The Orlando Magic’s season at the midpoint is certainly disappointing. Diagnosing how the team reached this disappointment is also mystifying.
The Orlando Magic’s 2017 season has been something of a referendum on the past four years. Perhaps, it is more of a statement of the frustration of the entire process — from someone.
Whatever the case was, the Magic’s slow, methodical rebuild got injected with something. The team hoped veterans and some urgency would push the team over the top and to that next, fleeting level.
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Orlando has not quite taken to this injection and this solution. The team’s 17-26 record leaves it four games out of the final Playoff spot. That margin is not impossible to make up, but the team would have to go on some tear to get into the Playoffs. Likely a .500 record is going to be required to make it to the postseason.
It feels like the Magic are at a turning point in their franchise’s history. They cashed in a lot of chips to make the changes to the roster they made this summer. To come out with no results certainly would seem to necessitate change.
Seats are warming in the Amway Center as the pressure mounts while this season continues.
It has become a favorite exercise to relitigate the decisions from general manager Rob Hennigan and the Magic front office. Everyone wants to try to pinpoint where things went wrong for the Magic franchise.
After all, it was only a few years ago the Magic seemed like a talented group of young players lacking direction but full of promise. They quickly became cordoned off and directed in a way that did not seem to work. The team’s 19-13 start to the 2016 season was the high point before the incredible low of a January and February snooze that knocked the team out of the Playoff race.
The issues and individual moves the team made are against a backdrop of a larger project that relied on scouting, luck and development. All three of those elements succeeded and failed to varying degrees.
That is until this season seemed to speed things up quicker than normal, demanding results over the continued improvements the franchise had seen the past four years. Granting that progress was slow and there still remained a lot of questions for the future.
The Magic’s future is still in sharp focus. But it also serves to look back at the past and figure out how this team got here.
As part of our midseason review week on Locked On Magic, we chatted with our good pal Chris Barnewall of At The Hive about the Magic’s rebuild and how the team ended up in this spot.
I then joined Tuck and O’Neil on Sports Talk Florida before Monday’s game to talk about the Magic so far this season and what may come at the trade deadline.
On This Episode
A quick recap of the team’s latest loss to the Denver Nuggets
With the Orlando Magic fading from the Playoff race, what do we make of this year’s team?
The Orlando Magic in the face of their Playoff expectations
Did the Orlando Magic pick the correct mode for their rebuild? Did they respect the pace things were growing?
When do you start putting expectations on the team? What factor did Lottery luck play?
Was team building the problem? Did the Orlando Magic spend too much time simply collecting talented players rather than finding fit?
What direction should the Orlando Magic go from here?
Why do the Orlando Magic struggle responding from adversity?
When did the Orlando Magic’s problems slow?
What is the lesson of this rebuild? Is there one or was it purely circumstance?
What has Evan Fournier‘s season been like and what does his absence mean?
Be sure to follow Chris Barnewall on Twitter @chrisbarnewall and check out his writing at At The Hive. Also be sure to follow Tuck & O’Neill on Twitter
Also be sure to follow Tuck & O’Neill on Twitter @TuckAndONeill. Be sure to check out Tuck & O’Neill every weekday from 3-6 p.m. on Sports Talk Florida 1080 AM in Orlando and streaming live on SportsTalkFlorida.com.