5 Things We’ve Learned From The Magic
The first game of the 2017-2018 season is in the books for the Orlando Magic and so far, the team is off to a great start by beating the Heat. Now if they can stay the course over the next 81 games, there is no reason this team can’t grab the 8th and final playoff spot in a watered down Eastern Conference. Let’s take a look now at what we’ve learned from game 1:
The Magic can handle adversity
After a sluggish start to the game, Orlando showed that it had now problem weathering the storm and getting right back into the game. They did so by picking it up at the defensive end as they limited Miami to just 18 2nd quarter points. Orlando also turned it on defensively when they saw their double-digit lead shrink to just two points down the stretch. This will be huge if they can pick up their play when it matters most.
Jonathon Simmons was a steal
At roughly $6 million dollars a year Jonathon Simmons is proving to be a great new edition to the squad. Not only is he athletic, but he can generate offense by himself at times. It also would not surprise me if he is the leading scorer for the Magic from time to time. Simmons has a huge upside with his ability to play multiple positions as well his lock down perimeter defense. The future looks bright for Simmons and the Magic.
Improved 3-point shooting
Heading into the offseason the Magic made it clear that improving their 3-point shooting was going to be a priority. So far in a small sample size it appears that they have done that as they shot 38% from beyond the arc. Leading the way in the season opener was Evan Fournier and Terrance Ross, who had three 3-pointers each. Of course, this trend will need to continue for more than just one game to see if the team has truly improved from the 3-point line.
Rookie Jonathan Isaac is ready to contribute
Despite some first game jitters, the 6th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft showed that he belongs at the NBA level. Isaac was solid on defense and grabbed 8 rebounds in his debut. He also showed that he’s capable of knocking down a shot despite only attempting three shots against the Heat. Isaac’s lone miss was on a 3-pointer. Let’s just hope that rookie remembers to put on his jersey next game, as the equipment manager had to bring it to him about half-way through the 1st quarter! Isaac say he was just caught up in all the excitement that he completely forgot about putting it on.
Evan Fournier is emerging as the team’s leader
While its not just all about scoring, Evan Fournier is showing that he can control the offense. When the Magic needed points the most, he stepped up and created his offense., whether it was taking it the hole or pulling up for a 3-pointer. Fournier is displaying the kind of swagger that Orlando has been missing for some time. Let’s just hope that he can keep leading this team.