Previewing the Eastern Conference on Locked on NBA

The Eastern Conference is a jumbled mess as the NBA season gets closer. The Orlando Magic included. We previewed the conference for Locked On NBA.

The Eastern Conference will not lack for storylines this coming season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics seem like the three-horse favorites to compete for the Eastern Conference title — and really maybe only the Cavaliers have a real chance at doing that.

After those three, there are teams that seem more likely than not to make the Playoffs, but most have a lot of questions. Every team from 4-12 in the Eastern Conference — sorry Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks, injuries appear to have derailed your season. . . for now — has a legitimate expectation to make the Playoffs.

That should make for some fun basketball competition in the Eastern Conference. Every team has a flaw and a reason to believe and not believe in them.

And the Orlando Magic should be right in the thick of it.

On two recent episodes of Locked on NBA, the hosts of the Locked On podcasts for the Eastern Conference teams (including myself on behalf of Locked On Magic) previewed the teams in the Eastern Conference.

As they all note, each team has questions to answer this year:

The Magic have plenty of questions. Questions this preseason has not quite answered yet.

The team will be integrating a large number of new players with a new coach and some extreme pressure to win. There are questions about the team’s offensive ability. The whole season banks on the team taking a major defensive jump

On top of that, the Magic are hoping young players like Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton can realize more of their potential and take a more leading role with the team. They are hoping to see Serge Ibaka emerge offensive and return to his defensive dominance.

Frank Vogel also figures to transform the team into a defensive juggernaut with the addition of Bismack Biyombo.

The questions are very real. The Magic have spent their preseason trying to answer many of these questions. And there is little clue to what those answers are right now.

The Magic have to make the Playoffs though. That is the measure for success this year. That is all this team will get measured by.

As you can tell from the podcast, it is easy to argue one way or the other. I concluded in the podcast the Magic are probably going to fall a bit short of making the Playoffs. But my talking about the team’s defensive goals and identity convinced David Locke to move the Magic into the eighth seed.

That should be as great a signal as anything else of how hard it is to predict and project this Orlando Magic team.

In a week, we begin sorting through this mess of a conference.

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