5 Orlando Magic lineups that are struggling and how to save them

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Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic
Evan Fournier faces a big decision this offseason with his player option and free agency. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Cole Anthony-Dwayne Bacon-James Ennis-Khem Birch-Nikola Vucevic

15 minutes, 91.2 Off. Rtg., 141.2 Def. Rtg., -50.0 Net Rtg.

The one thing everyone knows about this Orlando Magic team is that it needs more shooting. It needs more guys that defenses are going to respect and create some gravity. That does not necessarily mean a stronger 3-point field goal percentage, although that is how you build a reputation.

With so few shooters, it feels necessary for the Magic to have at least one of them on the floor. And by shooters, in this case, I mean Evan Fournier or Terrence Ross.

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  • That has obviously become more difficult with Fournier in and out of the lineup with back spasms. And it has been made more difficult by Ross’ continued shooting struggles. Still, defenses put a lot of attention on him and his 3-point shot.

    This post has already gone deep into the issues that the Khem Birch-Nikola Vucevic pairing has had. The fact the Magic cannot seem to match backcourts with strong enough shooting with a front court that can defend well enough is one of the bigger issues facing the team. There are precious few options.

    The Magic should expect stronger defense from this group with Birch and Vucevic on the floor. And they just do not get it.

    But that should also be on the Magic’s guards.

    Dwayne Bacon has not been a particularly strong defender this year — his -1.5 defensive box plus-minus is better than only two other rotation players although his 0.4 defensive win shares place him in the middle of the pack.

    The Magic have had to use Bacon way too much and he has given them some good offensive punch at times, but he may turn out to be a good stats/bad team player. His numbers are built from necessity rather than from contributing to a winning team.

    But again, Orlando has very few options to replace him until Fournier is back. Michael Carter-Williams’ return would certainly help the team’s defense, but he will not add much offensively.

    The Magic though are trying to get their defense back under control. And finding good defenders who can contribute some shooting or offense would be a big boost.

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    This kind of a lineup, unfortunately, is one that a team that has no other options has to trot out. Orlando has been doing that a lot this season.