At 18-39, the Orlando Magic mid-season couldn’t have come any sooner. The Magic currently sit second to last place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference and because of a myriad of injuries and inconsistency, Orlando can only look back through the first 57 games of the season and diagnosis what went wrong.
For starters, injuries to players like Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier have forced Orlando coach Frank Vogel to mix and match his lineups constantly, with guys like Jonathan Simmons and D.J. Augustin sewing ample time as starters. Also the development at the point guard position has taken a step back, as Orlando traded away Elfrid Payton to the Phoenix Suns for a draft pick and no real plan in replacing him.
One of the problems with guys like Simmons and Augustin getting inserted into starting roles was the plan before the season was to have them infuse energy off the bench for the Magic. At the Orlando Magic mid-season, that has not come into fruition whatsoever.
The organization is saying all the right things in not wanting to give way to ‘tanking’ the final 25 games of the regular season in hopes of nabbing a top 5 draft pick, but in reality, Orlando is hoping that may end up being the case. The Magic will have a lot of areas they will need to address once the season concludes.
Is Vogel the right man for the job? For a team that looked to be trending in the right direction 12 games through the regular season and sitting at 8-4, they’ve gone completely downhill since then. Orlando is 10-35 in the 45 games following and despite a couple moments against contenders like the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, the Magic have looked anything but the part.
Some other questions will come regarding the roster makeup of the team. Will Gordon be on the trading block or will he be signed long-term? Who will take over the point guard position full-time? There’s a lot more questions than answers for the Orlando Magic at the mid-season point and the future only gives way to a lot more pondering of what’s to come.