The Magic had yet again a rough year, finishing with only 35 wins and a spot in the lottery. However, they have a strong core at just about all of the positions. None of these guys will become superstars, but they are all valuable starters that the team can move forward with. I think it is very likely that the Magic will work on getting a better bench to surround Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Vucevic. With such a young core, it will be interesting to see if they keep that theme throughout their roster or if they look to add more veteran leadership off the bench.
Here are the per game statistics for the 2015-2016 Orlando Magic:
W-L FG% 3P% FT FTA ORB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS 35-47 .455 .350 15.2 20.1 10.3 23.6 8.2 5.1 14.1 20.7 102.1
Here are the per game statistics for their opponents:
W-L FG% 3P% FT FTA ORB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS 47-35 .460 .359 17.9 24.0 10.1 23.2 7.6 5.5 15.1 18.3 103.7
When it comes to that bench, it is vital to look at their reserves and which ones will remain on the team. The first of these players is Mario Hezonja, their former fifth overall pick. He will definitely be retained as a valuable part of the future as either a starter or a sixth man. The next two guys are DeWayne Dedmon and Jason Smith. Both of these players will likely be brought back for bench roles, so the team has filled out 8 of their major spots on the roster. When it comes to the rest of the bench, it is likely that most of them will depart for bigger roles (especially Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings).
Whilst holding the #11 pick in the Draft, the Magic will probably look for the best prospect available. With a team that is developing for the future, taking a young talent with lots of upside seems to be the best play. Those players would include Skal Labissiere, Deyonta Davis, and Jaylen Brown. These are all players with solid athleticism and lots of possibilities to play different positions in the front court. Adding a versatile player like those three would help on a roster that could have many different lineups on the court. If, however, one of the top prospects slips out of the top ten, it would be no surprise for the Magic to swoop in and select him. The most likely of these players would be Jakob Poeltl, who has a shorter ceiling than most of the prospects, but could still be a valuable starting center in the NBA.
The Magic do have lots of cap space when it comes to free agency, so they could look to add a big name. Although they have Vucevic and Gordon, it would not be a surprise for Orlando to add another big man in order to trade one of those two. I think that it would be a good fit for them to try to attract someone like Al Horford or Joakim Noah (and maybe hire Billy Donavan away from Oklahoma City, just kidding). Horford is a still an elite center and if Noah is healthy, maybe he can return to close to what he used to be when he won Defensive Player of the Year in 2014.
The puzzle is not quite complete for the Magic to return to the top of the East, but at least they have most of the pieces on the board. With another lottery pick and some savvy free agent moves, we might see them creep back into the playoffs next season prior to (cross your fingers Magic fans) a big year up into the category of contender.
Previous Offseason Forecast: Milwaukee Bucks (34-48).
Next Offseason Forecast: Utah Jazz (40-42).
And that’s all I have for now, so this is me…signing off. -Lukas.