The Magic have had an up and down season so far, but is it too late to turn it all around?
There hasn't been any sort of magic in Orlando this season.
It's not because of injuries, or even a difficult schedule. It's basically just a roster that hasn't been racking up any meaningful wins. The past off-season was an indication that the Magic were ready to make that playoff push. However, with such a disappointing 16-24 record, that seems more like wishful thinking than a possibility. What went wrong? And can it be fixed in time?
First of all, the Magic's plan to build a defensive identity has fallen short. They're currently 12th in defense per game throughout the league, which isn't bad, but it needs to be better.
Also, the surplus of big men the Magic received isn't going well. They have Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, and Nikola Vucevic. Those are all solid frontcourt players. However, on the same team, it's been a waste. There's always an odd man out between these three, and with the NBA becoming more of a small ball league, this was just not a good idea. At this point, Vucevic is more trade bait than an actual key player. Serge Ibaka is a free agent this upcoming summer, so there's that nightmare to keep in mind. Last but not least, Biyombo is averaging a mere 6.1 points and 7.6 rebounds. It's not enough considering what he's getting paid.
Another problem has been the offense. The Magic are 27th in the league for points per game. That's just disgusting basketball. The Magic always have issues getting to the free throw line, having three-pointers fall, and just scoring in general. Defense is one thing, but if you can't put the ball in the hoop, then forget about winning games. Orlando doesn't have a go-to guy either, so things get messy when the offense pauses.
So it's not hard to see the Magic are a mediocre team, struggling with just about everything. However, is there enough time to fix it? Well, the Magic are 12th in the Eastern Conference.
The season isn't close to being over yet, but it's getting to that halfway point very soon. Usually when the All-Star break hits, whatever record your team has, it will determine how the rest of their season will play out. Unless the Magic can keep a strong winning streak going right now, it's virtually impossible for the Magic to sniff the playoffs. The Magic could still make a trade to turn things around. However, unless they get an All-Star scorer, there's not much a trade can do for this team this late into the season.
Overall, so far Orlando has been exactly the opposite of what they wanted to be. This is the fifth season after the Dwight Howard saga, and it seems likely it will be another 25 win season for Orlando. Again, unless something amazing happens by trade or with their current roster, things are unlikely for the Magic to turn it around. It's important the Magic keep a strong culture in their kingdom, before fans mentally check out on them.