Do you believe in Magic? A quote engraved with time, from good ole’ Mickey D’s (the hamburger place!) to Magic Johnson, to the actual Magic. Perhaps even real magic? One can only hope. And what does this journey have to do with the aforementioned Magic? Nothing really, I just like leaving easy clues to how old I’m getting. It’s either providing catharsis or more depression, but at this point, who can tell? But speaking of which, when you think of the Magic, there’s literally just one or two “eras” that the team found success. The first was the one we all know of, the Shaq-attack in prime form, Penny, Nick Anderson, ah yes, the mid-90’s… No Diggity, No Doubt. The second age of Magic “prosperity” would probably be then the end of the 00’s, an underrated team in history that saw some dominant performances from Vince Carter and Hedo Turkoglu. But beyond that, darkness. A world without Magic, if you will. This might not be the case much longer though, the real question is, does the return of Magic begin this year? Let’s find out!

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Yes, the 1995 Magic with Shaq, Penny, 3D, Nick Anderson, and Ho Grant were my favorite team as a kid. Yes, I still have the Magic locker in my house that I got in 1995. Oh, and yes, I am currently rocking a NBA Jam shirt with Shaq and Penny on it.  Unfortunately, those guys are all retired and while some call Orlando the happiest place on earth the Magic were a pretty sad team in 2020-21. They struggled with injuries starting with Jonathan Issac who didn’t play a single game. Starter Markel Fultz played only eight games before tearing his ACL, and regular rotation guys Cole Anthony, Michael Carter-Williams, and Terrence Ross played a combined total of 126 out of a possible 216 games. The Magic finished last in FG%, 26th in 3PM,  28th in assists, and they traded two-time All-Star Nikola Vučević to Chicago at the deadline. All this led to a 21-51 record and a resignation from head coach Steve Clifford.

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The Orlando Magic have made it to the playoffs in two straight seasons and they’ll be returning with pretty much the same lineup, same head coach in Steve Clifford, and not a whole lot to be excited about except rookie Cole Anthony. Jonathan Isaac suffered a pair of devastating knee injuries which will reportedly sideline him for the entirety of the 2020-21 season.

That will leave a huge hole to fill as he averaged a shade under 29 minutes per game last season to go with 18.3% usage. Most importantly though it leaves the team with a severe lack of identity. There’s a logjam at point guard and very little to suggest they will get a different result than last season. It looks like another year of drudgery for 30-year-old Nikola Vučević and 28-year-old Evan Fournier, who should headline the offensive side of the ball.

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The Magic surprised everyone last year by earning the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs behind the strong play of Nikola Vucevic. The squad enters the 2019-20 season largely unchanged, with everyone a year older and a year more experienced. Newcomers Markelle Fultz and Al-Farouq Aminu should be welcomed additions to the team in both fantasy and real life. Aminu is a hard worker who plays his role well, and should be efficient while contributing in all areas. Fultz will hopefully provide some much needed help at the PG position, as the Magic have been relying heavily on a 31-year-old DJ Augustin. Look for them to be a playoff contender again, although they are unlikely to do a lot of damage in the early rounds.

Please, blog, may I have some more?