Orlando Magic

The Magic’s breakout player will be…

The Magic’s breakout player this season will be Jonathan Isaac. Isaac has teased us in his first two years with his potential, and last year showed more on both ends of the court that make Magic fans salivate. Isaac has all the tools to be one of the best defensive players in the league, and once his offense comes around, he’s going to be dangerous. Players raved about how he’s looked in workouts at media day, including Terrence Ross saying “he’s a giraffe that runs like a lion.”

It all goes wrong if…

It all goes wrong if the Magic are plagued by injuries. Two years ago, the Magic lost the likes of Isaac, Ross, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Vucevic, to a rash of injuries. Last season they were incredibly healthy all season. If they’re hit with injuries to key players like they were two years ago, it could be a long year.

What we’ll be saying about the Magic at the end of the season…

We’ll be saying the Magic took another step forward, but there’s still some questions about how the pieces fit together. With Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu and Chuma Okeke at the forward spots, and Nikola Vucevic, Mo Bamba and Khem Birch at center, the Magic have a lot of guys in the front court, and likely not enough minutes to spread around. How they manage those minutes this season will give us a little idea of how they view the pieces, but adding Okeke next season will once again arise more questions.

Final prediction

Vegas’ over/under of 40.5 for the Magic is a bit low. This is a team that, across the second half of last season, was the best defense in the league, and brought back their entire core. In year two under Steve Clifford, and with the continuity they haven’t had between coach and roster in recent years, they’re likely to take a step forward from where they finished at 42-40 last season. I think they take a small step forward this season and finish 45-37.

Final prediction: 45-37

Zach Oliver (@ZachOliverNBA)