Orlando Magic Trade Value Column 2020

Evan Fournier could not get the Orlando Magic offense moving in a loss to the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Evan Fournier could not get the Orlando Magic offense moving in a loss to the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Orlando Magic, Jonathan Isaac, Philadelphia 76ers
The Orlando Magic are still working to make the most of Jonathan Isaac and their offense. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

1. Jonathan Isaac (2 years, $13.2 million, RFA in 2021)

There has not been a wing player to lead the league in blocks since 2004. That was Andrei Kirilenko, a lanky dynamic and versatile forward who flew to the rim to block shots and used his length to deflect passes and create steals.

The league has not really had anyone play like that at a high level in a long time from that position.

In stepped Jonathan Isaac.

Nobody knew where Isaac’s game would grow. He was a solid defender, but not a defensive playmaker last year as he made it through his first full season in the league. The hope was he would expand offensively. And he has, but that is still a work in progress.

What changed this year is that Isaac became a much more dynamic defensive presence. He locked down his individual matchup consistently, especially that game against the Dallas Mavericks when he was credited with hold Kristaps Porzingis to 2-for-9 shooting.

That was also the game that showed what Isaac could do. He came one steal shy of the vaunted 5×5 club. He was leading the league in “stocks” — steals and blocks combined — and was just a dominant presence defensively.

Orlando had a defensive backstop at last. And Isaac cleaned up a lot of mistakes and showed plenty of growth.

His injury on Jan. 1 was fortunately not as bad as it could have been. But it derailed one of the best seasons going around the league — a potential Most Improved Player and Defensive Player of the Year season. He was certainly on track to make an All-Defensive Team.

Isaac seems to be recovering well. He likely will not play the rest of the season (he is due to be evaluated again at the end of the month and reportedly will be off crutches soon).

But the Magic discovered a keeper in Isaac. They found someone they feel comfortable they can build their defense around. Someone they believe can continue to grow.

What will he grow into, however? That is the part nobody really knows yet. And when he is healthy and able to hit the court again, the Magic certainly want to see him expand his offensive game.

Next. Orlando Magic's future is catching up to them. dark

Either way, Isaac is the most important player on the Magic. He is the one opposing teams would want most from the Magic and the one the Magic will be most sure not to give up.