Shout out to Franz Wagner- your rookie of the month in December!
These last 2 games for the Magic can be looked @ one of 2 ways…either it was just 2 more losses, with no context as to what it means…or…you can look and say- the Magic went on the road to take on the Celtics and took them to OT and then the Bulls on a back to back and pushed them to brink.
I choose the latter. I expect this team to lose. That is common for this team, especially when Tim Frazier is your point guard. This team has super-sized swiss cheese holes in the roster right now and they are still going up against the best in the east and playing well, that’s impressive. You want wins…of course, but more than anything else, you want to see this team trending in the right direction. I start to think of what this team could look like if at some point they get everyone back…or if you really want to project forward…what this team could be after a run of free-agency or another top draft pick…I start thinking of that when this team plays well…
Some will point to motivation levels-
This is one tweet I got…”do you think maybe these teams are looking past the magic?”
Well, lets see. Jaylen Brown had a career night on Sunday. Zach Lavine and Demar Derozan scored 56 and Vooch is playing against his former team. They looked pretty damn motivated to me…
You can’t be a guy who claims all teams are motivated in bowl games…and then speak out of the other side of your mouth and say good teams don’t care about playing the magic. We don’t know how to gauge motivation.
Magic Hopefulness can be widdled down to this very simple-to-understand formula:
You can only play 5 at a time in basketball, so conceivably, the Magic just need 5 good players to turn this ship around and become a night-in-night-out competitor in the NBA, which is what all Magic fans hope for.
You can already confidently say Franz Wagner is 1 of the 5 moving forward, the Magic simply got that one right. I think you can also say Cole Anthony will be a healthy contributor for this team moving forward, Orlando’s +/- with him on and off the floor speaks to his value. That’s 2 of the 5.
It would be unrealistic to say that all 3 of the Suggs, Fultz, and Isaac group will turn out to be great (or even good) NBA players. But its not unrealistic to say 1 of them will. So let’s just conservatively say, 1 of those 3 is a hit. That’s 3 of 5.
The Magic have a boat load of money to spend in free-agency next off-season, they should be able to add 1 to the list with that influx of spendable cash. That’s 4 of 5.
And the Magic, given the fact that they have the worst record in the NBA, will likely get a top 3 pick. This draft goes about 3 deep with “those guys” that you really want to add to your roster. That’s 5 of 5. Math complete.
And all of that is excluding the possibility that you hit on Wendell, Mo Bamba, RJ, or Chuma. I still believe the future is bright, not because I’m fan or an analyst…or a fanalyst (copywriting that), but because it’s a reasonable expectation.
Open Mike's poll from this morning...