The team was getting off to slow starts. They were struggling to generate consistent offense and defense. The identity for the team was failing to take hold. The Magic were an uncertain mess and still have a ton of uncertainty.
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Even at 3-5 entering Friday’s game, the Magic were seeking some stability. Their start was full of moments, a few gutsy wins and a lot of frustration. The Magic still are the worst shooting team in the league.
And Friday’s 33.3 percent shooting performance in an 87-74 loss to the Utah Jazz is not dissuading any concerns about the offense. The Magic missed 12 consecutive shots in the fourth quarter, losing a four-point lead and trailing by double digits to a defeat.
The ending to that game was a source of frustration. And shed no more light on the team.
Especially after the big decision Frank Vogel made for his team beforehand.
The Magic opted to start Jeff Green over Aaron Gordon in a puzzling decision considering Aaron Gordon’s defensive acumen. The rationale was to add more veterans to the lineup to relieve pressure on the other young players. The hope was also to have Gordon with the bench to play offensively with a little more freedom.
The results were mixed in Friday’s game. Jeff Green was a virtual non-factor, but Gordon’s energy was critical to close the gap in the second half.
The lineup change brought up big questions about the Magic. Just like any lineup change would. The Magic lost their third consecutive game to fall to 3-6 and there are still a ton of questions about the team’s defensive and offensive consistency.
With so much at stake, every move from the Magic gets a special amount of scrutiny. Both the present and the future are constantly at stake.
To sort through the first 10 games of the season, Chris Barnewall of The Step Back joined a special edition of the Locked On Magic podcast to recap Friday’s game and break down the Magic’s first 10 games. Plus the lineup change:
There are certainly a lot of issues with the Orlando Magic. The roster itself seems very flawed and it is uncertain whether the whole thing will fit together. Clearly not only a lineup change in some respects.
The Magic are trying to figure out how to make the most of their roster. They have shown flashes of what they can be on both offense and defense. But it will still take a lot of work for the Magic to get to where they want to be — a top-10 defense, at the very least, and a Playoff team beyond that.
There is still time to fix things and find that combination that works. It sure looks like Vogel is trying.
The early returns though have not been encouraging. And so these big questions remain. And the Magic continue to experiment with some type of change.