The NBA’s resumption of the season will give plenty of Orlando Magic players a chance to prove themselves once again and set up the team’s future.
The NBA’s experiment to resume its season at Disney is almost a month away. And the excitement is brewing.
For Orlando Magic players this means a month away from potentially landing a playoff spot and competing in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
“I’m excited,” Michael Carter-Williams said in an interview with ESPN 580 Orlando’s Scott Anez. “I can’t wait to get back on the court. I know the rest of the guys feel the same way. We’ve been working in the gym ever since it’s been open. Guys have been really committed. So, we’re excited.”
The season has gone as planned record-wise for the Magic, but there is still a lot of basketball left to be played and a lot to prove for some players. And an uncertain future ahead.
The team might be where a lot of people expected, but that has not lessened the disappointment in the season. The Magic have not progressed and there have been a fair amount of disappointments. Injuries have thrown the team off plenty too.
Nobody wants to be stuck at the end of the playoffs. But for now, the team has to make the most of what is left of the season. That involves making the Playoffs, trying to get to the seventh in the East and trying to win a game to make their second Playoffs series more competitive.
The rest of this season is their last chance to prove these points and to set themselves up for the future. The Magic are surely looking for a way to improve the team.
Rising star Aaron Gordon is in the second year of a four-year, $80-million contract and he is putting up his lowest numbers across the board since 2017.
Aaron Gordon is averaging 14.4 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game and shooting 30.1-percent from 3-point range. It was not the star turn season everyone expected from him.
After a slow start to the season, Gordon has struggled to get his groove going offensively.
Although Gordon had a stellar February scoring 18.6 points per game before the suspension came to a halt in March, he still needs a strong finish to the season to solidify his role with the team going forward.
There are players still trying to make their mark in the league too. And a trip to the Playoffs is a chance for young players to grow and experience basketball at its highest level.
At the end of the day, that is what the Magic were hoping to get from this season if they could not advance further. And for some of their players simply making the Playoffs is enough.
Mohamed Bamba is also another young player with a lot to prove.
The second-year big man has struggled to improve from his rookie season. He has even digressed scoring-wise, his average dropping from 6.2 to 5.5 points per game.
But some signs point to Mohamed Bamba finishing strong.
He has reportedly added 28 pounds to his frame during his time away from team facilities and claims most of it is muscle. Last season, Bamba was in a walking boot during the final stretch of the season and missed out on the playoffs.
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This year, Bamba will be a key part of the team. Even if his minutes are limited. With the team having so long off, the Magic will be relying on their depth to get through the rest of the season. Bamba will play a big role for the rest of the season.
There is still a lot to gain even beyond that.
D.J. Augustin lost his starting role to Markelle Fultz and his production has not dropped coming off the bench. Augustin is in a contract year and he has a lot to prove either to stay He will become a free agent this summer and could use the Playoffs to set up the next few years of his career.
Carter-Williams is in a similar situation. After a gritty year last season, Carter-Williams re-signed with the Magic and has played more off the ball with good numbers offensively, averaging 7.2 points per game in 18.4 minutes per game.
He was on a tear before the season came to a stop, he was coming off a 20-point game against the Memphis Grizzlies and averaging 13.6 points per game in March.
The rest of the NBA’s season will mostly be about the superstars and marquee teams’ quest for a championship. But the Magic still have a lot to prove.
Players are playing for contracts, market value and pride. These final games are essential for the Magic to prepare for the off-season and future going forward.