• Russell Schmidt

NBA Future Power Rankings: 26. Orlando Magic

*Photo via Fox Sports

Orlando Magic: Orlando’s attempt at building a roster seems similar to trying to complete a puzzle with the wrong pieces. Since losing Dwight Howard, the Magic have done a good job at collecting intriguing players, the problem is these players don’t fit together and the team has no clear identity. Last offseason, the Magic signed Tobias Harris to a 4-year $64 million deal, a contract that now looks very team friendly. The Magic made the confusing decision to trade Harris at least season’s deadline for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova, a deal that essentially was a cap dump. Jennings left via free agency, and the Magic made the bold decision to trade Ilyasova, Victor Oladipo, and the 11th pick in the draft to the Thunder for Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is a very good player, but nearly all fans and experts alike agree that Orlando gave up a lot more than they received. Ibaka should be a great fit next to center Nikola Vucevic since Ibaka doesn’t operate in the paint on offense and makes up for Vucevic’s lack of rim protection on the other end of the floor. The problem with the Ibaka deal is that they gave up so much to get a player coming off a down year and on an expiring contract. Given the amount of assets given up to acquire Ibaka, resigning him is a must. Another problem with the Ibaka acquisition is that he will block Aaron Gordon from much needed playing time. Gordon is the Magic’s most promising piece and has flashed All-Star potential. Unfortunately the acquisitions of Serge Ibaka and free agents Jeff Green and Bismack Biyombo will make it even harder for Gordon (and Mario Hezonja) to develop. The Magic gave Biyombo a 4-year $68 Million contract that made absolutely no sense. Biyombo can probably play well next to Ibaka, but he is a poor fit next to Gordon and Vucevic. Perhaps the Magic plan on trading Vucevic for some much needed backcourt help. Orlando signed Jeff Green to just a one year deal, but he will be getting paid nearly the same amount as Tobias Harris this season. Green is a similar player to Harris, but he is less talented, older, and has less potential. Other moves this offseason included signing DJ Augustin to backup Elfrid Payton (even though they paid CJ Watson to do this last offseason), acquiring a much needed shooter in Jodie Meeks, and resigning Evan Fournier to a 5-year $85 Million contract. The Fournier signing is the only move that I would give a definitive thumbs up to. The Magic have a lot of good players to work with, but I’m not sure anyone has a clue what the Magic are trying to do.

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