The Orlando Magic are trying to make the playoffs for a third year but their future is coming into focus. And those questions dominate their 2021 season.
The Orlando Magic are gathering in the Amway Center this week for their final preparations for the 2021 season. Players continue individual workouts inside the Amway Center. Beginning Tuesday, provided everyone involved turned back three negative PCR tests, players can begin workouts in groups of four players.
Full-team training camp is set to begin Friday or Saturday (most likely Saturday). And from there, the sprint to the season will begin.
The first preseason game is just one week from Friday when the team visits the Atlanta Hawks. There is a lot of work to get to before then. And not a lot of time to do it.
The Magic’s decision to bring back most of the same roster creates the same expectations — making the playoffs — but also raises the stakes for the season. The Magic are still looking for a way to push forward. And with the team punting on the offseason to begin forming their future, the Magic have to see that play out during the course of this 72-game season.
Every goal from the summer still needs to be accomplished. And this season will prove a critical transition to the team’s future, one way or another.
There is a lot to do in the next few months. It will not be just about transactions that shape this team — although those are surely coming — it will be about how the team develops and grows. The Magic are trying to compete for a playoff spot all the while developing their future and growing beyond what they are.
Entering the 2020 season, the Magic felt like they had every opportunity to grow and advance themselves. It felt like they were at the beginning stages.
But nobody ended up satisfied with the 2020 season. It left an awful taste in everyone’s mouth — from the massive amounts of injuries, including the devastating one to Jonathan Isaac, to the way the team flamed out in the postseason. The team did not accomplish its goals.
Now they enter the 2021 season feeling in transition. That bright future got snuffed out fairly quickly, in favor of a team still capable of winning and making the playoffs but clearly lacking.
Success or failure this season will undoubtedly remain tied to the team’s playoff outcome. The expectation for the team remains to make the playoff — not the play-in tournament, but the playoffs themselves. Anything less should be considered failure.
But a secondary goal is certainly to see the team begin to transition toward its future with young players stepping into the roles.
While the Magic appear to be the same team as last year, there is still a lot to accomplish and a lot to do in this shortened season.
And for the Magic, there are plenty of immediate questions to answer this season to begin preparing for what the team hopes to be a brighter future.