The Orlando Magic have struggled mightily since the trade of Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Magic have failed to win more than 35 games in a single season since Howard’s departure and their best finish in the Eastern Conference has been 11th.
The Magic have been picking in the lottery the past five seasons but have failed to develop these picks into cornerstone players to turn the franchise around.
Coaching changes and an unstable front office has plagued the team and has hurt the young players chance to grow.
Here’s how the Magic’s roster looks for this upcoming year.
PG – Elfrid Payton
SG – Evan Fournier
SF – Jonathan Isaac – Draft Pick
PF – Aaron Gordon
C – Nikola Vucevic
Elfrid Payton is a solid passer at his position and a decent defender. What holds him back from taking the next step is his poor jump shot. Defenders do not respect his ability to shoot and make shots at an effective level. Payton is just a 28.9% shooter from distance over his first three seasons.
Fournier may be the teams best player at the current moment. Fournier has found a home in Orlando after playing sparse minutes in Denver. Fournier had a career season last season scoring 17 points per game and is primed to be better as he continues to grow.
Jonathon Isaac was the sixth overall selection out of Florida State. Isaac is extremely long and athletic and uses his long wingspan to be a havoc defender. Isaac is still developing an offensive game as he struggled down the stretch of the year with his shooting at Florida State. However, he is a potential building block for years to come.
Aaron Gordon is best know for his slam dunk contest win more than anything else. Gordon is entering his fourth season and last year of his rookie deal. If he wants a big contract, he needs to improve his rebounding and three point shooting. It’s time for Gordon to take the next step.
Vucevic may be the NBA’s most underrated offensive center. Vucevic is highly skilled scorer and rebounder but is an ineffective defender. He is good for about 16 points and 10 rebounds on any given night.
PG – Shelvin Mack – signed as Free Agent
PG – D.J Augustine
SG – Terrence Ross
SG – Patricio Garino
SG – Marcus Georges – Hunt – Free Agent
SF – Jonathon Simmons – Signed as Free Agent
SF – Mario Hezonja
SF – Wesley Iwundu – Draft Pick
PF – Mo Speights – Free Agent
C – Bismack Biyombo
What was a major weak spot, the Magic did a solid job of targeting mid level free agents for depth purposes. They’ve added three quality role players in Shelvin Mack, Jonathon Simmons and Mo Speights that have been a part of winning teams in years past. Each will play big minutes and have a much larger role for the upcoming Magic team.
Shelvin Mack signed a 2 year $12 million deal with the Magic to be the teams back up market. A pretty solid contract and signing for the Magic. Mack has always been underrated and showed he was a solid contributor for a good team in Utah the past two seasons.
D.J Augustine is more of a bench body at this point in his career. His numbers regressed last season with the Magic and would not be surprised if the Magic move him or cut him as the season gets closer.
Terrence Ross was the main piece acquired at the deadline in the Serge Ibaka deal. Ross gained more responsibility on offense and responded pretty nicely. He should be a key role man for the team this season.
Patricio Garino appeared in five games for the Magic last season and failed to score a single point. He’s a depth body at the end of the depth chart.
Jonathon Simmons steps in as the sixth man for the Magic. After two seasons with the Spurs, Simmons was seeking a larger role. Simmons is an athletic defender and has become a better shooter. He’ll be the go to option off the bench.
Marcus Georges-Hunt was a D-League all star a year ago. The Magic are experimenting with young players for the hope they could find a diamond in the rough. Georges-Hunt may be that guy.
Mario Hezonja was the fifth overall pick in 2015 and declined in his sophomore season. Hezonja saw a decrease in playing time and shot the ball poorly (under 30% from 3). He needs to improve significantly in his third season.
Wesley Iwundu was a do it all forward for Kansas State. Iwundu averaged 13.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game during his senior year. He’s an athletic player who may find a role with this Magic team.
Bismack Biyombo signed a four year $64 million deal last off-season with the Magic. Biyombo did not have a bad season by any stretch averaging a career high 6 points per game with 7 boards per game. However, the Magic probably want more for what they paid.
The Magic are going to be a bad again for this season. It is highly likely, the franchise will sit out of the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. The Magic are headed for another lottery pick and need to make the most of their upcoming picks.
The front office has not exactly picked players that have led to wins and have picked mostly busts. Jonathon Isaac is the potential prospect they hope to change it around.