Philadelphia has #TTP. Orlando has #??? Since they blew up the operation when they traded Dwight Howard in 2012, the Magic have drafted Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn, Victor Oladipo, Romero Osby, Aaron Gordon, Dario Saric, Mario Hezonja, Tyler Harvey, Domantas Sabonis, Stephen Zimmerman, Jake Layman, Jonathan Isaac, Anzejs Pasecniks, Wesley Iwundu, and Ivan Rabb. They traded away O’Quinn, Oladipo, Saric, and Sabonis. So, they basically have Gordon and Hezonja and haven’t had enough time to trade away this year’s crop of rookies. The player they traded Oladipo and Sabonis for was Serge Ibaka, who they traded away to the Raptors. They just gave Evan Fournier a five-year, $85 million contract. What’s the vision here guys? I believe that languishing in mediocrity is the worst place to be in sports. You either have to tank to try and acquire a franchise player through the draft or go for it if you’re in the position to do so. What’s the point of trying to win 30 games?
2016 record: 29-53
- Jonathan Isaac via draft
- Shelvin Mack via free agency
- Jonathon Simmons via free agency
- Marresse Speights via free agency
- Arron Afflalo via free agency
All you need to know is Biyombo and Fournier are the highest-paid players on this team at $17 million/year. Both Gordon and Elf have one more year left on their rookie deals. Borat would approve. I could see them being the 10th team in the Eastern Conference, which would probably be a 7-8 game improvement over last year. Please refer to my rhetorical question from above.
PG – Elfrid Payton is the starter and really played well down the stretch. Did you know that he was fifth in triple-dubs last season with five? I’m just rhetorical central today. Anyways, I hate the hair but like the game, although he is not the most consistent player night to night. With that said, he’s only 22 years old. D.J. Augustin and Shelvin Mack are behind on the depth chart. Augustin makes $7.25 mil/year and has two more years on his contract? Mack makes $6 mil/year? What a country. They will both get time at the backup point guard position, nuking any potential they may have had.
SG – Terrence Ross is the starter with Arron Afflalo behind him. I like Ross, as he’s super athletic and will chip in across the board. Afflalo was signed to a one-year deal and will be an oxygen mask.
SF – The Magic are super deep at small forward. Evan Fournier is slated to start and should continue to get volume. He averaged 17.2 ppg and hoisted 13.7 shots per game. Jonathon Simmons was acquired for only $6 mil/year. I guess he takes the backup small forward and shooting guard minutes. Scratch what I said about Afflalo earlier. He will now be the Gatorade guy. And there’s Mario Hezonja, who was the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and showed a little something something last season. With the demotion of Afflalo to Gatorade guy, that opens up the oxygen mask position, which Hezonja will likely fill.
PF – PF stands for both power forward and the Present and the Future. Aaron Gordon is a beast and reminds me a lot of Blake Griffin, but without the rebounding prowess. It’s crazy to think that he’s only 21 years old, yet this will be his fourth year in the league. Blake was 21 his rookie year. Jonathan Isaac was the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He’s only 19 years old and is so raw, physically and technically. I can’t see him getting too many minutes this year.
C – Nikola Vucevic was 14th in double-dubs last season. The free throw shooting isn’t terrible and he’ll dish out a few assists and contribute a steal and a block per game. There’s been chatter that he’s been working on his three-point shot. Usually it’s easy to dismiss that kind of talk, but Coach Vogel was receptive to the idea. If he can contribute there, that obviously increases his value and may allow him to play more than the 29 minutes per game he received last year. Bismack Biyombo is very athletic but won’t be challenging for significant minutes. He’s there to provide energy and defense. Marreese Speights was signed for one year, $2.1 million. It’s cool that the Magic signed him, as he’s always wanted to play for his hometown team. Plus, that guarantees at least 25 more ticket sales, depending on how many friends and family Speights has and how many free tickets he can hand out.