2016-17 NBA Preview: Orlando Magic
Being from and living in Orlando all my life, I should be well aware of getting my hopes up for a season. That’s exactly where I was, full of joy and bliss this offseason (not only because my boy Bron got one for the Land) but also because the Magic made some moves. Orlando sured up our frontline by traveling to Zamunda and signing two loyal workers in Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo. Orlando is giving Biyombo 70 of those thangs, and Evan Fournier 85M’s which is cool, but ties up cap space. We lost the annual “which team will sign jeff green to see if he’s the missing piece” sweepstakes and took him off the market for 15M.Throughout the summer, I felt Vogel was the best hiring of any coach because of what he did with so little in Indiana. Granted, he had a certified stud in Paul George, but what he did when PG went out with an injury was nothing short of amazing. I mean, he was stuck with Roy Fucking Hibbert. My guy runs like he has scuba gear on but whatever, he won with him. I couldn’t be happier with the Vogel signing, especially with Ibaka and Bismack there to anchor his defense. Basically what I am getting at is the Magic tied up their hands BUT, hey, at least they made some moves, right? (Right?)
What in the hell are the Magic going to do on offense? They shipped Oladipo to go play professional basketball in OKC alongside Russ (RUSS!) basically banking on Fournier to be our best offensive player. He’s shown he can score the rock, but struggles to create his own shot and playmaking abilities. Ibaka is good for the pick and pop, but it has already been said a larger offensive role will be expected of him. He was more than capable in OKC, but what will happen now that there is no KD and no Russ to get him those open looks? Frid Payton has steadily improved each season he has been in the league, but still attends Rajon Rondo’s school of shooting, which is worrisome. Defenders know to go under picks, which leaves no room for our bigs to pick and pop, or for Frid to turn the corner. I haven’t talked about Nikola Vucevic yet (Vucci Mane!). While he’s our most talented offensive player, his limitations defensively cause for some concern. Couple that with all the money thrown at Bismack and Ibaka, and you have to feel he will be the odd man out of the rotation, especially during closing time.
The man facing the most pressure is Aaron Gordon. There is no doubt that he is extremely talented and has shown signs that he can be a star on this level, but Orlando will need more from him. Vogel has been consistent with AG’s role, playing him at the 3. Great in concept because it will allow Orlando to switch on pretty much everything, but once again, hurts on offense. AG has never shown the touch from outside consistently enough to be considered a threat. Defenders will leave him open like Josh Smith and smile when he goes into his shooting motion. AG must be able to punish defenders by attacking off the closeout and hitting just enough from outside to make them respect it. IF AG can become more comfortable with handling the ball and creating for others, maybe I will be wrong about the magic and their offseason moves.
Let’s just say I have the beer on deck just in case I am right about this whole thing.