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

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Mohamed Bamba, Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks
Mohamed Bamba has made an impact every time he has stepped on the floor for the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

Will Mohamed Bamba get consistent minutes?

Both Chuma Okeke and Cole Anthony have had some very bright moments this year and have places firmly ensconced in the rotation. No one would debate that they should be playing or that they have earned their place in the rotation.

Even if Magic fans are in “tank mode” and want the team to focus on young players, those two young players are playing. And they will benefit from being placed in situations where their play impacts winning.

Okeke’s three-point barrage to help the Orlando Magic defeat the Golden State Warriors was a huge step for the young player and a huge confidence-builder. Orlando wants to put him in those situations.

With Markelle Fultz out, Cole Anthony will get plenty of opportunities to play and likely will regain his starting spot when he returns.

The bigger question then is how do the Magic get Mohamed Bamba more integrated into the rotation. This might be the one area where the Magic have to manipulate their rotation a bit and make sure their young player is getting some experience.

The Magic have not been clear on Mohamed Bamba’s status or why he is or is not playing on a given day.

Bamba obviously had issues that were beyond his control — his recovery from COVID-19 has been slow and frustrating, but the team is right to be careful. He started from behind on a season that gave young players especially little chance to catch up.

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  • Khem Birch played really well and earned a spot in the rotation. Bamba was just kind of lost.

    But as the team has slipped down the standings, it has become clearer the team needs something else. Birch’s hot start has slowed down. And Bamba should at least get the opportunity. When he has played he has made a clear impact — 18.1 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per 36 minutes in his limited minutes.

    If there is something the Magic should make sure they do in the next 18 games, it is to let Bamba play and see what he can give you.

    Even when Steve Clifford has said he was going to give Mohamed Bamba consistent minutes, he pulled back from that promise very quickly. This needs to stop. It is not helping anyone for Bamba to have inconsistent minutes or to play without some set plan to get him minutes.

    At this point, Bamba has to play. The Magic have very little to lose. But the biggest thing they could lose is giving up on Bamba before they really know what he has. And so this stretch of games, while the Magic are still trying to win and stay afloat in the playoff race, is a good chance to get him this valuable playing time so that he can make the most of the rest of his season.