Orlando Magic’s depth chart can help team map out future

The Orlando Magic value versatility and length and that can be seen on their depth chart. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic value versatility and length and that can be seen on their depth chart. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /
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Orlando Magic, Jonathan Isaac, Dallas Mavericks
Jonathan Isaac’s emergence as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate has boosted the Orlando magic early this season. (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Small Forward

Jonathan Isaac – Chuma Okeke – James Ennis

The Orlando Magic value versatility at the forward positions. They have looked to the landscape of the NBA and have targeted players who can play both forward positions and really used them interchangeably. The nomenclature is pretty moot at this point especially with the player they have.

Orlando believes they have three players capable of playing either forward position at a starter-caliber level in Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu. Next year, they will add in rookie Chuma Okeke to the fold too. If he is as good as the Magic seem to believe, they have four rotation-caliber forwards who can switch seamlessly.

That is, of course, not something they can always bank on.

Chuma Okeke is coming off a torn ACL and has been out the entire year. He may not get a Summer League to get acclimated to playing again before training camp. Jonathan Isaac is coming off a severe knee sprain that kept him out for more than half the season.

General manager John Hammond has taken to saying the Magic have played most of this season without a position available to them because of all the injuries. They have been able to platoon at small forward with Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross able to play together — along with Wesley Iwundu able to play the spot depending on the matchup. But they still needed depth.

Acquiring James Ennis was a big boost to the team. James Ennis had the size to defend opposing 3s and space the floor for the team. He was a great mid-season acquisition, even if his numbers were a bit pedestrian. That was never his role.

As currently constructed, Isaac is at least nominally the small forward. His season this year was truly exciting as he stepped up and became a potential all-defensive team player. Teammates marveled at what he could do defensively. He led the league in “stocks” with 4.0 per game before his injury, showing skill both blocking shots and getting in for steals.

The Magic are very much relying on Isaac to develop into a future star player for the team. He is at the center of a lot of this team’s potential.

Okeke will certainly play a role too. And it almost feels certain the Magic will expect him to play a major role next season and fill in a spot in the rotation. What they do in the offseason to fill their wing need might be a signal of where they think Okeke is.

So too might be what they decide to do with Ennis. Ennis has a player option this offseason and is expected to opt out since the Magic do not seem to have much readily available playing time for him. One reason he waived his no-trade clause with the Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline was so he could go somewhere he could play.