid performer. Simmons is the type of player who puts up a similar stat line every night, but never really breaks out for a huge game.

Aaron Gordan is the most exciting player on this Magic roster. Gordan is extremely athletic and has a decent shot. Last season, Gordan averaged 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He is the starting Power Forward and, in my opinion, the best player on this roster.

Orlando drafted Jonathan Isaac in the first round in 2017. Isaac did not see much time last season, but I believe he could see more time this season. In 27 appearances last season, Isaac averaged 5.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Isaac was a highly touted prospect and I believe if he gets more time this season, he could have a breakout campaign.

The Magic have Jarell Martin and Khem Birch who could both see time in off the bench this season. Martin averaged 7.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season with the Memphis Grizzlies. Birch averaged 4.2 and 4.3 rebounds per game with Orlando last season. I do not expect either player to see much time until injuries set in.

Orlando also picked up Melvin Frazier and Justin Jackson in the second round of this year’s draft. Frazier is a really solid shooter and athletic Small Forward out of Tulane. Jackson is coming out of Maryland, where he was known as a solid defender and rebounder. Both players could see some time in the Magic’s lineup this season, but I do not expect them to be big contributors.

The Forward core for Orlando is not terrible. If Isaac can break out this season, I believe he could play Power Forward, while Aaron Gordan spends some time at Small Forward. This could be a huge move in the Magic’s production. Like their Guard core though, the Forwards lack a lot of depth. Isaac entering the lineup and Simmons coming off the bench could help the depth though.

Centers

Nikola Vucevic is the starting Center for Orlando to start the season. Vucevic averaged 16.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season. He is a solid big man that can control the paint. He is not the biggest Center, but he uses his build to bully his way to the rim.

Mohamed Bamba:
With the sixth overall selection in this year’s draft, Orlando picked up Mohamed Bamba. Bamba is an extremely solid defensive Center out of the University of Texas. He could use some development offensively, but his defense should translate quickly to the NBA level. I believe Bamba will get plenty of time this season.

Orlando also added Timofey Mozgov in the offseason. He will probably see little time this season unless either Vucevic or Bamba get injured. He is a solid third Center to have as a backup though. His presence really solidifies the Magic’s Center core as the strongest position on their roster.

Overview

Orlando does not look any better than last season in my opinion. The Magic had some injury struggles last season, but they were still not very competitive when they were healthy. Orlando has some positions that are filled with solid role players, but they do not have a player to turn around this team from last season.

The addition of Mohamad Bamba should really help the rebuild get in motion, but he does not have a great offensive skill set yet. While the Magic’s defense was not great last season, they were even worse offensively. I believe Bamba will be a Star one day, but he needs time to develop his shot in the NBA.

BetOnline has the Magic listed at a win total of over/under 30 ½ wins. I do not believe Orlando did enough to turn them around for this season. The Magic have a lot of solid players to help the rebuild get in motion, but it could be another rough season. The best bet for Orlando is under the win total.

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