Preview of the NBA 2021-22 season: about the Orlando Magic. Data, results from the previous season, a look at their squad and future free agents, the objectives of the course, the player to watch and a forecast on the franchise.
- Market movements: departure of Otto Porter Jr .; arrivals of Jalen Suggs and Robin Lopez.
- Backcourt: Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, Michael Carter-Williams, Gary Harris, Jalen Suggs, R.J. Hampton, E’Twaun Moore.
- Frontcourt: Terrence Ross, Jonathan Isaac, Franz Wagner, Ignas Brazdeikis, Chuma Okeke, Moritz Wagner, Wendel Carter Jr., Mo Bamba, Robin Lopez.
This is how they face the season
After several years competing for the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Magic decided to begin deep rebuilding by trading Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, and Aaron Gordon. Almost nothing. These decisions, which implied entering fully into a stage of development for many young players, made Steve Clifford himself choose to step aside as coach of the Florida team. Without a victorious goal ahead, the veteran coach, suffering from health problems, preferred to end his time in Orlando.
The Magic’s brood of youngsters are supposed to have an ideal stage to develop without the great pressure of a team that doesn’t aspire to much this season, although saying “too much” may be excessive no matter how redundant it sounds. Newcomers Jalen Suggs – number 5 in the 2021 draft – and Franz Wagner – number 8 – will join Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac, Gary Harris and RJ Hampton to form a promising (but with few proven results until now) young nucleus on which the future plans of the franchise pass.
Likewise, the inexperience of these Magic should not be confused with their not going to fight in their matches. Regardless of the transition season ahead, there are not a few teams that would like to have a backcourt with Suggs, Fultz, Harris and Anthony, plus Isaac and Bamba in the inside game; although Isaac has played two games in the last 19 months and his physical condition is unknown. It is assumed that with time, and a correct development, its young core can bring some joy to leaders and fans if the right circumstances are given.
What is clear is that the season will bring them losing streaks as a result of their inexperience. But these will be the key moments for this team, in which the board will have to decide whether to maintain the reconstruction project against all odds or make moves in the market by getting rid of a young man they do not trust so much, in exchange for receiving toxic contracts and more draft picks.
Another factor to take into account for Orlando will be injuries. Health has not been noted for accompanying the short careers of Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac (not to mention Michael Carter-Williams). Fultz will have a new chance to showcase all the talent that led him to become a first draft pick. While Isaac, who already promised a lot with an elite defensive potential, will also be able to continue increasing the qualities of his game if the constant physical problems of recent years leave him.
With so many promising names, the Magic’s outside game looks to be in good hands going forward, even if the results are not to come this season. But different is the case of the inside game for the Orlando franchise. It’s not yet clear who will weigh the most in the rotation between Wendel Carter Jr., Mo Bamba, and newcomer Robin Lopez.
Surely the veteran of Lopez brings a positive impact on the development of Bamba and Carter Jr., and the logical thing would be that it does not rob them too many minutes. But we’ll have to wait until the start of the season (or have a little sneak peek at the training camp) to know the holders who will accompany Isaac under the boards of this team; although it is not yet known when it will be available.
Magic fans will have to be prepared for the losses that are going to come by the dozen; but as a reward there is the possibility that with the names they have on the squad they will be a fun team to see if their health is with them. It wouldn’t be surprising if Orlando becomes the showy Charlotte Hornets of this 2021-22 season.
The player to watch
There is no player who comes out of memory when it comes to who to follow in the Magic. That said, the franchise’s plans are likely to make Jalen Suggs the standard-bearer for its new rebuild.
The pick 5 of the last draft will have to dispute a position as a starter against Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris and Cole Anthony. A task that will not be easy, but he comes from college basketball with the necessary scrolls to become the Magic franchise player, if his development accompanies him.
Suggs comes to the NBA as an outsider capable of playing point guard or guard, as he can be involved in both scoring and generating the team’s play. This style makes us think, at first, that it will give more freedom to Cole Anthony or Markelle Fultz to develop as scorers in the squad led by Mosley.
In addition, the rookie is expected to make a big impact within the team with his defensive ability. So it makes it look ideal for a natural scorer like Anthony, who is surrounded by a specialist trio on the other side of the court like the one Isaac, Suggs and Harris can form.
On the other hand, it goes without saying that the situation of the Florida team seems to suit the development of Suggs and his accumulation of minutes, without any obligation as far as results are concerned.
Elio Martínez, director of Trends Wide, leaves a personal and subjective forecast on what he thinks each franchise will do during the 2020-21 season.
If in recent years I complained about the boring of the Orlando plan because I did not see them heading to a specific place, this year I have no doubts: the worst team in the Eastern Conference. It would be very surprising if they had 25 victories in their rounds despite having ‘the advantage’ of playing seven games against two teams from the same league, the Cavs and the Pistons.
Previous team analyzed: Oklahoma City Thunder. Next team tested: Minnesota Timberwolves.
(Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)