The Orlando Magic started the new NBA season in a predictable way. With a roster that is mostly built to tank, the Magic lost their first two games. The New York Knicks defeated them by 25 and the San Antonio Spurs by 26. Unfortunately for Jamahl Mosley, the new head coach of the Magic, it has not looked good and it was the defeat against the Spurs that hurts most. The Spurs do not have that much more talent than the Magic, yet the win seemed very easy for the Texan franchise.
Regardless, it has only been two games and the Magic can still turn it around. They still have a team full of young guns who can be motivated to show their talent over the season. Additionally, Gary Harris, Mo Bamba, and Michael Carter-Williams are in their contract years. Usually, that is when guys try even harder to get a new contract and remain in the league.
Even with a poor start, there is still some belief that the Magic can be better. Thus, here are four bold predictions for the Orlando Magic in the ongoing NBA season!
Orlando Magic Bold Predictions
Franz Wagner will be in contention for Rookie of the Year
While most of the analysts have either Jalen Green or Cade Cunningham winning this award, Wagner might pull it out. In the first two games, the former Michigan player scored an efficient 14 points per game. He also shot 57.1% from both the field and from three. This is all coming from a player not really known for his offensive efficiency in college. There were concerns about how his offense will transition into the league, but it has been great.
Of course, there is a lot of candidates and it is early to say. However, Wagner has tons of potential and what seemed like a stretch on draft night, might turn out as an amazing move by the Magic front office. With Aaron Gordon gone in the middle of last season, they needed a presence on the wings. Wagner seems like a great option now and the Magic hopes that he will keep up his form and efficiency.
The Magic will be in contention for the play-in
To be realistic, to be in the play-in in the East is not an impressive feat. This is the conference where, usually, around three teams are eliminated from any contention by the start of the year. However, for the quality of the Magic roster, being in contention for anything but a higher draft pick is not bad.
The Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers are, more or less, already out. Thus, the Magic need to be around the level of three franchises to be in contention for the tenth place and a spot in the tournament. The Indiana Pacers will definitely struggle without Caris LeVert for the first couple of months, the Toronto Raptors do not have the same strength as a few seasons ago, while the Washington Wizards have been successful but it does not seem like it will be sustainable. There are opportunities for the Magic, it is only about using it in the best possible way.
Mo Bamba will continue his great form from the start of the season
It seems like that, at least for the Magic young center, second coach is the charm. After struggling heavily under the stringent Steve Clifford, Bamba opened the season in a great way. He played 61 minutes in the two games, scoring 18 and 15 points respectfully. He also shot 70% from the field and hit six threes in nine attempts.
Of course, this level of efficiency is unattainable for the entire season, but as long as he shoots above 33% on threes and around 60% from the field, Bamba can have a truly career-changing season. It also has to be considered that Bamba was never supposed to be good in the offensive part of the court. He was drafted as a defensive phenom, and he is holding his own on that end as well. He had an impressive four blocks against the Spurs in the 27 minutes he spent on the court.
Bamba is someone that can turn around this Magic team into something great. While his first two games did not yield much team success, it was not his fault. The former Texas center did his absolute best and if he can hold himself at this level, his teammates can join him and the Magic can really make the East postseason battle interesting.
Jamahl Mosley will be a great coach in the league
Maybe this is not the greatest thing to say considering that the Magic lost the first two games by a combined 51 point difference. However, Mosley was handed a team that is currently without Carter-Williams, Jonathan Isaac, Gary Harris, and Markelle Fultz. These four guys are instantly in the rotation and at least three of them are surefire starters.
The early play of Bamba and Wagner shows that Mosley might be able to extract the best out of his guys. The Magic trusted Mosley enough to give him a four-year contract and if he can improve when at least some of his best guys are back, he will show why he deserves it. Regardless of results, this season is clearly about development and the minutes given to the young guys are a good sign.
The Magic will have a tough season but they still have an interesting roster that might surprise people around the league.