5 questions for the third quarter of the Orlando Magic’s 2021 season

1 of 6
Steve Clifford, Orlando Magic
The 2021 season has already created a ton of challenge for the Orlando Magic and little room for Steve Clifford to address them. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic are not where they want to be at this point of the season.

They envisioned themselves taking the leap into the upper half of the Eastern Conference. With a strange pandemic season, they believed team continuity would help them shortcut their way to that next step, even with Jonathan Isaac out for the season with a torn ACL.

That has not happened. It has gotten to the point where injuries have gutted the team so much that the team has re-adjusted its goals. Just making the playoffs at this point would be considered a success.

Yes, the mighty (or the mediocre) have fallen.

The Magic have lost more games to injury than any other team in the league by nearly two dozen games. But that does not change the reality.

Orlando entered the midpoint of the season at 13-23, good for 14th in the league. The Magic trail the final play-in spot by 3.5 games. That is tantalizingly close. Close enough not to give up completely on the season.

But Orlando has lost its best opportunity to build wins. By almost any measure, the Magic had one of the easiest first halves of the schedule. By almost any measure, they will have one of the more difficult second halves to their season.

Fans’ eyes have already turned to the draft. The trade deadline looms in a few weeks and that will prove to be a major turning point for the franchise.

The Orlando Magic are sinking down the standings and their goals will certainly begin to shift as they play out the third quarter of the season.

Everyone seems to expect the Magic to hit the reset button to some degree. How much they try to reset with the promise of a high draft pick in their back pocket is the question. It does not seem like it is in this front office’s vocabulary to hurt the team too much. They likely view this season as something of an injury aberration.

Whether it is or not could be one of the bigger bets.

The Magic still have time to make some decisions. While they are not likely going to do anything to “save” this season and make sure the team sneaks into that play-in tournament, even if they play well to start the second half, it could well push the team in one direction or another.

One thing is for sure, what the Magic do in the next 18 games will have a major impact on the team’s future far beyond this season.

Here are our questions the Magic have to answer in the third quarter of this season.