UA-59049186-1 NBA Team Preview: Orlando Magic - Good if it Goes

NBA Team Preview: Orlando Magic


Draft Picks: 41. C. Stephen Zimmerman

Key Acquisitions: PF. Serge Ibaka, C. Bismack Biyombo, PG. DJ Augustin, SF. Jeff Green, SG. Jodie Meeks

Key Losses: SG. Victor Oladipo, PF. Ersan Ilyasova


Player Profiles


PG. Elfrid Payton: 6’4, 185

  • Long, playmaking PG that loves to play with ball screens.
  • Developing pick-n-roll PG that is a willing passer and has shown the ability to be a quality playmaker. Long range jump shot has improved but very much still a work in progress.
  • Active defender with all the tools to be good and can play on the ball but he still needs to work on the mental aspect of playing defense.

SG. Evan Fournier: 6’7, 205

  • Young, improving wing that can really shoot it.
  • He’s 1 of the best shooters in the NBA and is becoming 1 of the best off ball scorers in the league. He can really shoot the 3 but he’s more than that. Fournier is excellent at moving without the basketball and when he gets opportunities to finish at the rim he usually converts.
  • Mediocre defender on the perimeter.

SF. Aaron Gordon: 6’9, 220

  • Skywalking combo forward with supreme athletic ability.
  • His best offensive trait at the moment is his athleticism. Probably at his best in triple threat position where he can attack the basket and force defenders to back up which gives him more space to shoot which is an area he’s inconsistent with.
  • Incredibly long and strong player that can defend multiple positions. He can D up on the perimeter or play as big boy.

PF. Serge Ibaka: 6’10, 235

  • 3 and D big man
  • Has limited himself to strictly being a jump shooter on offense shooting long 2s and 3s. Very good mid-range shooter and decent 3 point shooter for a big man.
  • Long athletic defender who protects the rim.

C. Nikola Vucevic: 7’0, 260

  • 1 of the best offensive big men in the league.
  • Very skilled center who can score pretty much in every way inside the arc. Effective utilizing post moves on the block, finishes well at the rim as a dive man or dump off target and is a great mid-range shooter. He can also score facing up.
  • Big physical defensive presence in the interior. Not a great rim protector and doesn’t defend outside the paint very well but inside he’s a plus defensive player.



C. Bismack Biyombo: 6’9, 255

  • Undersized defensive center
  • Not a good offensive player. Limited to dunks and attempts at the rim. No jump shot or post game.
  • Elite defensive player that can take over a game on that end. He’s a big time shot blocker but even more valuable because he’s excellent defending on the perimeter as well.

SF. Jeff Green: 6’9, 235

  • Very talented but underachieving combo forward.
  • Scoring wing that gets buckets as a secondary scorer. He has the ability to put it on the floor and create for himself or make shots off the ball.
  • When motivated he can defend on the ball at a decent level but his overall defensive game is far from what it should be and the biggest issue is a lack of consistent effort.

SF. Mario Hezonja: 6’8, 218

  • 2nd year croatian wing with athleticism and untapped potential.
  • Looks very good on the move and he can jump. Gets buckets via off ball screens and utilizes those screens to shoot or penetrate and is very effective once he gets going towards the basket.
  • Can move well in a straight line but his lateral quickness isn’t quite up to par and like most rookie perimeter players took his lumps on defense at times but also showed some promise.

PG. DJ Augustin: 6’0, 183

  • Miniature quick backup PG who loves to launch 3s.
  • Very good 3 point shooter and knows it. Attempting half of his shots from beyond the arc last season and made over 40% of them.
  • Size and stature make him very limited in terms of his defensive impact. He’s a career negative defender.

SG. Jodie Meeks: 6’4, 210

  • 3 point specialist looking to bounce back from a foot injury that caused him to miss almost all of last year.
  • On the move shooter that excels at making shots flying around off-ball screens.
  • Undersized 2 guard that doesn’t contest shots well or offer a lot of resistance on defense.

PG. CJ Watson: 6’2, 175

  • Offensive-minded combo guard that never got it going last year in large part due to injury.
  • Normally a very reliable 3 point shooter throughout his career but struggled last season in the midst of recovering from a calf injury. When he’s healthy he’s a reliable 2nd unit scoring option.
  • Given his size he’s actually 1 of the better scoring combo guards at playing defense in the league. A lot of them don’t try very hard but this guy does.

SF. Damjan Rudez: 6’10, 228

  • Spot-up shooting SF that really doesn’t do much else on the floor.
  • Plays well below his measurements on offense and isn’t use for much other than standing behind the 3 point line to space the floor and launch 3s.
  • Horrific defender and rebounder.


The Orlando Magic are a team that has been stuck in the lottery for years. But this off-season already loaded with a ton of young players they opted for a different approach. Instead of drafting more lottery players they traded their 1st-round pick and other young players to get a veteran player and they signed veterans in free agency. The biggest addition was Serge Ibaka who comes over from OKC to start at PF. He gives this team something they have been severely lacking and that is rim protection. He’s also a good shoote,r so he’ll be able to help space the floor on the offensive end. He’ll be joined in the front court by Vucevic who starts at center and Aaron Gordon who makes the move from combo forward off the bench to full time starting SF. We know what Vucevic can do. He’s a highly effective offensive player that can put up points from many different spots on the floor in a variety of ways. But Gordon is the question mark. He’ll have less of an athletic advantage playing on the wing against players who match up better with his quickness than he did playing PF being guarded by slower players. To truly be effective the Magic need him to be able to knock down open 3s which defenses will be more than happy to let him shoot until he proves he can knock them down. On the other hand the additions of him and Ibaka at the 2 forward spots make the Magic a much better defensive team. In the backcourt Fournier takes over for the departed Victor Oladipo as the starting SG and Elfrid Payton returns as the starting PG. Fournier at SG makes for a much better fit pairing with Mudiay who needs to have the ball in his hands and struggles to shoot from outside. Fournier is a knock down 3 point shooter. Payton made big improvement shooting the ball from his rookie year to last year and will look to do it again in year 3. But more importantly they need him to turn it up a notch and be the lockdown defender he’s capable of being.

The Magic bench has some intriguing pieces on it. Most notably Biyombo who was the team’s big free agent acquisition. He’s a terrific defensive player that will be able to come in and keep the rim protected and anchor the 2nd unit defense when Ibaka is off the floor. The team most likely will look to forward Jeff Green, another veteran free agent pickup, to be their go to scoring option off the bench. 2nd-year man Henjoza figures to split time off the bench at both wing positions and use his athleticism to give the team a boost. Watson and Augustin will battle for backup PG minutes and Meeks will look to regain his 3-point form to garner minutes at SG. It’ll be interesting to see how the Magic split up the minutes as Watson is the better defensive player, Augustine is the better passer and pure PG and both can shoot it.



My expectations are that this is the year the Magic are at the very least back in the playoff hunt. I can’t quite go to putting them in but they certainly have a shot. They have good enough scoring and should be much improved on defense with guys like Mudiay and Gordon being more experienced and the additions of Ibaka and Biyombo to man the interior. This team still lacks a true go to offensive option that can come through when the offense breaks down but the pieces are in place for them to have success if they move the basketball and play the game the right way. Ultimately there are still too many unproven players who they are counting on offensively and are probably another trade or year away from being in the playoffs.

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