What comes next for the Orlando Magic? Key dates and facts to know

NBA teams will have five extra months to prepare for the NBA Draft this time around. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
NBA teams will have five extra months to prepare for the NBA Draft this time around. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The season is over.

The Orlando Magic convened at the Amway Center to hang out, clean out their lockers (maybe not completely) and meet with the team’s front office for exit interviews as they set their offseason training plans and expectations heading to next season.

Coach Steve Clifford said he and his staff would likely take a few weeks away to decompress before they get to their offseason study. Everyone needs a break after a long and arduous season.

This year was challenging not just for the 21-51 record that left the team at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. It was challenging because of the emotional toll of all the injuries the team faced, followed by the trades that gutted the roster and the challenge of trying to make the most of those final games in the season.

On top of that, it was grueling because of the rushed nature of the season. Every team in the league essentially played a game every other day with testing protocols disrupting everyone’s sleep patterns. It was a rough season.

The Orlando Magic are breaking for the season and looking ahead to the Draft. Here are the dates and facts to know as the offseason begins.

If there is a relief to the season ending early, it is that everyone gets to go on break sooner. Please do not criticize players for taking a little vacation time and away from the court, they really do deserve it.

Eventually, everyone will get back to work. And there is clearly a desire for a lot of players to get better and build off their first experiences in the NBA.

Orlando has undoubtedly turned toward its future. The biggest date on the calendar this offseason is the draft.

President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman told Bally Sports Florida that draft preparations are already well underway. The team may not have been able to fly out to scout players until the NCAA Tournament this year — Weltman said earlier he and his staff were at the tournament in addition to games in the G-League bubble — but they are already deep into this class.

The Magic made it clear their plans for the future of this team rest a lot on this draft class and the picks the team is about to make.

But all the team can do now is wait. So what comes next for the Magic? Glad you asked.

When is the NBA Draft Lottery?

The biggest date on the Orlando Magic’s calendar right now is June 22. So let me repeat that in one line and bold:

June 22 is the NBA Draft Lottery.

That will air at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. So mark it down on your calendars. And then expect the final pick to be revealed closer to 9 p.m. — they have to stretch that out to fill a half-hour block.

This will also be a critical time because the Lottery occurs at the beginning of the NBA Draft Combine. The event in Chicago from June 21-27 and will be one of the few times scouts and front office personnel will get to interact with the players themselves and watch them play. The NBA is still limiting some interaction and so this whole week will matter.

The NBA Draft proper will take place July 29 at 8 p.m. and will air on both ESPN and ABC.

What are the Magic odds at winning the Lottery?

After Orlando Magic fans complained about the final day of the 2018 season for three years now, the Magic received a benefit (probably) from the last day of the season.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic’s 128-117 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on the final night of the season assured the team the third-worst odds to win the NBA Draft Lottery.

Then a minor miracle happened. The LA Clippers, trying to tank their way into the 4/5 matchup to avoid a potential matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers or Phoenix Suns in the second round, lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

That left the Magic at 21-51 and the Thunder at 22-50. Orlando finished alone in third in the lottery standings, assuring them the top odds to win the NBA Draft Lottery.

As part of the NBA’s efforts to flatten out the Lottery odds and discourage tanking, they set the odds so that each of the bottom three teams would have the same odds. So Orlando indeed has the top odds to win the Lottery.

So Orlando will have a 14.0-percent chance to win the Lottery and more importantly a 52.1-percent chance to land in the top four. Remember, the top four picks are determined by Lottery.

I will do a post explaining the Lottery process in more detail when we get closer to the Lottery. But the Magic will have 140 combinations to win the Lottery.

They are essentially a coin flip away from landing a top-four pick in this loaded draft class.

What’s the deal with the Bulls’ pick?

The Orlando Magic do not have only their own pick to worry about, they also could receive the Chicago Bulls’ pick as part of the Nikola Vucevic trade. The Bulls missing the play-in tournament was one of the bigger victories the Magic have gotten.

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The Chicago Bulls are in a tie with the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings for the eighth pick. All three teams have a 20.3-percent chance of landing in the top-4 and a 4.5-percent chance (45 number combinations) to land the number one pick.

The 20.3-percent chance is the number that matters to the Magic. Orlando will receive Chicago’s pick if it lands outside the top-four. If the Bulls lose the Lottery, the Magic get the pick. It is that simple.

So the team has a 79.7-percent chance of getting that pick. Those odds feel pretty good.

One date to keep an eye on though.

You might notice that there are three teams tied for eighth. While all three teams will get the same odds and number of combinations to win the Lottery, they still need to figure out which order they fall in should they fall out of the Lottery.

Tankathon sorts teams with their losing streak as a tiebreaker (the longer the losing streak, the higher they finish). But season series or anything in the regular season has no bearing in breaking Lottery or draft ties.

Reportedly, the tiebreaker procedure will take place on May 25 in the afternoon.

This is a Lottery on top of a Lottery. To break every tie, the league puts each team’s logo on a ping pong ball and puts them in a drum and draws them. The first team drawn gets the advantage should they fall outside the Lottery, etc.

So whether the Magic get the eighth pick or the 10th pick if the Bulls do not win the Lottery could well be determined on this day. So one more Lottery.

What other dates should we look forward to?

We went over when the NBA Draft Combine (June 21-27) and NBA Draft are (July 29). But the league will hit overdrive for its offseason shortly after that as they try to get back to a normal schedule.

Free agency will begin August 2 and players can beginning signing contracts on August 6.

The Magic are not going to have a lot of money to spend this offseason. We will review the team’s cap situation very soon as we assess what the Magic will do. But it looks like the team will have only the MLE available to spend this offseason.

It is not going to be a summer of extreme change for the team. They will likely stick with a lot of these young players, adding their draft picks and maybe one more veteran for good measure.

The biggest newcomers to the team will likely be Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac. Which is big, but not exactly super exciting.

Next. Orlando Magic hope happier days are ahead. dark

The Magic have their eyes right now on the NBA Draft Lottery in about a month. The team’s future comes into sharp focus at that point.