For the better part of this decade, the Orlando Magic have been a lackluster team. Really, their last meaningful year was the ’08-’09 season when the team lost the Finals. Since then, the Magic have one Eastern Conference Finals appearance, in 2010, and have not made it past the first round since. So, should the Magic have high expectations this year?
A lot of the Magic’s success will fall on 2017’s first overall pick, Markelle Fultz.
The Fultz Saga
Fultz has had a rough start to his NBA career. With massive hype heading into his NBA career, the Philadelphia 76ers traded up to secure him with the first pick. After that though, things did not go as planned.
Fultz was average at best in his time with Philadelphia. In his one and half seasons with the team he had very few stand out plays and over time his jumper seemed to regress.
Then, the news came out that Fultz was suffering from Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). This syndrome seriously inhibited his ability to shoot and impacts the nerves around the shoulder and neck.
It seemed that issues would not stop coming up for Fultz. He was then traded to the Orlando Magic.
The Magic have said that they are going to remain patient during his recovery process.
The Magic have high expectations for Fultz though. Going into this season the hype seems to be back.
Fultz has a lot of untapped potential, but his issues on and off the court may have stunted part of his development.
The 16th pick of the draft, Chuma Okeke, will be sitting this season out. Okeke is the type of player to come in and instantly make an impact. Missing him for the season may not bode well for how the team does overall this year.
The forward from Auburn tore his ACL last season and will be forced out for what would be his rookie season. Okeke’s offensive skills will be missed, especially as a young and exciting prospect.
The rest of the Magic team is made up of a lot of solid talent but they have been unable to do much with what they have.
Players like Nikola Vucevic and Mo Bamba are going to have to step up even more if the Magic are going to get passed the first round of the playoffs. Especially since, realistically, they would be a lower seed.
Missing Okeke will also likely take away from some offensive production. The Magic’s offense last season was toward the bottom of the league so any production they can get from the rest of their role players would be a serious benefit to the team.
The Magic have high expectations of their team, but it may not amount to much in the end. This team is still young and searching for an identity. It also still remains to be seen if Fultz can be a productive starting point guard much less the figurehead of a franchise.
Don’t expect the Magic to make too much noise this season. If they do make the playoffs it will be in one of the lower seeds.