The Magic Are No Joke This Season
Don’t look now but the Orlando Magic are quickly exceeding expectations for this season and are one of the surprise teams in the Eastern Conference. Now if you had told me that in the off-season, I’d say that you were dreaming. But the Orlando Magic are for real, and should be considered serious playoff contenders. Already, they team has beat several quality opponents in the Cavs, Spurs, and a Pelicans team led by DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. Of course it is still very early in the season, but it appears the Magic are in prime position to snap their longest playoff skid in franchise history. Let’s take a look now at 3 reasons why Orlando needs to be taken seriously this season.
First, this year’s squad can overcome adversity. In the past, the team would simply give up when the going got tough. Now, the mentality seems to have changed, as they are more inclined to dig their heels in and fight back, which was on display during several of their come from behind victories this season. It’s tough to say what’s sparked this change, but I would say it is some combination of the influx of new players along with existing players fully buying into what Coach Frank Vogel is preaching.
Next, the team is very balanced on offense which makes it even harder for opposing teams to key in on one player. On any given night a different player can step up and be the leading scorer including off the bench. Right now four players including Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and Jonathon Simmons are averaging double digits, and three other players are averaging over 8 points a game. This balanced offense has been missing in years past and should pay dividends as the season progresses.
In addition to having a handful of scorers, the team has made it a point to improve their 3-point shooting. So far this season the team is shooting 40% from beyond the arc. But the best part is that outside scoring is coming from all over. As for what’s behind this improvement, it has a lot to do with the open looks the Magic are getting. The team has been moving the ball tremendously which has led to all of the open looks. Now, the only problem with this is that teams tend to live and die by the 3-pointer so it will be interesting to see what happens when the shots are not falling.
For now, Magic fans should sit back and enjoy this rejuvenated squad as it has been some time since Orlando was a true contender in the East. Of course, there are no guarantees that the team will keep playing at a high level, but they should at least be able to snag a playoff spot in a wide-open Eastern Conference.