Orlando Magic NBA Bubble Stock Report: Who finished strong and who finished flat?

The Orlando Magic held the lead against the Boston Celtics late, but their own mistakes cost them as they failed another playoff test. (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic held the lead against the Boston Celtics late, but their own mistakes cost them as they failed another playoff test. (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic did not accomplish all of their goals inside the bubble. But they had a few promising players and a few disappointments.

The Orlando Magic received some mixed results in the NBA bubble.

The Magic got off to a hot start winning their first two games and then lost the next five. But they bounced back and won the last seeding round game against the New Orleans Pelicans and Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Then they bowed out in five games.

Figuring out what to make of the Magic’s 13 games and nearly two months inside the campus is still something everyone is trying to figure out. What from inside the campus felt real and what did not?

It was hard to draw conclusions or feel what momentum is looking like heading into an offseason of uncertainty. Nobody really even knows when the season will start.

Although the Magic were up-and-down in the win column, a stable for Orlando when the season restarted was Nikola Vucevic.

The eight-year NBA veteran played like an All-Star. Few played better than him in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, Nikola Vucevic averaged 28.0 points per game in the five games versus the Milwaukee Bucks and became the fourth Magic player to score 30-plus points in three games of a playoff series. The 7-footer also drained three-pointers at a 40-percent clip, while taking 8.8 per game against the Bucks.

He averaged 20.4 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game while shooting 40-percent during the seeding round too. Vucevic came ready to play after the season resumed.

Vucevic raised his value and appears as even more of a valuable trading chip if the Magic decide to rebuild this offseason. He is obviously the best player on the team and his stock is up after a strong finish in the bubble.

Another veteran whose stock is up is D.J. Augustin.

The 11-year NBA veteran was at his best in the playoffs and led the Magic with 6.0 assists per game despite coming off the bench in only 25.6 minutes per contest. He also scored 13.2 points per game and shot a blistering 47.1 percent from three in the Magic’s five-game series.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

D.J. Augustin showed up and showed out, proving how valuable he is for the Magic. He is set to become a free agent and made a case for the Magic to bring him back and to net a contract similar to the $7-million per year deal he signed back in 2016, if not more.

While the veterans stepped up, young players also upped their game.

Markelle Fultz battled to regain his starting position after arriving late to the bubble. He was poised in his first playoff series as a starter against the Bucks. He continued his steady regular season play into the postseason and averaged 12.0 points and 5.2 assists per game.

Markelle Fultz upped his regular-season 3-point shooting percentage from 26.7 to 37.5 percent against the Bucks. His stock is definitely trending upward after the bubble and completing his first full NBA season.

Second-year player Gary Clark also impressed in the bubble.

He was called upon to start against the Bucks with the absence of Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon and he shined in the Magic’s lone win against Bucks, scoring 15 points. Gary Clark proved to be a solid rotational player, capable of knocking down threes and an adequate defender.

Clark played well enough in the bubble to earn a roster spot with the Magic or another NBA team next season.

It was not all good in the bubble for the Magic, obviously. The team failed to accomplish its goal of earning the 7-seed and lost again in five games.

Despite a career year offensively for Evan Fournier, his stock is down after a quiet end to the season.

Evan Fournier missed the final three seeding games with an undisclosed illness and was a non-factor in the playoffs against the Bucks. He failed to be that go-to number two scorer that the Magic desperately needed against the Bucks. He only averaged 12.8 points per game, a dip from his regular-season average of 18.5, and made only 35.1-percent of his shots overall.

The next line of players’ stock is down because of injury or illness.

Veteran Michael Carter-Williams had a lot to prove in the bubble. Michael Carter-Williams is set to become a free agent but failed to build off his 2020 season. He missed the final five seeding games and the entire playoffs with a left foot injury. Carter-Williams was hit with the injury bug this season and has to shake off the image of being injury-prone going into free agency.

The hype on Mohamed Bamba was huge going into the bubble after adding 20-plus pounds of muscle and stellar play in a short sample size of minutes in the scrimmage games. But the big man’s overall bubble experience was a dud.

More from Orlando Magic Daily

Bamba could not get on the court because of poor conditioning. He was unable to build up enough to stay on the floor and the Magic decided to send him home before the season concluded.

He went scoreless in the two seeding games he appeared in and left the Bubble before the Playoffs to undergo post-COVID-19 testing. Bamba missed out on the Playoffs for a second straight season.

Fortunately, the Magic cleared him of any long-term impacts from the disease and he can start doing some basketball activity again. But the Magic still believe he will need months for it to fully get through his system.

In a devastating blow, the Magic lost Jonathan Isaac for the remainder of the season and playoffs due to a torn ACL.

After an inspiring return to basketball, Isaac injured his knee in the second seeding game against the Kings. He faces a long rehab and was announced by Magic President Jeff Weltman as being out for the entire 2021 season.

An up-and-coming player, Isaac’s stock is down after the devastating injury. Orlando will have to wait a year for him to return to the court.

Next. Offseason Outlook: Trade season will be open. dark

There is not a lot anyone can do about injuries. But certainly, they held Orlando back in the bubble. And overall they made the feeling coming out of the campus and the end of the season feel overall down.