Orlando Magic Daily Roundtable: The preseason matters, except when it doesn’t

Jonathan Isaac has built confidence as a strong defender. Now confidence has to come from his newfound strength and on offense. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jonathan Isaac has built confidence as a strong defender. Now confidence has to come from his newfound strength and on offense. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs
ORLANDO, FL – OCTOBER 12: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic attempts a shot during a pre-season game against the San Antonio Spurs at Amway Center on October 12, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. 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 Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

What will the Orlando Magic’s record be? Where will they finish in the Eastern Conference?

Racine: Wishful thinking, the Orlando Magic’s record will be 40-42. They will sneak into the playoffs with the seventh seed. Aaron Gordon will be an All-Star and Jerian Grant will win most improved player of the year. Seriously, Gordon does have a great shot at making the All-Star team and leading the Magic into the playoffs. But it is going to take a team effort. We saw the Indiana Pacers make the jump with Victor Oladipo last season. Why not the Magic?

Burnley: This is a historically weak Eastern Conference. It is entirely possible for the Orlando Magic to make it into the playoffs with a win count in the mid-30s. Unfortunately, I can just as easily see the Magic ending with 20 something wins and spending another year in the lottery.

Rossman-Reich: This is still a flawed team. There is no getting around that. It is virtually the same roster as last year that won just 25 games — and had the statistical profile of a 28-win team. Young players will surely get better. Steve Clifford seems to have the team moving on a different track. So all that seems to point in a better direction for the Orlando Magic. But I think taking that giant step forward is going to be tough. I have the Magic finishing at 32-50 — a solid, but not a dramatic improvement over last season. And that puts them at 11th in the East for me. The goal here is to play some meaningful games in the 2019 calendar year and hang around longer than everyone expects.

Henderson: If the Orlando Magic do not make any changes and has this same roster at the end of the season, they will not make the Playoffs. I think it is very premature to think that a team without one All-Star can make the Playoffs. I also believe it is premature to think this team can make the Playoffs without a point guard. But if the Magic can pull off a trade of Nikola Vucevic for some sort of defensive-style, playmaking point guard I can see them winning at least 40 games. The truth is the Magic do not have a point guard who can truly match up with the majority of the elite Eastern Conference point guards. The Magic may have one of the worst starting point guards in the NBA.

Palmer: We have seen similar versions of this exact team repeatedly end up with 20-win seasons so that probably seems about right doesn’t it? Well, I will argue this team is actually pretty different. Elfrid Payton, the team’s most devastatingly poor defender, is gone and, in his place, you have Jerian Grant. Steve Clifford has raved about Jerian Grant’s defense and it would not shock me if he stole crunch time minutes from DJ Augustin. As mentioned previously, Steve Clifford has seemingly brought something the last three Magic head coaches have not, and that is accountability and identifiable roles. Those two things should result in positive outcomes in the win column. I would mark the Magic down for roughly 35 wins this season.

Next. Steve Clifford brings something different to the Magic. dark

What do you think? Share your answers to our roundtable questions in the comments below and join the conversation o Twitter @omagicdaily.