Season Review: Orlando Magic

It was a tough year in Orlando... 
It didn't take long for the Orlando Magic to take a long look at themselves and realize that six straight years missing the playoffs followed by two years of being bounced in the 1st round of the playoffs isn't good enough. With Jonathan Isaac missing the entire year, and Markelle Fultz only playing in 8 games due to an ACL injury, the Magic never had enough to get into the playoff picture this year - even with the expanded play-in tournament. 

I have to give credit to the Magic front office for the fact that they recognized they needed a complete rebuild. They were able to secure three 1st round picks over the next four years for the combination of Nikola Vucevic (traded to the Bulls) and Aaron Gordon (traded to the Nuggets), as well as landing rookie RJ Hampton, who won the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for May, averaging 16.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 5.6 apg in 30.2 mpg off the bench. They finally realized that although Vucevic is a nice player, an All-Star even, he was never going to get the Magic over the hump. As well, they were able to dump Aaron Gordon, who never reached his potential in a Magic uniform. 

With three of their top four scorers (Vucevic, Gordon & Evan Fournier) sent out of Orlando, their first step back to respectability will be on draft night. On top of their own high pick (they have a 14% chance to get the #1 overall draft pick) they will also have Chicago's pick, should it fall outside the top 4 (which is a 95% chance). 

Look for the Magic to add two lottery picks to a team that should see the return of Isaac and Fultz, along with Hampton. Still - it's looking like a long road back to the playoffs, and next year will more than likely result in another trip back to the lottery.  

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports