Whether it be playoff debuts or the ability to grow into bigger roles, there is still a lot for the Orlando Magic to look forward to.
With the Orlando Magic dealing with so many injures, people are ready to give up on the season and start looking into the next year. While many people think it may be time for Orlando to mail it in, this Magic team is too talented to tank.
There is still a lot to play for.
Before the season began, it was well known we would not see the best version of the Orlando Magic with Jonathan Isaac out for the year. With Markelle Fultz out for the year, this feeling of uncertainty and the idea of just tanking the rest of the year grew. But there are still players on this team that could gain from this unfortunate circumstance.
Overall as a team, if the Magic end up making the playoffs, this would be the playoff debut for Anthony, Okeke, and Bamba, who are three pieces of the Magic’s young core. There are still individual gains for these players for this season.
Cole Anthony & Chuma Okeke
For Cole Anthony, he is getting thrown into the fire and has to learn how to start at the point guard spot a lot earlier than everyone expected. While it is tough to watch Fultz go down for the rest of the season, Anthony is getting his reps as a starter now and will make next season when Fultz comes back a lot easier.
The idea is to eventually to have Fultz and Anthony to start in the backcourt. Now Anthony has to chance to make his mistakes. Then, he will have a stronger start next season when he is next to Fultz.
Okeke is also going to have a chance in more minutes once he returns from his bone bruise. He will have the chance to play major minutes in important games.
It was clear the game was moving fast when Okeke was healthy, so he could use games for the game to slow down a bit before going into the next season.
He has already shown great defensive potential, as he seemed to always be in the right spots defensively and could use high staked games to become more comfortable with his offense. He has also shown he is going to have a nice shooting touch.
Aaron Gordon out of position
Gordon is also going to be able to get a lot from this season. He is forced to play point guard at times to start this year with so many injures.
In his game against the Dallas Mavericks, Gordon put up 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds. He shot three for four from three.
Aaron Gordon also played great defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo in Monday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks and played great defense on Luka Doncic in the previous game. Gordon is doing a good job of getting the Magic into their offense, especially considering he is getting thrown into the fire out of position. He struggled in Friday’s loss to the Boston Celtics, but it will be a continuing process.
Once this team is whole next year, Gordon is going to have a bigger skillset. It is going to make this team even better once they are at full strength.
Then finally, Mohamed Bamba will have the opportunity to show he can play consistently at a good level this season.
Bamba looks a lot more comfortable playing and is getting to the right spots. He is showing the ability to block shots, finish around the basket and the ability to shoot from beyond the arc.
Mohamed Bamba can use this season to prove he can beat out Khem Birch for the backup center spot and eventually be more for this team in the future.
More than that, Bamba has to get consistent minutes on the floor and overcome the lingering effects of COVID-19. That has held him back the most this season and kept him from hitting the floor.
Bamba did not travel with the team on its current road trip after going into the league’s health and safety protocols. The team is not sure if he will be able to join the team before they return home.
Overall this season, the Magic are dealing with injures, but there are still opportunities for these players to grow and answer questions this season that could help the Magic in the long run.
Whether it be playoff debuts or the ability to grow into bigger roles in both the short term and the long term, there is still a lot to look forward to this season. The Magic can compete this season, and it will help multiple young players grow and make the future even brighter when it arrives.