3 Pressing Issues for Magic Success
The Orlando Magic kick off their 30th season tonight and all eyes will be on their recent first round picks in rookie Mo Bamba and 2nd year man Jonathan Isaac. The duo along with Aaron Gordon are considered the future of the franchise. Along with their young core Orlando features a number of veteran players like Nikola Vucevic and D.J. Augustin. They key will be getting the team to mesh right out of the gates if the Magic are going to compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With the said, there are many questions heading into the season. Let’s take a look now at three pressing issues for this year’s squad that will need to be answered sooner than later.
First, how long will it take before we see some of the newcomers crack the starting lineup. Whether it’s Mo Bamba in for Vucevic or Jerian Grant replacing D.J. Augustin at the point. At some time or another this season there will be a changing of the guard with the trio of former 1st round picks (Isaac, Bamba, and Grant) becoming starters. Most likely this will happen around the holidays if not by the NBA Trade Deadline in February. There is just too much potential for the Magic to keep their youngsters coming off of the bench.
Next, can new head coach Steve Clifford break his players of any of the bad habits they have acquired in recent years? For Clifford this season is not only a fresh slate for him but his players as well. Orlando desperately needs to instill a winning culture and it appears Clifford is just the man to finally turn things around. For Clifford it starts with making the adjustments on a daily basis and continuing to build as the season progresses. For the Magic to be firing on all cylinders under Clifford they will need to be able to control their pace of play, ability to move the ball, and take advantage of an inside-out game. If Orlando can manage these three components they will set up for early season success.
Finally, who will be the team’s leading scorer? With so many viable options on the offense this will likely be someone different just about every game. Last year, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Vucevic all averaged around 17 points a game. If you mix in Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac, five different players have the potential to be the team’s leading scorer each night. That’s not even counting night’s when others get hot like D.J. Augustin, Jonathan Simmons, or Terrance Ross. Simply said, Orlando has plenty of firepower and will likely see Fournier or Gordon leading the way at least during the first half of the season before the starting lineup receives a shakeup.
Despite all the questions that have left to be answered Magic fans should expect and improved product in this 30th year for Orlando. Whether that is enough snap their 6th year playoff drought remains to be seen. But either way there will be plenty to watch as the Magic’s young core begins to take the next steps.