Are The Orlando Magic For Real?
Many surprises have already come up this season. One of those surprises has been the Orlando Magic. Before we go any further, we are going to preface this piece by acknowledging that this is early in the year. A lot of things can still happen. However, one has to admit that the Orlando Magic being undefeated going into the new year was the last thing any NBA fan saw coming. As of January 5, 2021, the Magic possess five wins to two losses and reside at second place in the Eastern Conference. Let’s dive further into this surprising Orlando squad.
Are the Orlando Magic Legitimate?
Orlando Magic: Led by an Underrated All-Star
Many people tend to forget that the Magic do indeed have an alpha on their roster. Nikola Vucevic was an All-Star a couple of seasons ago and has been continuously overlooked throughout his career. He is a career walking double-double and is putting up great numbers again this season. As of January 5, Vucevic was tallying a career-high 21.7 points, 11.0 total rebounds, 1.1 steals, and an effective field goal percentage of 60.5 percent.
Not to mention, he was averaging the lowest defensive rating (102) since his rookie year. On top of this, he also possessed a player efficiency rating of 27.9 which is a definite career-high. He and Aaron Gordon pair nicely in Orlando’s frontcourt and certainly have an argument for being a top-five frontcourt in the NBA. Oh, and don’t let these numbers fool you. They are for real as he has gotten the better of the likes of Bam Adebayo and Andre Drummond so far this season. The Magic do have some nice pieces on their team, but it starts and ends with their All-Star in Nikola Vucevic.
Orlando’s Quality of Opponents
While it is early in the season, the Orlando Magic have had to play some tough competition. This has given merit to their hot start. They have recently defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers who are also off to a surprisingly hot start. Not to mention, Orlando has also defeated division rival and reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami to go along with out-dueling the new-look Washington Wizards twice.
Would this translate over into the tougher Western Conference? Maybe not, but the fact remains that Orlando is showing why they were in the playoffs for two straight seasons. With an actual go-to option in Nikola Vucevic and some continuity in the supporting cast consisting of Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, and Markelle Fultz, the Orlando Magic could actually make some noise this year.
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