2018-19 Orlando Magic Player Evaluations: Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic are eager to get things going in the 2020 season. (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic are eager to get things going in the 2020 season. (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
ORLANDO, FL – NOVEMBER 9: Aaron Gordon #00 of the Orlando Magic dunks the ball against the Washington Wizards on November 9, 2018 at Amway Center 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic exceeded all expectations and gave fans a wonderful ride to the playoffs. But questions still remain to build for the future.

When the Orlando Magic’s season began, it was hard to pinpoint what expectations everyone should have for the team.

The Magic had little roster turnover, relying on the same crew that won 25 games last year. Better health certainly would increase that total, but Orlando’s future prospects did not look overly optimistic. The team seemed ripe for change.

And yet they sat tight. They changed their coach — in a move that many felt was a lateral move from Frank Vogel — and the season seemed to be another transition year until the team got some salary relief and could turn the roster over.

At least before the season, the Magic probably had one main goal for the season. It was not to make the playoffs or anything even tangible. The goal was to restore legitimacy and the franchise and carve a future in the team’s young players.

They needed to see Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac take a step forward and for Mohamed Bamba to prove he could hold his own on the NBA stage at this early part of his development.

To varying degrees, the Magic accomplished all those goals. But it was not exactly how everyone imagined.

But no one should be complaining about the ultimate success the team had in the 2019 season.

Orlando made the playoffs. That was beyond everyone’s wildest dreams when the season began. The team was not expected to do much of anything. Instead, they turned in an incredible 22-9 run to end the season and play their way into the postseason.

If Orlando’s primary goal was to regain legitimacy as a winning organization, a playoff berth does that. If the secondary goal was to forge a future with a new core, the team is on track to do that with Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Mohamed Bamba and Markelle Fultz all developing in their program. And if the tertiary goal was to reignite fan interest, the team has done that.

The team even publicly taking offense to the national media ignoring their season and failing to recognize them for any awards is a welcome sign. The team has an edge about it now. The Magic are not simply here to show up for 82 games anymore.

There are obviously still big moves for the team to make to get where it wants to go. The team is far from a finished product. And the big detraction of the season was that there seems to be a future but it is not clear what that future looks like quite yet.

In that way, it was a bit imperfect. The Magic have a tough road ahead to keep up this momentum.

But no one will complain about the immediate results. The playoffs were special, even if they were quick. The playoff run was special. And it will help the young players grow and develop.

It is hard to call the season anything but a success.