The Orlando Magic had a lot of questions to answer coming out of the first quarter of the season. Their year turned for the worse the last 20 games.
The Orlando Magic ended the first quarter of the season licking their wounds. A nine-game losing streak put them at 8-13 and buried the fast start that had everyone hopeful for the first dozen games of the season. Everyone was searching for that team to re-emerge.
If they held their breath back at the end of November, they are probably gasping for air now. The second quarter of the season saw the Magic descend into the depths of the standings. They settled in at the bottom. The season, for all intents and purposes, is over. Everyone has their focus turned toward the NBA Draft and the trade deadline.
That is a frustrating place to be once again. And so the attention turns to the future.
The second half of the season will be all about the future. Not the present. Not the playoffs. And not the veterans. It will be about the players who will form Jeff Weltman’s plan. Those are the questions that will be left before the team in the next 20-plus games. All leading to the trade deadline in early February.
But what about those questions we had for the team entering the second quarter of the season? How did the Magic answer those?
Obviously, the answer is not well.
When I listed out five questions for the Magic to answer with the second quarter of the season, many of them had an eye at being competitive. The Playoffs were still in reach — Orlando trailed the final spot in the Playoffs by three games. The descent had already begun. No one knew where the bottom was. There was still hope to recover.
A win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first game of the season’s second quarter provided a measure of hope. That got quickly snuffed.
I wrote at the time that the second 20 games of the season would likely determine which direction the Magic would head. that turned out to be true. And in a way no one thought possible.