Orlando Magic 2020 Playoff Preview
Ah, the Magic. It’s been a weird season, that’s for sure.
On the plus side, Markelle Fultz finally started showing signs that he can be a quality starting point guard. Nikola Vucevic continued to play at an All-Star level. Evan Fournier remained a solid, tough wing. Orlando’s rotational pieces looked great. Oh, and Jonathan Isaac was a bonafide front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year.
Jonathan Isaac fought injuries all season long. Aaron Gordon continued to be an awkward fit. The team still lacked a true star.
All the same, Orlando fought all season long. Despite a sub .500 winning percentage, the Magic qualified for the Eastern Conference Postseason. The team has a top-ten defense, but a bottom-ten offense. Now, they face the best team in the conference in the first round.
Biggest Strength – Defense and ball protection.
Orlando posted the eighth-most steals and the eighth-most blocks. Likewise, the Magic allowed the fifth fewest points and ranked tenth in defensive rating. They also have the second-fewest turnovers in the league.
Biggest Weakness – Offense.
While the Magic can hold their own defense, the offense was a bit of a stinker.
The Magic ranked 24th in points, 27th in field goal percentage, 25th in three-point percentage, and 23rd in offensive rating. Orlando struggled scoring the ball and now go up against an historically good defensive team.
Team’s X-Factor – Nikola Vucevic
Isaac is out due to injury, and Mo Bamba left the bubble for issues post-Covid 19. Orlando’s game down low will be limited.
Vooch is likely going to get big minutes, and he’ll have to be the go-to guy at the rim. That said, he made 2.0 threes per game on 40 percent shooting from deep in the Bubble, and Vucevic averaged 20.4 points per game. For better or for worse, the Magic will only go as far as he takes them.
Player to Watch – Aaron Gordon
Although Air Gordon hasn’t been cleared for contact work yet, he will likely be ready come tip-off of the first game.
He can work to rebuild his reputation and make a name for himself, especially if he matches up with Giannis well. (This could also be a big boost to Gordon’s future trade value.)
Estimated Playoff Run - First-round exit
Orlando is set to play the Milwaukee Bucks in round one. Without Isaac or Bamba, the Magic just don’t have the size or length to hang around with Giannis and Co.
In their three regular season games against the Bucks this season, Orlando they lost by a combined 59 points. Things don’t look good for the Magic.