Orlando Magic ranked 3rd most hopeless team by Sports Illustrated

Mar 10, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) reacts on the bench in the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center. The Hornets defeated the Magic 121-81. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 10, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) reacts on the bench in the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center. The Hornets defeated the Magic 121-81. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic were recently ranked by Sports Illustrated as the third most hopeless team in the NBA.

The Orlando Magic are continuing their disappointing season as Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated ranked the Orlando Magic third in most hopeless teams in the NBA. The Magic trailed only the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings in the rankings.

It comes as no surprise that the Magic appear on his list with the things this franchise has gone through. The Magic have had no luck in the past five years and have not been able to get the star to push the rebuild to the next level.

Golliver calls the Magic “Depressingly disappointing” as they failed to live up to even minimal expectations.

"Orlando’s motto should be: “Failing to live up to zero expectations.” No one ever expects anything from the Magic and yet, year after year, they find a way to be a strong disappointment. This year was especially depressing, as a new and proven coach (Frank Vogel), somewhat splashy off–season moves (Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo), and multiple former lottery picks (Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, Elfrid Payton) all fell flat to one degree or another. Instead of competing for a playoff spot and eyeing Ibaka as a long-term franchise guy, Orlando is in the Southeast Division basement again having already given up on Ibaka at the deadline. The only question now is whether GM Rob Hennigan, who has been open about his frustration with his team’s lack of progress, will call a press conference to fire himself."

Golliver cites the Magic’s unstable front office situation as further proof fo the team’s bleak future. A new general manager, he argues, will lead to another full rebuild most likely. What young players are left, he says, will get judged by a new pair of eyes and likely discarded as the new general manager tries to put his imprint on the team.

This is all to say, judging by the talent on the roster and the instability in the front office, it could be several years before the team makes a serious threat at the Playoffs again.

Despite all this, the Magic still sold their fans on the Playoffs and made it a seeming directive for the 2017 season.

Right now, the Magic are in a spot that looks like they have no idea what they are doing. And the future does look quite bleak.

Last offseason the Magic brought the better and improved defensive coach, Frank Vogel, to the team. This was one of the better coaching moves the Magic have made since Stan Van Gundy.

Vogel decided to bring a defensive mind to Orlando by going big and trading away one of their best shooting guards (Victor Oladipo) and their 2016 first round pick for power forward Serge Ibaka. Later the Magic would acquire Bismack Biyombo and a few somewhat shooters to the roster.

Instead of competing for a playoff spot and having Ibaka become a long-term franchise guy, the Magic are back at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They have already given up Ibaka at the trade deadline, lest they lose him for nothing in free agency.

The Magic once again failed another miserable season in making the NBA Playoffs. They now sit in a spot where their general manager, Rob Hennigan, has been open about his frustration with the Magic’s outcome this season.

Rob Hennigan told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

"“I think it’s fair to say that we’re struggling. I think it’s fair to say that we’re not where we want to be, and that’s the bottom line. So I think a lot of reasons contribute to the performance the team has displayed over the course of the season. I’m not sure we can pinpoint it to one area. But certainly we’re all aware of the fact that we’re struggling and we’re not where we want to be and we need to aggressively look to continue to improve the team.”"

Rumors have already circled around the front office the Magic could be looking to fire Rob Hennigan in his failure to get the Magic back on track as playoff contenders.

Related Story: Rob Hennigan’s job in jeopardy

If the Magic do indeed part ways with Hennigan, this will probably lead to another fall back for Orlando.

Fans have seen what happens when the Magic bring in a new face to the staff. For example, Scott Skiles came to this team with the same idea of getting the Magic back into the playoffs. He even seemed to be making progress on that front. That was until he decided to trade away Tobias Harris and then resigned from the Magic after one season as the Magic failed again in making the playoffs.

It put Orlando in a bigger mess. Vogel had the same goal as Skiles coming into this season and has failed so far. At least, it appears he will stick around a little longer to bring some continuity.

There is no difference from the general manager spot, if the Magic decide to fire Rob Hennigan it could push the Magic’s timeline further back. There is no promise that changing general managers will play out quickly or smoothly for the Magic.

It will take time to adjust this team back as playoff contenders, even with the promise of a top-five pick in the NBA Draft.

Next: Tanking is the only way forward for Orlando Magic

But as of right now, the Magic’s future is not completely hopeless. But it will definitely take some time to get this team back on track.