Orlando Magic: Will continuity push them to the top in 2019-20?
(Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic emerged from the wilderness last season, and the focus of 2019-20 is continuing their path up the Eastern Conference.
The keyword for the Orlando Magic heading into the 2019-20 NBA season is continuity. A great ending to their last campaign concluding with a 42-40 record, the southeast division title, and most importantly, a return to the playoffs.
Their five game series against the Toronto Raptors will live long in the memory for one reason, and that was D.J. Augustin‘s game winner to give the Magic a 1-0 lead in the series. They dropped the next four outings, and everybody bar Aaron Gordon underperformed in that series, but it didn’t matter.
The organization was in bonus territory by that point, having successfully navigated themselves out of the thick forest of mediocrity that former General Manager Rob Hennigan had gotten them lost in. That made this summer such an important one, to ensure that the Magic continued their forward momentum by continuing to strive to improve.
They nailed their colors to the mast early, keeping themselves out of any trade action and only making modest free agency additions by signing Al-Farooq Aminu. Instead, they doubled down on what they already had, bringing back Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross and Khem Birch. Ross and Birch already cult heroes, even during the summer, with Vucevic a more divisive figure.
An offseason in which they were going about their business changed dramatically with the sudden content of Markelle Fultz shooting and taking part in an unofficial workout being put out there by the Magic themselves and the media in attendance. The whole day itself acting like a showcase of Fultz, to show that perhaps he really is back.
There are no restrictions on his heading into training camp either, music to the ears of Magic fans.
At one point in the hours that followed, two out of the top three stories on The Ringer’s website were about the Magic (The Fultz videos and five players to watch out for on their roster). Proof that they were returning to the consciousness of the casual fan.
It all makes for a hugely exciting 2019-20 season for the organization. But what are the key storylines to look out for? Even more importantly, how do they figure to actually do in an Eastern Conference where the best teams didn’t all necessarily improve on last season.