5 reasons the Orlando Magic will surprise in 2019

(Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns, Mohamed Bamba, Orlando Magic
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 09: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns is guarded by Jonathan Isaac #1 of the Orlando Magic during the 2018 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Suns defeated the Magic 71-53. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Defensive potential

As Jeff Weltman and John Hammond have started to mold Orlando’s roster, a few things have become clear. The front office loves players who bring it on the defensive end. Their past two lottery selections are extended, athletic players who project to be stoppers.

Although Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba are very young, they will have prominent roles this season. With meaningful minutes both can help solidify the Magic on the defensive side of the floor.

Last season, the Magic finished 20th in the league in the defensive rating. Their poor performance on that end has been a trend for the previous few years.

Orlando may have found an anchor for their defense in Bamba. His 7-foot-10 wingspan and 3.7 blocks per game in college suggest he will make an impact defensively and in the paint.

The biggest knock on Nikola Vucevic’s game is the inability to protect the rim. Having a presence in the paint to swat away attempts at the rim would be massive.

Isaac’s defensive ability is intriguing to watch grow. He was still clearly young and making mistakes, but he recovered so well and had great natural instincts. His impact was also evident. The Magic were six points per 100 possessions better defensively with Isaac on the floor.

Both Isaac and Gordon are solid perimeter defenders. Guards Jonathon Simmons, Evan Fournier and D.J. Augustin certainly give max effort on that side of the ball.

Plus, with Clifford stressing intensity on the defense, the Magic should give up a lot less point next season.