Last season: 22-60; thirtieth in offense, seventeenth in defenseKey additions: SF Bol BolKey subtractions: C Robin Lopez, PF Ignas BrazdeikisDraft picks: PF Paolo Banchero (first), SF Caleb Houstan (thirty second)
April 13, 2019, wasn’t much of a high-water mark, but it should need to do for now. That was the day the Orlando Magic won Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the eventual champion Toronto Raptors. It was the crowning moment of a 42-40 regular season, a cut-off date that represents the one winning season and considered one of only two playoff wins in 10 post-“Dwightmare” seasons. In six of those 10 seasons, the Magic won between 20 and 25 games, including the last two.
Who’s able to make it seven of 11? It’s been a rough go … and it’s fair to ask when the misery ends. Fortunately, some flickers of sunshine emanate from a distant tunnel. The Magic’s intentional pivot away from quasi-respectable mediocrity within the 2020-21 season has already reaped the advantages of a lottery pick from Chicago that was Franz Wagner and a denuded roster bad enough to nab the highest pick within the 2022 draft and land Banchero.
Other pieces have joined the assemblage as well, and whilst the Magic got their brains beat in last season, a few them made noticeable strides.