The Orlando Magic are 0-0 and filled with hope, possibility again

Jun 12, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Trophy after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game five of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 12, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Trophy after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game five of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

The NBA season is officially over and the new season is about to begin. The Orlando Magic can leave the old behind and think of the possibility of the new.

Kevin Durant completed his masterful performance in the NBA Finals for the Golden State Warriors in a shower of confetti and hugs to go around for everyone — teammates, family, associates, anyone he could get his hands on. One of the best players in the NBA had finally taken home his first championship ring.

The Warriors celebrated on the floor at Oracle Arena and the Cleveland Cavaliers walked off the floor defeated, despite LeBron James‘ herculean triple-double effort.

A season that saw historic offensive production and triple doubles passed out like candy ended that way. The league set history and created an engaging and entertaining season through and through. The end result may have felt inevitable — do not tell the Warriors it was easy — but the journey was a wild ride. Something we may not ever see again in NBA history.

But the NBA season is over. A champion is crowned. The book is closed and a new book is opened.

The NBA Draft next Thursday will mark the first realistic steps toward the 2018 season. A season where everyone is 0-0. That record in itself presents an incredible possibility.

For a team like the Orlando Magic coming off a disappointing 2017 season, the blank slate is almost a relief. The pain and frustration of a 29-win season are behind them. The hope and optimism of that clean ledger are ahead of them.

With 0-0 anything is possible.

No, nobody is expecting the Magic to become a championship team overnight. The Magic do not have the top end talent necessary to win a title at the moment. That is not likely to change through the 2017 NBA Draft or through a trade.

A championship is an unrealistic goal. But certainly, there are other attainable goals for the Magic to achieve in 2018. And 0-0 gives them the chance.

The team is still reeling from a season that had Playoff promise. But the goal to make the Playoffs and end this Playoff drought still remains for the team. It is not likely Orlando is ready to tear the whole thing down and rebuild again. They have some talented young veterans who are still capable of coming together to become a Playoff team.

Or at least that is what the Magic want to believe. It is something they have to believe. Even this modest goal — something coach Frank Vogel has repeated in talking about the upcoming season — is something worth hoping for. The players were certainly quick to say and believe they are not that far off.

That belief seemed like delusion at the end of a 29-win season. Ahead of a full 82-game schedule? That does not sound as crazy.

Of course, the mistake from last season was putting everything into making the Playoffs for one season. The team pushed all its chips in to get to the Playoffs and fell flat on its face. The plan to get to the Playoffs behind a strong defense without a below-average offense failed miserably. Turning this into one of the most disappointing seasons in Magic history.

The Magic know they cannot repeat that and take a one-year-or-bust approach. The Magic have to build for a long-term future as they try to make short-term gains. That was what Rob Hennigan’s rebuild was all about until the final year and a half.

But that does not mean the team should resign itself to tanking or to another year in the Lottery. Or for another long rebuild.

No one seems to have the stomach for that. No one should have the stomach for that — not with the talent on the team and the potential to add talent to the roster.

There should be ambitious plans and expectations for the team. There should be optimism the team will grow internally and the direction the team wants to head will come to fruition in some way. The Magic would not be doing their job if they did not believe these things.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

There will be a lot of work to get there. Orlando will not be able to snap their fingers and make the most of this roster or make the right decisions. The team will have to make shrewd draft picks, explore trades and piece together a roster that fits better than last year.

Their goals are all achievable though.

That is the beauty of a fresh start. That is the magic of each new year. It is the reason we watch sports every year. There is always hope for something better the next year.

The ledger is reset every year to 0-0. And anything can happen.

There are endless possibilities for the season and its results. The team could flounder again, make modest gains or surprise everyone and make the Playoffs. There is so much that can happen.

And it all can happen. The team has to believe it can happen. The fans have to believe it can happen.

The road forward for the Magic is murky. There is a lot of uncertainty.

With a new management team and four draft picks coming, the team will be making some very big decisions to add an influx of talent to the roster. The new management will be evaluating players on the current roster and looking for ways to improve.

The future is unknown.

Next: Orlando Magic should try to acquire second Lottery pick

What we do know, however, is the team gets a fresh start and a new chance to make its own success in 2018. The 2017 season is officially history. The future is a fountain of endless possibility.