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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Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks
MILWAUKEE, WI – FEBRUARY 9: Jonathan Isaac #1 of the Orlando Magic dunks the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks on February 9, 2019 at the Fiserv Forum Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images). /

The Stretches

A-. . Orlando Magic. . THE STRETCHES

Among the position groups, these players are the hardest to categorize and probably the most important for the team. Mostly because Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac can do so much and they are two of the most important players on the team.

It is hard to pin down what kind of player they are.

There are still a lot of people who want to say Gordon is a 4 and cannot possibly play the 3. They are perhaps still haunted by the poor experiment in 2017 where Aaron Gordon played the 3 with Serge Ibaka next to him. But that was a reason why Gordon and Isaac could not play together.

The reality is Gordon masterfully flipped between the interior and perimeter all year. He worked the mid-post effectively and was a good slasher while also showing a more consistent outside stroke.

Gordon expanded his game in so many ways that made an experiment on the perimeter much more possible. Pairing him with another versatile big like Isaac forced defenses to decide how to defend Gordon and give at least one a supposed matchup advantage.

Gordon is also much better than everyone gives him credit for. He turned in a fantastic season even if his scoring dropped because he added so much to his game.

He was the team’s best defender and the player that coach Steve Clifford probably trusted most. That was the kind of growth and leadership the Magic wanted to see from Gordon. Other parts of his game will follow.

Related Story. Magic get down to details for NBA Draft. light

Isaac too showed some incredible growth. For what was essentially his rookie year, Isaac looked mature and composed. Once he got confident with his body and his health, he started to tear the league up.

Evan Fournier rightly called Jonathan Isaac the team’s X-factor. When he turned the corner the team turned the corner — one of the many dominos that fell to get the Magic into the playoffs.

Isaac needed some time to get confidence in his body and his role and then started filling that role masterfully. He averaged 11.8 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor and 35.9 percent from beyond the arc in the final 31 games (missing only one contest with a concussion).

Isaac again provided strong defense, especially for a player as young as he is.

The Magic saw in their two most unique and important players promise of their ability to work together and their continuing offensive growth. They were not the team’s primary offensive options, but they were both promising in their own way.

Orlando wanted to draft and add versatile players who could switch and defend multiple positions. They found that in both Gordon and Isaac as they delivered throughout the year.

The team had to be happy with their progress and how they helped build the foundation for this team this year and beyond.