The Orlando Magic will tip-off the 2018-2019 National Basketball Association regular season tomorrow night when they face their in-state rival, the Miami Heat. What a change one year can make for the Magic, as they head into this campaign under the direction of new head coach Steve Clifford, who was recently the lead man for the Charlotte Hornets.
The former Orlando assistant, which clifford served under then head coach Stan Van Gundy, will be tasked with turning around a Magic team that won less than 30 games last season and finished second to last in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division. Orlando finished just ahead of the Atlanta Hawks in the 2017-2018 campaign.
Theres no shortage of talent on this current Magic roster, as Clifford will boast one of the younger, more promising rosters in the East. A lot will start with power forward Aaron Gordon, who inked a long-term extension with the franchise towards the end of last season. Gordon was a key player under Frank Vogel for two seasons, as the high flyer averaged 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds in around 33 per game last year.
Gordon is joined by frontcourt mate Nikola Vucevic and Mo Bamba, who was drafted 6th overall this past summer to help provide the Orlando Magic with some rim protection. Vucevic was a solid front court piece for the Magic last season, averaging 16.5 points and close to 10 boards a game. He will be pushed by the rookie Bamba, who impressed many during the preseason, not only with his defense but his long range shooting.
In the backcourt for Orlando, they return shooting Evan Fournier, who started to come into his own as one of the NBA’s sharpest 3-point shooters. Fournier averaged 17.8 points and could see his role increase this season. Joining Fournier in the backcourt is veterans DJ Augustin, who played primarily as a backup last season. Augustin averaged 10.2 points and 3.8 assists in around 23 minutes per game in 2017-2018.
Tomorrow night’s contest against the Heat is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Amway Center.