The Orlando Magic opened up training camp yesterday afternoon and the club is coming off a 2017-2018 campaign that was full of disappointment from just about the onset. After a promising start to the season, the Magic were not able to sustain the early success they found under former head coach Frank Vogel and floundered to a record of 25-57.

Now with Vogel out as the coach and Steve Clifford hired during the off-season, Orlando has plans to compete and win in the NBA’s Eastern Conference and right away. The Magic have seen this script before with having a new coach and winning aspirations, but Clifford brings a different mentality to a youthful group of players.

This core group of players is led by the centerpiece of Aaron Gordon, who last year averaged 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game for Orlando last season. Gordon also signed a 4-year, $84-million deal and makes him the franchise’s highest paid player going into the new season.

Gordon is joined by a plethora of talented young players around him, like shooting guard Evan Fournier, who became one of the league’s more proficient 3-point shooters. Fournier becomes more of a veteran on such a young team and expect more scoring from the quick trigger shooting guard. One of the more interesting storylines to watch throughout camp is the play of 2017 first round draft pick Jonathan Isaac. Isaac spent most of his time with Orlando’s farm team, the Lakeland Magic last year.

Isaac brings an array of skills to the club if he can become a starter. The former first round pick’s long wingspan combined with potential scoring ability has everyone raving about what kind of defense the Orlando Magic can have on a nightly basis. One of the most key pieces to having a strong defense for the Magic was the selection of Mo Bamba in the 2018 NBA Draft. The former Texas product looks to be a perennial top 10 shot blocker in the NBA and his wingspan bothered a lot of teams in summer league play.

There’s plenty to follow as the Magic head into the 2018-2019 season and the team will be interesting to watch as everything unfolds heading into Orlando’s first game against the Miami Heat on October 17th.

About The Author

Andy Villamarzo has covered high school and youth sports for the Tampa Bay Times and The Tampa Tribune as a correspondent since 2008. He is a native of Holiday, FL, who graduated from Gulf High School and studied at St. Petersburg College. He has covered various prep, collegiate and professional athletes throughout his writing career, including Josh Johnson (Jacksonville Jaguars), Patrick Schuster (Arizona Diamondbacks) and currently writes for other publications like The Suncoast News, Friday Night Football Magazine and TopDrawerSoccer.com.

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